Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

If you’ve been waiting for the right time to support our work—that time is now.

Our mission is simple: To inform. To inspire. To ignite change for the common good.

But without the support of our readers, this model does not work and we simply won’t survive. It’s that simple.
We must meet our Mid-Year Campaign goal but we need you now.

Please, support independent journalism today.

Join the small group of generous readers who donate, keeping Common Dreams free for millions of people each year. Without your help, we won’t survive.

A protester reacts after being hit with tear gas

A woman reacts to being hit with pepper spray by U.S. Park Police in Lafayette Square near the White House on June 22, 2020 in Washington, D.C. (Photo: Tasos Katopodis /Getty Images)

Corporate-Backed Police Foundations Pose 'Threat to Democracy and Black Lives': Report

"We cannot let corporations talk about 'Black lives' on their Twitter feeds while also funding police violence on our streets."

Brett Wilkins

Many of the same corporations trumpeting their support for Black lives are duplicitously bankrolling police violence via little-known but powerful police foundations in cities across the United States, a new report released Thursday revealed.

"Many police foundations' top corporate sponsors made public statements in support of Black Lives Matter while providing a corporate slush fund for police."

The racial justice group Color of Change and the public accountability initiative LittleSis published the report—entitled Police Foundations: A Corporate-Sponsored Threat to Democracy and Black Lives—which highlights financial ties between police foundations and corporations, including at least 55 Fortune 500 firms.

Police foundations—private organizations that funnel donations from companies and outside groups to law enforcement agencies—are "protecting corporate interests and enabling state-sanctioned violence against Black communities and communities of color," the report notes.

"It's impossible to separate the world of policing from the world of money," the authors assert.

In Georgia, the Atlanta Police Foundation's sponsors include Amazon, Bank of America, Chick-fil-A, Delta Airlines, Home Depot, Waffle House, Wells Fargo, Uber, and UPS—to name but a few.

"These are the donors we know about," the report states. "As calls for accountability increased in recent years, police foundations have taken additional steps to scrub their websites and hide donor information."

"There is a police foundation in nearly every major American city, behind almost every police department, backed by wealthy donors and giant multinational corporations," the report adds. "In 2020, many police foundations' top corporate sponsors made public statements in support of Black Lives Matter while providing a corporate slush fund for police."

After Atlanta police officer Garrett Rolfe was charged with murder for fatally shooting Rayshard Brooks in the back in June 2020—a time when Black Americans were reeling from recent police killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Tony McDade, and others—the Atlanta Police Foundation said it would pay every cop in the city a $500 bonus. This, as many of the corporations sustaining the foundation rushed to profess their support for racial justice.

"Police accountability and corporate accountability are even more inextricably linked than they may appear," the report argues. "We cannot let corporations talk about 'Black lives' on their Twitter feeds while also funding police violence on our streets."

Color of Change president Rashad Robinson said that "only cutting ties with police foundations will show that corporate leaders are serious about protecting Black lives and bringing our police departments into the 21st century."

As a result of the report's findings and ongoing conversations, Coca-Cola—which in 2018 pledged $2 million to its hometown Atlanta Police Foundation—has resigned from the foundation's board of trustees.

However, such action is the exception to the rule. New companies continue to contribute to police foundations, swelling already bloated law enforcement budgets, funding police militarization, enabling ever-expanding surveillance, and spreading "copaganda"—messaging that fuels fears about crime and promotes the normalization of ever-growing policing.

"Corporations bankroll police foundations," said Robinson, "and then police foundations use that support to attack commonsense reforms, spread misinformation about reformers, and defend the most outdated, violent, and racially biased practices of police officers."

Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

"I'm sure this will be all over the corporate media, right?"
That’s what one longtime Common Dreams reader said yesterday after the newsroom reported on new research showing how corporate price gouging surged to a nearly 70-year high in 2021. While major broadcasters, newspapers, and other outlets continue to carry water for their corporate advertisers when they report on issues like inflation, economic inequality, and the climate emergency, our independence empowers us to provide you stories and perspectives that powerful interests don’t want you to have. But this independence is only possible because of support from readers like you. You make the difference. If our support dries up, so will we. Our crucial Mid-Year Campaign is now underway and we are in emergency mode to make sure we raise the necessary funds so that every day we can bring you the stories that corporate, for-profit outlets ignore and neglect. Please, if you can, support Common Dreams today.


'We WILL Fight Back': Outrage, Resolve as Protests Erupt Against SCOTUS Abortion Ruling

Demonstrators took to the streets Friday to defiantly denounce the Supreme Court's right-wing supermajority after it rescinded a constitutional right for the first time in U.S. history.

Brett Wilkins ·

80+ US Prosecutors Vow Not to Be Part of Criminalizing Abortion Care

"Criminalizing and prosecuting individuals who seek or provide abortion care makes a mockery of justice," says a joint statement signed by 84 elected attorneys. "Prosecutors should not be part of that."

Kenny Stancil ·

Progressives Rebuke Dem Leadership as Clyburn Dismisses Death of Roe as 'Anticlimactic'

"The gap between the Democratic leadership, and younger progressives on the question of 'How Bad Is It?' is just enormous."

Julia Conley ·

In 10 Key US Senate Races, Here's How Top Candidates Responded to Roe Ruling

While Republicans unanimously welcomed the Supreme Court's rollback of half a century of reproductive rights, one Democrat said "it's just wrong that my granddaughter will have fewer freedoms than my grandmother did."

Brett Wilkins ·

Sanders Says End Filibuster to Combat 'Outrageous' Supreme Court Assault on Abortion Rights

"If Republicans can end the filibuster to install right-wing judges to overturn Roe v. Wade, Democrats can and must end the filibuster, codify Roe v. Wade, and make abortion legal and safe," said the Vermont senator.

Jake Johnson ·

Common Dreams Logo