Color of Change, overspending

‘Color of Change’ Under Fire After Staff Layoffs And Accusations Of Excessive Spending

Color of Change laid off 49 staff members to cut back on spending after Business Insider reported the organization is under by about $4 million.

According to anonymous staffers who spoke to Business Insider, the latest cuts are the third round since the spring. Board chair of the Color of Change Education Fund, Andre Banks, admitted in an interview, “What I will say is that in our last fiscal-year budget, we did set a budget that was too ambitious.”

What caused the financial struggles in the first place? Salaah Muhammad, a former regional manager, said about the organization’s presence at Martha’s Vineyard, “For an organization that says they’re doing all of these things to make the world a more humane, a less hostile place for Black people, it seems as though they’re more aligned with wanting to throw an elaborate party.”

Documents obtained by Business Insider revealed leaders spent excessively after receiving donations totaling over $30 million in the first half of 2020. The increase came about after social justice came into focus following George Floyd’s murder. The outlet reported that millions were spent on “executive salaries, high-profile events, consultants” and other projects. Reportedly, from 2017 to 2019, the outlet noted that the organization spent around $47 million. Revenue was $52 million. Business Insider also reported the social justice organization owes around $9.7 million for consultant fees, office rent, and furniture.

In response to Business Insider’s report, Color of Change board members said on Medium the organization “instituted new systems to proactively address emerging financial challenges.”

A statement on Color of Change’s website revealed some staffers unionized. “We are proud that this period of challenge and evolution has also coincided with support for the Color Of Change staff who expressed interest in joining a union.” The statement continued, “In line with our organizational values, Color Of Change quickly and voluntarily recognized their union and has done everything in our power to expedite the bargaining process.” Staffing cuts have rubbed some the wrong way. A staffer identified as R. Nicole on Twitter said the organization was engaging in “Color Of Capitalism” after laying off nearly 50 people.