The Minnesota Freedom Fund received backlash Tuesday after admitting that only $200,000 out of the more than $30 million raised by the organization has been used to bail out protesters.
Nationwide protests, some of which escalated into violent riots, began May 25 after the death of George Floyd, a black man who died after a police officer kneeled on his neck for several minutes. As of June 8, over 10,000 people had been arrested while protesting, according to The Guardian. (RELATED: Black Firefighter Spent His Life Savings To Open A Bar. Then Minneapolis Looters Burned It Down)
Donations flooded in to the Minnesota Freedom Fund during the protests after the organization said it was working to pay bail for people who were arrested while protesting. Celebrities like Seth Rogan, Steve Carell, Jameela Jamil, and Pete Holmes said that they had donated to the fund and encouraged other celebrities to match the donation, Variety reported.
“Without jeopardizing the safety of the folks we bailed out we paid well over $200k in the weeks since the uprising alone,” the group said on Twitter Monday. “We are working on doing more.”
The announcement sparked backlash from people asking where the rest of the money went.
$200k outta 35 Million?? I don’t wanna see what’s gonna happen in the morning when people wake up and see this trend. pic.twitter.com/n3ks9s2aj7
— DanielNewmaη 404-737-1636 (@DanielNewman) June 16, 2020
The “Minnesota Freedom Fund” admits they’ve only used $200,000 of the $35 MILLION they collected to bail people out. They also used the word ya’ll in their statement because they think they can pander their way out of this fraud. This is what Democrats do when you give $$. https://t.co/72H5KbB0O0
— Robby Starbuck (@robbystarbuck) June 16, 2020
Cool Quit gave much more than $200K in free services, free medications, and free medical equipment than a charity that received $35 million and we aren’t even a charity. We have received a whopping total of $0 in donations.
The Minnesota Freedom Fund must be fully investigated.
— Eugene Gu, MD (@eugenegu) June 16, 2020
This white run organization allegedly collected $35 million, and only used $200k to actually bail out protesters.
Those of us in the real Black grassroots have been getting folks out of jail on our own.
— Tariq Nasheed ???????? (@tariqnasheed) June 16, 2020
Others were sympathetic to the organization, saying that it was probably difficult to handle the massive influx of donations.
Y’all, give the Minnesota Freedom Fund a break. They’re a local org used to dealing with small sums of money now trying to figure out how to deal with huge sums of money.
Save your smoke for known grifters who’ve been stealing from people for 5 years or more.
— Imani Gandy ☄️???????? (@AngryBlackLady) June 16, 2020
i feel like everyone yelling at the minnesota freedom fund for only using 200k so far of the 35 MILLION dollars it raised doesnt understand how hard it is to efficiently spend, manage, and account for that kind of money when youre clearly not set up to work on that scale
— kathbarbadoro (@kathbarbadoro) June 16, 2020
i don’t know who needs to hear this, but if you’re a 501(c)(3) you cannot just throw the money that was donated to you somewhere else without going through a number of hoops. also a lot of the pile on against the minnesota freedom fund is coming from troll-y far right accounts.
— hannah gais (@hannahgais) June 16, 2020
Minnesota Freedom Fund was a fairly small organization most of us never even heard of that was hit with 35 million basically over a weekend. I think it’s cool to call for transparency early, but I think we can put the pitchforks away for a few weeks.
— HIMBO KING (@IfyNwadiwe) June 16, 2020
“All protest-related bail so far that has come our way has been paid,” the organization said on Twitter Tuesday. “‘Support’ starts with legal representation, court fees, and transportation, and starts with $150k. That can scale up as the project gets set up and costs start getting documented. We aren’t going to leave folks hanging, just like we aren’t going to stop paying bail,” they added.
The organization announced June 2 that they were pausing all donations.
Since the amount of money raised was “almost certainly” enough to pay bail for the protesters, the Minnesota Freedom Fund said in a statement on their website June 5, “further donations will help pay cash bail and immigration bonds for those who cannot afford to do so, and advance our efforts to end the unjust practice of cash bail and pretrial punishment in Minnesota.”
The Minnesota Freedom Fund did not immediately respond to a request for comment.