Minnesota Freedom Fund Responds After Being Accused of Misusing Donations

Demonstrations against police brutality continue.
Demonstrations against police brutality continue. (Getty)

The Minnesota Freedom Fund responded to critics on Twitter after revealing the fund had spent $200,000 in bonds despite receiving more than $30 million in donations for protests in the aftermath of the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis on May 25.

“Let's talk about ‘where the money went’ and where it's going,” the fund wrote in part one of a Twitter thread Tuesday morning. “All protest-related bail so far that has come our way has been paid and we're going to keep that up.”

The MFF came under fire after sharing in the Frequently Asked Questions section on their website that they had received $30 million in donations, but wrote on Twitter it had so far spent $200,000 in bonds. But some came to the MFF's defense, saying it made sense that the Fund had not yet allocated all the money it had received.

"Not sure how any small organization would spend $35 million in a matter of 2 weeks when they’ve never dealt with such a large amount of money in their lives," Noname tweeted,

Another user wrote, “it's okay that they haven't spent 30 mil in 2 weeks. It's also okay to demand accountability. Give them some time.”

Social media users grew skeptical of the fund’s usage of donations Monday night. “Appreciate all those calling for transparency. We see y’all. Our values and mission have not changed since 2016. Be on the lookout for things coming on our end,” the nonprofit, which works to pay bonds for those who cannot afford it, tweeted Monday night.

“Without jeopardizing the safety of the folks we bailed out we paid well over $200k in the weeks since the uprising alone. We are working on doing more,” the MFF added. 

The tweet sparked social media users to demand the whereabouts of the rest of the donations. “There is a literal war going on,” one user wrote. “For y’all to now lack transparency on where our funds are going (when so many of us are unemployed) is a the deepest of evils. Predatory. Answer the people, immediately.”

The backlash prompted "35 MILLION"  to start trending on Twitter.

MFF briefly stopped accepting donations after receiving an overwhelming amount of support after Floyd’s death after a white police officer knelt on his neck for nearly nine minutes.

“We are no longer the same organization we were one week ago,” the fund wrote on its website June 2. “One week ago, we were a small bail fund struggling to get anyone to listen about the harms of cash bail and pre-trial detention. We are now flooded with resources and we are going to take a beat while we marshal those. We have some big plays in mind.”

Three days later, it announced “the financial needs for protester bails has almost certainly been met,” adding that donations “may be used to expand legal support for those arrested or incarcerated protesting the murder of George Floyd.”

One user tweeted that other bail organizations, like the Portland Protest Bail Fund, have been even more transparent, sending donors daily updates on where their funds are being spent.

Some defended the fund on Monday's tweet. “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,” Kath Barbadoro wrote.

The Minnesota Freedom Fund did not respond to Inside Edition Digital's request for comment.

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