Giving Compass’ Take:
• Jackie Kucinich and Emily Shugerman unpack the Women’s March’s recently-released financial records, which reveal the origin and uses of donations.
• As a funder, do these records inspire confidence or concern? Would funding the movement now be in alignment with your philanthropic goals?
• Learn about nonprofit accounting.
The Women’s March Inc. released its first batch of financial records, revealing the group brought in more than $2.5 million in its heady first year—before its leadership came under heavy fire from former allies.
The documents and the accompanying annual report—provided by the group after a process that can only be described as bizarre—show it spent $1.6 million of those funds on a range of projects. Those include the original March on Washington; the Women’s Convention that took place later that year in Detroit, Michigan; and the 10 Actions 100 Days program aimed at maintaining the march’s momentum and engaging new activists in the nascent movement.
The bulk of the money haul came from merchandise sales—More than $1.1 million from the T-shirts, sweatshirts, hats, and tote bags that seemed omnipresent in Washington, D.C. as millions gathered in cities around the country to protest the new Trump administration. Another $596,940 came from the convention.
The Daily Beast also obtained the 990s for 2017 from another non-profit which provided fiscal sponsorship for the Women’s March, called the Gathering for Justice. Fiscal sponsorships are common for new non-profits before they receive their tax-exempt status. The National Council of NonProfits describes the relationship as providing an “administrative ‘home’” for a new cause.
Gathering for Justice’s financials show a massive increase in receipts between 2016 and 2017, from $167,021 to more than $1.8 million. It was not immediately clear how much of the increase involved Women’s March-specific funds. The Gathering for Justice did not immediately respond to requests for more information.
The Women’s March annual report notes, “The majority of the 2017 Women’s March on Washington was paid for by our fiscal sponsor, The Gathering for Justice.”
Read the full article about Women’s March financial records by Jackie Kucinich and Emily Shugerman at The Daily Beast.
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