Tell me that you want the kind of things that money just can't buy

Here's a wild one from a couple of weeks back that I need to get off my "to-blog" list: A Portland nonprofit called Brown Hope is going to start (or by now may have already started) giving out income-based monthly cash grants to up to 50 Black households to provide a "guaranteed income." The Weed had the story here, although details were mighty sketchy.

The awards are income-based and vary by family size: from $1,000 for a single adult up to $2,000 for a family with three or more children.

Of course, there are going to be way more applicants than there are grants. You wonder how they're going to decide who gets what. And who "they" are who are doing the deciding, for that matter.

The story tells us that Brown Hope was started by Cameron Whitten, a familiar face among the city's many social justice types. It's particularly interesting, in that Whitten once ran for mayor, then for state treasurer, and he sure looks like a guy who will be running for office again. 

You probably know where I'm going with this. Imagine the gratitude that the lucky grant recipients feel toward Whitten. Does that mean they will vote for him? However pure his intentions may be, could he be sort of, indirectly, kind of, oh I don't know, maybe accidentally, buying votes with this?

Bah, maybe I'm being too cynical. At least Brown Hope shows its books. Unlike a few fly-by-night social justice nonprofits around town, the organization actually files annual financial reports with the IRS. In 2020, according to that filing, Brown Hope brought in nearly $3 million, and wound up with assets of more than $1.5 million. They ain't kidding around in the dough department.

The IRS form also says that Brown Hope paid "direct cash assistance" to 2,943 individual recipients totaling $1,145,635 in 2020. So this whole money handout thing is not exactly news.

Whitten's salary as "CEO" is shown as $36,842. But he makes up for it in popularity in the 'hood, I'll bet.

There are also $180,950 of "other" fees paid for services rendered by non-employees. This is made up of "program service expenses" ($118,985), "management and general expenses" ($37,020), and fundraising expenses ($24,945). The form does not require the group to say who the payees of those amounts were, and it didn't. 

Anyway, there are a surprising number of dollars sloshing around under Whitten. It's impressive. At 31 years old, his is a story well worth watching.


  1. Shouldn't there be an incentive to earn it instead of just getting free cash? Does it last forever? Why only people that have a dark skin color?


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