Open letter from more than 140 former Change.org employees regarding #BlackLivesMatter petition revenue

Note: If you’re a current or former Change.org employee and wish to sign this letter, email BLMopenletter@gmail.com and we’ll respond with the link to add your name. We will continually update this post with new signers.

To: Ben Rattray, Change.org CEO

CC: Nick Allardice, Change.org acting CEO

CC: Reid Hoffman, Lead investor

Dear Ben, Nick, and Reid:

As former employees of Change.org, we write to express extreme concern over the company’s handling of donations raised by its #BlackLivesMatter petitions, especially one with more than 16 million signatures demanding accountability for the police officers who murdered George Floyd. The petition calls for signers to “become a hero” by “chipping in,” but these donations do not go to George Floyd’s family, or to organizations fighting for Black lives. Rather, these contributions serve to market the petition and Change.org itself via billboards and digital ads. Change.org is siphoning resources away from organizations that are accountable to Black people and equipped to do deeper, long-term, community-based organizing for Black lives and liberation. At the same time, Change.org continues to host numerous petitions advocating against racial justice and leaders of color — including multiple petitions calling for Black Lives Matter to be labeled a terrorist group — and generates revenue from those as well.

Since Change.org is a for-profit corporation which depends on collecting new email addresses to make money, these actions constitute Change.org profiting from the death of Black people. We understand that’s a serious statement to levy, and we don’t take it lightly. Accordingly, we ask that Change.org take immediate action:

  1. We ask that you disclose publicly how much money was raised by the George Floyd petition, and donate that amount to Floyd’s family and organizers working directly to end anti-Black violence. We also ask for a similar disclosure and donation of funds raised by the multi-million signature petitions calling for justice for Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery. We think it would be meaningful for Change.org to connect with racial justice leaders in Minnesota, Kentucky, and Georgia — as well as San Francisco, New York, and other cities where Change.org occupies office space — to determine how these funds can be of most use to Black communities.
  2. We ask that you create a policy to ensure that Change.org is not the beneficiary of Black pain and anti-Black violence at any time in the future — a policy created in consultation with Black experts and community leaders, which prioritizes Black needs and is expressed by Black voices. Change.org is a for-profit corporation owned and led primarily by white people, with fewer than a dozen Black staff members out of 264 global staff, and must take decisive action to avoid any possibility of profit from anti-Black violence and systems of white supremacy.
  3. We ask that you offer all future petition starters the option to exclude their petition from generating revenue for the company. We understand that Change.org requires a revenue model, but this situation highlights the need for a more thoughtful and ethical approach to generating revenue more broadly. Organizers’ access to Change.org’s tools should not be dependent on their willingness to have their cause used to raise money for a company without their consent.

We write this letter with a fervent hope that you’ll redirect funds from these petitions by June 30th. We share this letter publicly in accordance with Change.org’s own values that leveraging collective action is the most effective way to create change. We care deeply about Change.org’s mission — as we know do you — and we believe these changes would restore trust in the platform.

Sincerely,

Abraham Lucero

Adam Fischman

Adam Jacob Schwartz

Adrienne Lever

Aften Lay

A.J. Walton

Alex Navissi

Alice Wu

Amanda Kloer

Andrea Wood

Andrew Milton

Anna Hirsch

Aruna Balakrishnan

Avijit Michael

Benjamin Lowe

Bonnie Thornbury

Brandon Scott

Callie Thompson

Carly Quaglio

Carol Mirakove

Carol Scott

Cecilia Xia

Charlotte Hill

Chelsea Coffman

Chris Walsh

Christina Frenzel

Christine Dela Rosa

Corinne Ball

Dan Halioua

Deepa Gupta

Dev Aujla

Dhruv Dang

Dian Rosanti

Eleanor Morrison

Emilia Gutierrez

Eric Lukoff

Eric Nicholas

Erik Ogan

Erin Viray-San Martin

Eva Arevuo

Evan Faber

Fernand Pajot

Gabriela Garcia

Ghaida Zahran

Graziela Tanaka

Heather Sullivan

Jamie Krute

Jamie Mueller

Jared Grippe

Jeff Pierce

Jen Perrone

Jenna Lowenstein

Jess Kutch

Jess Leber

Jessica Schwartz

Jocelyn Garibay

Joe Hergert

Joe Mirabella

Johnny Chatterton

Jonathan Borge

Jonathan Perri

Kamla Kasichainula

Kate Davey

Kate Stayman-London

Kate Thomas Kleinschmidt

Katharine Segal

Katherine Baird

Katherine Sladden

Kathryn Lewis

Kathryn Semogas

Katie Farhat

Katie VanLangen

Katy May Spencer

Katy McKegney

Keith Blonder

Kelly Hale

Kelly Sawyers

Kellyn Loftus

Kendra Ijeoma

Keria Madow

Kini Schoop

Kristiane Skolmen

Krupa Shah

Kyle Stoneman

Lawrence Grodeska

Lauren P. Adams

Leticia Floresmeyer

Lindsey Appleby

Liz Moderi

Maggie Aker

Mallory Russell

Mandy Johnson

Manya Scheps

Maria Tchijov

Mark Anthony Dingbaum

Marsha Pierre

Matt Fender

Matthew Ferry

Megan Lubin

Meghan Teich Pierret

Melinda Fox

Michael Arick

Michael Whitney

Michelle Melendez

Morgan Fletcher

Natalie Green

Nick Gaw

Nicole Cairns

Nina Reyes Rosenberg

Noemí Jiménez

Noland Chambliss

Paul Minton

Paul Ruban

Peter Lebo

Peter Schmitt

Pulin Modi

Rachel LaBruyere

Rashi Jauhri

Robin Beck

Ryan M. Eller

Sam Boltax

Sam Hartsock

Sam McAfee

Sara Menefee

Sarah Ryan

Sean Dick

Sean McDonnell

Shareeza Bhola

Shayna Englin

Sierra Jackson

Summer Coper

Tabatha Fulker

Tammy Ho

Tamseel Hussain

Taren Stinebrickner-Kauffman

Tatiana Marshall

Tim Lim

Tim Newman

Timothy James

Visha Fox

William Barrett

William R. Johnson

William Winters, III

Zoe Rivka Panagopoulos

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