On Friday TB Daily News first reported that Ayanna Pressley campaign organizer Monica Cannon-Grant published a racist, threatening and sexually degrading video about Pressley’s republican challenger Rayla Campbell. Because Campbell is a black woman who is married to a white man, and because she accepts campaign help from white conservatives, Cannon-Grant took issue with this in her 30 minute tirade.
“This heffer running against Ayanna Pressley. This one here with the white husband. At some point we gonna have to have a conversation with black folks who get in a conversation with white folks and then forget that they black. If white vagina and white penises jeopardize your melanin then we need you to sit in the back of the classroom and this ain’t your part of the show and you don’t get to talk right now. Regardless of how many white penises you ride, and I ain’t mad at you sis because if you riding that mother f***er for a credit score get you that house boo. Get you that 40 acres and a mule. Just don’t forget you a n***er.”
Today the CEO of the non-profit Violence in Boston issued a public release about the video on the VIB Facebook page, falsely labeling TB Daily News as a “white supremacist blog,” and framing the use of her own words against her as an unfair and racially motivated attack. She also claims that she takes responsibility for the things she said about Campbell but did not issue an apology or articulate what was problematic about the things she said.
VIB was incorporated with the Secretary of State as a nonprofit in 2017. Monica Cannon-Grant is listed as the President and Director. Zeina Merchant, a member of the Winchester School Committee, is listed as VIB’s treasurer, clerk, and director, and Monica’s husband Clark Grant is also listed as a director.
Their press contact is Alex Goldstein, the CEO of Ninety West, and a key campaign strategist for the Pressley campaign in 2018.
All non-profits in Massachusetts are required to register with the Attorney General’s Office, and all non-profit companies soliciting funds from the general public greater than $5,000 are required to obtain a certificate of solicitation each year. A nonprofit must be registered to obtain a certificate of solicitation. Using VIB’s EIN number 82-3523789, and searching for them manually on the AG’s site reveals that they are not a registered non-profit.
They are listed on the IRS website as a tax exempt entity though.
Tax exempt organizations are required to file financial forms each year. The form they are required to file is based on how much money they bring in. Violence in Boston has not filed its tax returns for 2018 or 2019.
All Massachusetts corporations must also register with the Secretary of State and pay $500 each year to file their annual reports. Although VIB did register in November of 2017, they forgot to do so until April 2020 when they filed four years worth of reports.
The AGO requires non-profits to file annual financial reports so that people can see the financial information and guarantee transparency. Since VIB never registered with the AGO they have never filed financial reports which are supposed to be open for public inspection. Thus there is no way to determine where the donations are going or what Cannon-Grant pays herself for a salary. This is illegal, and as we will see there are massive amounts of money coming into this organization that are unaccounted for.
Because she does not report an income to the AGO Cannon-Grant presumably does not have to pay an income tax on it, and as a result on paper she qualifies for government assistance. Monica openly states that she collects food stamps and lives in Section 8 government subsidized housing in Roxbury.
According to VIB’s website they have several “partners,” including Mayor Marty Walsh, former City Councillor Tito Jackson, members of the clergy, and Nation of Islam.
Except the vast majority of the people on this list have no association with VIB whatsoever, never mind a partnership.
She lists several vague references to unnamed people she’s helped in the community, including one that she shared twice about a man who needed legal assistance after he was being charged for “CD’s,” another for a woman “facing police brutality in Roxbury,” and 40 families who lost loved ones to homicide.
She provides no evidence of any of this.
VIB’s mission is to “improve the quality of life & life outcomes of individuals from disenfranchised communities by reducing the prevalence of violence and the impact of associated trauma.” However, it’s unclear how she plans on reducing violence in disenfranchised communities, other than asking for money. On their website there is a PayPal donation button that connects directly to VIB’s PayPal account.
But because she has not done her taxes or registered with the AGO, there is no way to track how much money is coming in.
June has been a good month for her since the killing of George Floyd has gotten millions of people to open up their checkbooks and donate to causes they perceive to be associated with racial justice. In June Cannon-Grant has announced on Facebook that she has received grant money from the following people and organizations:
- Elizabeth Warren
- Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley
- CAMP BLOOD
- Altman Vilandrie & Company
- Justice Resource Institute
- The Network/La Red
- Alpert Cohen Charitable Fund
- Marsh & McLennan Companies
- Shell Oil Company Foundation
- Boston Circus Guild
- Constance Parrish
- De Quattra Family Foundation
- Face Mask for Solidarity (Nina Donghia)
- Strand Therapeutics Inc.
- Gregory Fung
- Mathworks Matching Program
- Power Within Fitness & Coaching
- Trillium Asset Management LLC
- Jubilee Christian Church International
- TJ Cutrona Memorial Gift Fund
- R.M. Walter Charitable Fund
- Lynn ModellFive by Two Records
- Emperor Nortons Stationary Marching Band
- Bacow Family Fund
- Michael Mcgrail & Suzanne Raab
- Emel Sea Fund
- Mitchell Fund
- Bisby Charitable Fund
- Network for Good
- Jack Cushman & Teresa Elsey
- Mo Hanley
- Levi Morgan
- Lewis Maskell Charitable Fund
- Jennifer Hogue
- Mrs. Sophie C. Schmitt
- Samuel AscanioMaureen Hanley
- Anna Whitcomb
- L’Chaim Fund
- Myrtle Baptist Church
- Martin-Raisz Charitable Fund
- Levi Morgan
- Jack Cushman & Teresa Elsey
- Rachel Wilson
- The History Project Inc.
- The Gleason Family Fund
- The M and J Carmody Giving Fund
- The Quinn-Dupont/Dupont Fund
- The Peller and Rice Family Fund
- The Greenawalt Family Giving Fund
- Harrelson Giving Fund
- Miwa Family Fund
- Susan Collings Giving Circle
- The Hopkins Family Fund
- Grove Hall Trust
- The Humez and Maessen Fund
- Jacquelyn House
- Fidelity Investments
- Dana Smith
- Anne Welch
- North Atlantic States Regional Council of Carpenters
That’s just in June. Prior to that she received $35,000 from Nike. Four days ago she was chosen by the Barr Foundation to get her $70,000 cut of a $1.36 million grant for Nonprofits Supporting Black Communities in Response to COVID-19.
She knows how to apply for grants, and she knows that her perceived leadership as the de facto head of BLM Boston makes her a prime candidate for large financial donations. She had over 60 grants in June alone, so this could potentially be a multi million dollar organization that makes zero dollars on paper. If the average donation was $10,000 it would mean over $600,000 in June alone.
Cannon-Grant knows how to capitalize on whatever is in the news. In April it was COVID, where she solicited a sizable grant from Shannon Watts’ Mom’s Demand Action, a multi-million dollar left wing organization.
Also in April she listed donors that included:
- Mass Housing Thaddeus Miles
- No Books No Ball
- Joe Kennedy III
- Boston Tee’s Factory
- The Boston Foundation
- City Councilor Julia Mejia
- State Rep Chynah Tyler
- State Rep Liz Miranda
- City Councilor Annissa Essaibi-George
- Mayor Walsh
- The Boston Teacher’s Union
- Greater Boston Labor Council
- The North Star Fund
According to OCPF records Violence in Boston received $250 from Representative Miranda, $1,235.10 from Councillor Mejia, and $200 from former Council candidate Domingos DaRosa.
On top of the grant money she also frequently has fundraisers where her followers can donate.
In February a fundraiser netted over $8,000.
In April she made nearly $10,000 with a fundraiser for COVID relief.
The people and causes she raises money for are always anonymous and vague. They included Mother’s Day walk for peace shirts.
A “college bound black femme.”
A “black femme mother” who recently fell on hard times, cashed out her 401K, and couldn’t pay her rent, bills or daughter’s college application.
A black femme mother who needed assistance to pay her bills and avoid being evicted with her 5 kids.
In 2018 she ended up raising over $8,000 for a Father’s Day event, despite the fact that Pressley and others had sponsored it.
She raised another $5,000 for 26 unnamed men across the city to go to Boston Winery.
On the 4th of July she asked for $90 in reparations so she can pay her cellphone bill.
Last month she again asked for $250 for an unnamed “black queer person” so they can pay their taxes.
In 2019 she raised money for four unnamed black students to to go the prom at an unnamed high school.
Another black femme mother of four domestic violence survivor needed $400 to fix her car.
$3,500 for an unnamed family of looking for a 5 bedroom house despite qualifying for Section 8.
A free dining room set for Monica, just because.
As well as a Holiday fundraiser, just because.
She never misses an opportunity to use racism as a way to extort money either. Last month when Phantom Gourmet CEO Dave Andelman was forced to resign after making jokes about protests and reopening the economy, Cannon-Grant told him his apology wasn’t sufficient until he paid her.
But where does the money go? How does she prevent violence in Boston? From the looks of her Facebook page she uses the 4,000 square foot building that Mayor Walsh gave her for free (no other nonprofit was gifted a building) to serve meals for the hungry. However, she gets Lovin Spoonfulls to donate the food, so her costs are likely minimal. And she uses it as an opportunity to solicit more donations.
She hasn’t provided any evidence that she’s directly helped families who lost loved ones to gun violence. Rather many in the black community resent her because they see her as an opportunist who capitalizes off of their personal tragedies. She does occasionally give out $100 gift cards to unnamed mothers, but they are chosen randomly.
She does occasionally post about the amount that comes in in grant money, but blacked out the sources of income. One post showed $35,000.
We do know that she flaunts luxurious getaways though.
But perhaps the most suspicious thing she’s done to date happened last year after a shooting took place at the Warren Garden housing projects where she lives with her husband and 6 kids.
Although the shooting had absolutely nothing to do with her, Monica made it sound to her followers that she was targeted, and thus needed to move because she was unsafe living there. Two separate fundraisers raised close to $10,000 for her moving expenses and hotel rooms where she would stay until they could find a place to live.
But she never moved. She just used someone else’s tragedy as a way to enrich herself and lied to donors about what the money was going towards.
Monica Cannon-Grant keeps her followers in a constant state of frenzy in order to maintain power and monetize their following. As we will see in Part, her theatrics are very effective.
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