Brown Hope CEO Says Board Will Leave Him in Place, Conduct Investigation

Cameron Whitten faces internal and state probes of the racial justice nonprofit he founded.

cameron whitten (Aaron Lee)

Cameron Whitten, founder and CEO of the Portland racial justice nonprofit Brown Hope, said in a statement this morning that he would remain in his post as the organization conducts an investigation of still-unspecified allegations against him.

Those allegations led Greg McKelvey, the president of Brown Hope’s board, to email Whitten and Brown Hope staff last week that he was placing Whitten on paid leave.

The board—which consists of McKelvey, Whitten and one other person—met Wednesday.

Whitten, 31, has proven himself a prolific fundraiser in recent years. Brown Hope raised more than $3 million in 2020 and recently announced a guaranteed monthly basic income for 25 Black individuals for three years.

Related: A CEO’s Suspension Poses More Questions Than Answers at Fast-Growing Nonprofit Brown Hope

Whitten issued the following statement this morning:

“The Board of Directors met last night and voted to reaffirm my role as active CEO of Brown Hope.

“It is impossible to provide a detailed explanation to the recent media articles, as they involve confidential personnel matters. I can confirm that our third party legal and human resources staff is working with the Board of Directors to ensure a fair and thorough investigation process.

“To be honest—I return to work a bit shaken, a little bruised. But most importantly, I am inspired by the outpouring of support as community members and Brown Hope staff rallied in defense of justice and due process.”

McKelvey confirmed that Whitten would continue to lead the organization pending an investigation.

The Oregon Department of Justice, which oversees Oregon nonprofits, has previously said it plans to investigate Brown Hope.

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