Corporations Pay BLM Tribute for “Social Justice”

BLM “Extortion Racket” Threatening to Loot and Burn

Corporate America Buckles to BLM “Politically Correct” Threats to Defame Brands as Racist

BLM a Repeat of the Mafia “Protection” Racket

By

Robert A. Bishop, CPA (Retired)

Social media and the government media complex are aggressively pushing progressive campaigns using sophistry and psychological triggers to fuel emotions. Bypassing reason advances their demands for donations for social justice causes.  Anxious corporations   quickly responded with hundreds of millions in pledges to social justice organizations.

These corporate social indulgences are tribute that is a sign of respect, submission, or allegiance. Paying tribute is political submission and underwrites social justice activism. Donations are fundamentally extortion because corporations hope it will avoid social media shaming, protests, looting, and boycotts. A big payday for leftist organizations promoting the myth of egalitarianism.

Corporations Bankrolling the Social Justice Movement

Nonprofit America’s Charities estimates that $5 billion is donated annually through workplace donations.  The study estimates an 84 percent likelihood that employees will give if the employer offers to match. Most employers now use philanthropy cloud software to promote charitable giving sublimated with payroll deductions for one-time or recurring donations.

Individuals can use Apple Pay and Google Pay apps to make digital donations.  The apps make digital donations easy using smartphones, iPads, and desktop or laptop computers.  Corporations encourage and direct employees to use apps to promote charitable giving, which is incentivized by matching or double matching donations.  Its corporate iEvangelism.

One donation platform that merits public scrutiny is  Benevity, headquartered in Calgary, Canada. Benevity describes its mission as “goodness platform empowers socially conscious brands to make a real difference.” This year Benevity has raised over $1 billion, and its corporate portfolio includes many of the top one hundred corporations, including Apple.

Corporations use Benevity’s centralized grantmaking and employee matching software. Nonprofits register with Benevity to connect with corporate giving and volunteering programs. The platform provides benchmarking software measurement that includes personal dashboards displaying an individual’s impact and rank against colleagues, referred to as “gamification.”  Social investments are measured, as well.

United Way set the corporate standard for benchmarking employee participation rates.  Benchmarking employee participation can create a coercive participatory culture.  Benchmarking employees is a form of coercion that leads to tensions where employees resent donating for causes against their religious or traditional social beliefs.

Example of Corporate Social Responsibility Programs

One of the biggest proponents of corporate philanthropy is Apple’s CEO, Tim Cook.  He promotes a wide array of charities and is an apostle on civil rights, human rights, LGBT support, and immigration.  Apple uses Benevity to support its global philanthropic footprint, using employee matching  and “double the donation”  campaigns.  Apple and its employee charitable giving program exceeded $100 million in 2019.

In response to the nationwide riots and the  looting  of Apple stores, Apple CEO Tim Cook hastily  announced  a $100 million program called the Racial Equity and Justice Initiative. The focus is on supporting education, economic opportunity, and criminal reform, thus leading to an expansion of Apple’s employee cafeteria plan of charity programs.

Apple also has a volunteer grant program where the company donates to nonprofits, where employees can volunteer regularly. For each volunteer hour, the organization gives $25 to the organization. There are many worthwhile causes like food banks or assisting high school kids with software coding. However, there are many progressive causes Apple supports, like gender-affirming programs for transgender people like  Point of Pride.

Genuflecting Gone Awry

Numerous news outlets reported initially that Benevity’s donor platform remitted over $4.5 million to the Black Lives Matter Foundation.  But after Benevity realized BLM Foundation was not a charity and that the organization was not in good standing with the state of California, Benevity claimed it quit funding the group.

Benevity BLM Foundation, a California nonprofit, was formed in 2015 according to its IRS Determination Letter. The latest filed IRS tax return was 2017.  BLM Foundation applied in early 2018 as a California charity, but the Attorney General’s office rejected it. Later in December 2018, California’s AG office sent a Cease and Desist Order. An excellent example that Benevity lacks quality controls over charities that enrolled and listed on its portal.

Benevity reported about 200 of Benevity’s 650 client companies donated to the Black Lives Matter Foundation through its platform.  Apple reported none of its employees’ donations ended up with the Black Lives Matter Foundation.  A very dubious statement.  How many other sketchy charities are on Benevity’s portal and receive donations?

Unlicensed Money Transmitting

Under Federal Law, code  18 U.S.C. § 1960  requires a money transmitter or money transfer service to register as a money transmitter license in forty-nine states when their activity meets the state definition of a money transmitter.  Engaging in money transmission without a license in states that requires a permit to operate is a felony. The act includes mobile-based and Internet portals providing payment services.

Apple Payments, Inc., for example, is  registered  with the State of California as a money transmitter for the Apple Pay app. Benevity is not listed. It raises a serious question of the legality of Canadian Benevity collecting donations and electronically transmitting the funds across international borders and state lines.  Additionally, the high profile and controversial ActBlue umbrella organizations are not registered either in California.

Milton Friedman on Social Responsibility of Businesses

The late Milton Friedman’s (1976 Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences) famous 1970 New York Times editorial eloquently addresses corporate social responsibility.

Friedman believed executives spending company money on social causes is, in effect, spending shareholder’s money for their ideology, political, or personal agendas.  If the actions raise product prices, it is spending customer money.  If it causes lower employee wages, it is spending their money.  In other words, an imposition of taxes on goods and services paid by the public.

Corporations engaging in social responsibility “harm the foundations of a free society.”  It creates the perception that the pursuit of profits is “wicked and immoral” and must be “controlled by external forces,” an invitation for government mandates and the erosion of free enterprise.

People should be responsible for their actions.  People should do good “only at their own expense.”

Mr. Robert A. Bishop is a retired CPA.