Black Lives Matter Global Network Foundation Announces Leadership Transition

Names Two Interim Senior Executives to Support Organization

Black Lives Matter Global Network Foundation (BLMGNF) today announced that BLM Co-Founder and current Executive Director, Patrisse Cullors, would be transitioning from her role, and named two Senior Executives to support the organization.

The Senior Executives are Makani Themba, Chief Strategist at Higher Ground Change Strategies, and former executive director of The Praxis Project; and Monifa Bandele, Chief Operating Officer at Time’s Up Foundation. Both women have been supporters and advisors of Black Lives Matter since its inception.

“As a strong advocate for the transformation of Black lives and the end of white supremacy, I’m eager to continue the foundation’s great work over the coming months,” said Bandele. “I’m fortunate to follow the creative and successful leadership of so many across the country, who have set a bold path for the foundation.”

BLMGNF’s leadership model is based on Ella Baker’s philosophy that decision making is more group-centered and inclusive when involving multiple people, and it follows the origins of BLM and its founding in 2013 by three Black women.

“BLM was and continues to be an organization that is centered on our love for Black people,” said Themba. “I am looking forward to working alongside the powerful team at BLMGNF and BLM Grassroots to continue to work towards Black liberation.”

Cullors leaves BLMGNF in a strong position to support grassroots, art/culture work and policy work that invests in the future of Black lives. During her tenure, Cullors helped the organization reach several milestones, including:

  • Positioned BLMGNF to advocate for a future that is divested from police, prisons, and all punishment paradigms and replaces it with greater investment in justice and culture programs;
  • Emphasized the creativity and joy in Black communities by supporting and showcasing Black artists and cultural influencers;
  • Launched BLM Grassroots, the sister organization to BLMGNF, to continue and grow the movement’s power built over the years in the streets, and remain true to its founding principles;
  • Formed the BLM Political Action Committee to increase voter participation and turnout, and to endorse candidates who move us toward Black liberation. It spent $746,000 since launching to elect Black liberation candidates;
  • Championed the BREATHE Act, federal legislation that would divest taxpayer dollars from brutal and discriminatory policing and invest in a new vision of public safety;
  • Donated almost $25 million to Black-led organizations and Black families around the country, including nearly $3 million to support Black people struggling during the pandemic, especially organizers, those affected by police violence or who are LGBTQIA;
  • Supported families affected by police violence through a multi-million grant to Love Not Blood and its campaign to help families heal, organize, demand justice and work to stop the police killing of Black people in communities throughout the United States; and
  • Committed 23 percent of its assets last year to non-profit organizations, compared to the average foundation in the U.S. which donates just 5 percent to 8 percent.

“With smart, experienced and committed people supporting the organization during this transition, I know that BLMGNF is in good hands,” said Cullors. “The foundation’s agenda remains the same — eradicate white supremacy and build life-affirming institutions. Between the two Senior Executives and BLM Grassroots Co-Director Melina Abdullah, who is an original member of BLM and co-founder of its first chapter in Los Angeles, their immense talent will build a future where Black lives do more than matter — they will truly thrive.”

The two Senior Executives will lead BLMGNF until the organization finds a new permanent team. In the interim, BLMGNF remains committed to combating and countering acts of violence, creating space for Black imagination and innovation, and centering Black joy through arts and culture.

About BLM Global Network Foundation

#BlacklivesMatter was founded in 2013 in response to the acquittal of Trayvon Martin’s murder. Black Lives Matter Global Network Foundation is a global foundation supporting Black led movements in the U.S., UK and Canada, whose mission is to eradicate white supremacy and build local power to intervene in violence inflicted on Black communities by the state and vigilantes. By combating and countering acts of violence, creating space for Black imagination and innovation, and centering Black joy, we are winning immediate improvements in our lives.