Patrisse Cullors: what is her net worth, who is the BLM co-founder – and why has she resigned?

Patrisse Cullors has quit the Black Lives Matter movement to focus on other projects amid scrutiny over her personal finances
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A co-founder of Black Lives Matter (BLM) said she is stepping down as executive director of the movement's foundation.

Patrisse Cullors has been at the helm of the Black Lives Matter Global Network Foundation for nearly six years.

She said she is leaving to focus on other projects, including the upcoming release of her second book, An Abolitionist's Handbook, and a multi-year TV development deal with Warner Bros.

But her resignation has come at a time of controversy over the foundation's finances and her personal wealth.

So, who is the Black Lives Matter co-founder and why has she handed in her resignation?

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Who is the Black Lives Matter co-founder?

Cullors has said that her last day with the foundation is 28 May.

The 37-year-old set up the Black Lives Matter movement nearly eight years ago in response to injustice against black Americans.

The Black Lives Matter movement started as a hashtag on social media following the acquittal of George Zimmerman, the neighbourhood watch volunteer who killed 17-year-old Trayvon Martin in Florida.

The activist, along with BLM co-founders Alicia Garza and Opal Tometi, pledged then to build a decentralised movement governed by consensus of a members' collective.

In 2018, Cullors released When They Call You a Terrorist: A Black Lives Matter Memoir, which became a New York Times bestseller.

She has also consulted on a number of racial justice projects outside of BLM, taking compensation for that work in her personal capacity.

Why is Patrisse Cullors resigning?

The activist said her resignation has been in the works for more than a year and has nothing to do with the personal attacks she has faced from far-right groups.

The BBC has reported that Cullors' finances came under close scrutiny in April after it was reported she owned four homes.

Cullors was also targeted by some conservative-leaning publications that falsely alleged she took a large annual salary from the foundation, allowing her to purchase a home in southern California.

"Those were right-wing attacks that tried to discredit my character, and I don't operate off of what the right thinks about me," Cullors told the Associated Press.

The foundation also said: "As a registered 501c3 non-profit organisation, (the foundation) cannot and did not commit any organisational resources toward the purchase of personal property by any employee or volunteer.

"Any insinuation or assertion to the contrary is categorically false."

The New York Post has reported that Cullors has spent £3.2 million on high end homes in the United States – including a custom ranch in Georgia.

The movement has also been criticised after revealing in February that it took in just over 90 million dollars (£63 million) last year following the May 2020 murder of George Floyd.

Critics of the foundation said the money should have gone towards the families of black victims of police brutality.

Cullors and the foundation have said they do support families without making public announcements or disclosing dollar amounts.

She told the Associated Press: "I've created the infrastructure and the support, and the necessary bones and foundation, so that I can leave.

"It feels like the time is right.” she added.

As Cullors departs, the foundation is bringing aboard two new interim senior executives, Monifa Bandele, a longtime BLM organiser and founder of the Malcolm X Grassroots Movement in New York City, and Makani Themba.

Additional reporting by PA.

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