Blexit’s finances are collapsing, but his paycheck for Candace Owens keeps coming in
Donations to conservative commentator Candace Owens’ Blexit Foundation plummeted in 2021. But the organization paid Owens more than ever: $250,000 in salary, alone. This does not include charter flights.
Founded in 2018, Blexit urges African Americans to leave the Democratic Party, preferably to embrace conservative politics. Amid the racial justice protests in 2020, the Blexit Foundation raised more than $7 million in donations. Now the organization is back in the public eye after its occasional collaborator Kanye West launched a firestorm of anti-Semitic comments, shortly after posing in “White Lives Matter” shirts with Owens, and pledged to buy Talk, Owens’ right-wing social media site. the husband runs. Recently released 2021 tax returns from the Blexit Foundation suggest an organization that struggled to maintain its fundraising numbers but continued to funnel money to top leaders.
Reached for comment, Owens repeatedly declined to answer specific questions about how much the Blexit Foundation had distributed or to whom.
“In short, yes, we have raised funds and proudly distributed money for and to black businesses and continue to do so. Our filings are public, timely and fully comprehensive,” Owens wrote in an email. The Blexit organization had no further comment.
The Blexit Foundation has been a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization since 2019. Its charitable status makes it tax-exempt and its tax records are public knowledge. In the three years for which Blexit records are available, the foundation has seen an increase and then a decline in contributions.
In 2019, its first year as a nonprofit, the Blexit Foundation raised $904,575 in donations. The organization’s operations were modest that year. None of its top executives, including Owens, worked there full-time or received a salary from the foundation.
But in 2020, amid national debates over race in the wake of the murder of George Floyd, Blexit’s fundraising skyrocketed. Blexit received $7,446,352 in contributions that year. He also started spending big. That year, Owens received $230,000 in salary from Blexit. The nonprofit’s events director also made six figures, with a salary of $105,000.
Other expenses have been added. In 2020, Blexit spent over $1 million on travel, some of it first class or charter. “Blexit allows pre-approved charter travel under certain circumstances for urgent business related to fundraising for the organization in the normal course of business and due to increased travel restrictions caused by the impact of the pandemic Ongoing COVID-19 on commercial travel and flight availability. “, show the documents filed by the organization that year.
The organization also spent over $1.8 million on fundraising, which generated over $2.4 million for Blexit, resulting in a net gain of over $600,000.
But the fundraising momentum hasn’t continued in 2021, Blexit’s latest filing suggests. Last year, the foundation received $2,342,820 in contributions, less than a third of what it raised the previous year. Despite this, the organization spent nearly $1 million more than it earned, with total payments to employees nearly doubling.
A large payout, $250,000 plus benefits, went to Owens. Another $612,000 went to fundraising and $205,708 went to travel, some first class or charter.
The Blexit Foundation, like many nonprofit organizations, often advertises its charitable work. On Twitter, Owens touted major fundraising numbers for black-owned businesses that were damaged during protests over the 2020 killing of George Floyd.
“This month #BLEXIT raised $200,000 for black businesses that were destroyed in the #BLM riots,” Owens tweeted in June 2020.
“I raised 300,000 for black businesses that were destroyed in the BLM riots,” Owens tweeted at a Republican rival in 2021.
“Among other things, my charity gave nearly $100,000 during the George Floyd riots to black businesses that were destroyed,” Owens tweeted this month. “I also personally paid George Floyd’s rent.”
Owens’ most recent figure, less than $100,000, appears most aligned with Blexit’s public filings. Blexit filings in 2020 show the organization awarded $108,215 in grants that year. Of that amount, the filings specifically describe $77,215 in grants to eight businesses, including a restaurant in Riviera Beach, Florida; a marijuana extraction business in Denver, Colorado; a computer store in Richmond, Virginia; and a gym, two pharmacies, a restaurant, and a media organization in Philadelphia.
Local media confirmed that some of the businesses were damaged during the 2020 protests. The computer store in Richmond, to which Blexit contributed $8,000, was looted. Community members started a GoFundMe with a goal of $25,000 for the store owner and raised $40,966, most in one day.
In 2021, the Blexit Foundation said it only gave $4,000 in grants or other aid. Recipients are unclear; on public tax returns, nonprofits that donated no more than $5,000 are not required to provide additional beneficiary information.
Owens repeatedly refused to tell The Daily Beast how much Blexit had donated to black-owned businesses. Instead, Owens took issue with the claim on Facebook.
“They haven’t written ONE article about the 80 million raised by BLM, but they now want to know exactly how much money my real charity specifically gave to black businesses,” Owens wrote on Facebook less than two hours ago. later attributing “attacks” on Blexit to a documentary she made on Black Lives Matter. (The Daily Beast had written skeptically about Black Lives Matter fundraising, long before Owens’ film.)
In its 2021 filings, Blexit highlighted its charitable donations and expanded push into education.
“Blexit has also made several charitable contributions to African American-owned businesses impacted by the violence and effects of the pandemic,” the foundation’s 2021 filing says. “The organization has recruited additional board and staff members and conceptualized new programs to implement in 2022. Blexit has expanded programming by launching an after-school program.”
The Blexit Education Facebook page shows that the organization runs two such programs at churches in South Carolina and Florida, with a total of 88 students enrolled in the 2022 summer program. In 2021, Blexit also promoted a week-long summer camp in Tennessee. Although online details about the program are sparse, a registration form indicates that the program costs $200, plus a $50 registration fee.
Blexit’s 2021 tax returns show the organization earned $1,008 in “camp registration” revenue, though the document doesn’t offer additional details.
Dominick McGee, then head of the Tennessee chapter of Blexit, posed for photos promoting summer camp in 2021, but told The Daily Beast he was unsure of the details of the camp, such as whether it was free.
McGee said he parted ways with Blexit this spring, accusing the organization of kicking him out for recruiting a lesbian for a leadership role.
“They were all about getting black Democrats to vote for Republicans and I was like, there’s a whole audience that we’re not reaching that’s LGBTQ, and we have all of those people in our family,” McGee told the Daily Beast. “Everyone in our family can relate to it and we don’t discriminate, being a non-profit organization.”
Asked about the allegation, Owens did not respond directly to questions about McGee’s claim or the circumstances surrounding his departure this spring.
“The BLEXIT organization is pro-family and recognizes that the transgender agenda and those who wish to promote it are expressly anti-family and increasingly predatory toward children,” Owens wrote. “We are and will remain a resolutely pro-family organization.”