|What does it cost to be the Boss Freedom Fighter? In the case of Rev. Jesse L. Jackson it should be called Jesse Jackson, Inc. and in 1999, his operations toward "keeping hope alive" totaled $17 million.
Jesse Jackson Inc. operations are broad. While the public only recognizes the man, Rev. Jesse L. Jackson, Sr., there are over 100 employees and numerous for-profit and non-profit entities behind the man. "A rising tide can lift all boats," Jackson often says. There are 12 entities that help float Jesse's boat. These include: the Rainbow/PUSH Coalition, Citizenship Education Fund (CEF), People United to Save Humanity (PUSH) and Push for Excellence. Rainbow/PUSH sub-divisions include: The Wall Street Project, International Trade Bureau, Rebuild America Commission, the Detroit Bureau and the Peachtree Project.
Jesse Jackson's freedom fighting empire has grown since 35 years ago when he headed Operation Breadbasket, a program of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr's Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) that focused on economic inclusion for African Americans. The current employee group in the 59-year-old's freedom fight each make an average of $42,145 annually. Rev. Jackson's $120,000 annual salary actually makes him third on the list of top civil rights leaders' salaries. The top guy is the NAACP's Kwesi Mfume at $230,000, followed by National Urban League President Hugh Price at $150,000. But Rev. Jackson also gets another $120,000 a year for hosting "Both Sides With Jesse Jackson" on CNN cable television. When you factor in his speaking engagements - managed via a for-profit entity called Jacqueline Inc. - Jackson's total estimated income is about $300,000.
Jackson's operations include voter education and registration programs; programs to involve more minorities in businesses; and social movement campaigns, that include marches and rallies to illustrate discrimination and housing complaints. The movement's principal revenue stream flows through the Citizenship Education Fund (CEF), a tax-exempt non-profit organization. According to 1999 tax reports, the CEF received $10 million to research voter registration issues and provide education scholarships. It receives contributions from companies such as SBC-Ameritech, AT&T, Viacom and Verizon.
The 5-year-old Rainbow/PUSH Coalition is a for-profit company that grew out of merging Operation PUSH - an offshoot of Operation Breadbasket - and the Rainbow Coalition. In 1999, it had nine offices and a $5.2 million operating budget. The Rainbow/PUSH Coalition is the parent organization for the Wall Street Project, International Trade Bureau, Peachtree Project, Detroit Bureau and the Rebuild America Commission. The Wall Street Project has been successful in attracting capital for black businesses, such as $1 billion in bonds from AT&T. People United to Save Humanity (which in effect is Jackson's church), received $1.5 million toward helping black business development. Push for Excellence received $199,000 for its motivational education programs. Two other non-profits that accept contributions are: the PUSH Foundation, an instrument for social service programs, and a Washington-based political action committee called Keep Hope Alive.
Has Jesse's rising tide lifted all boats? The results of Mr. Jackson's fight for social causes that have accrued for the overall Black Community are incalculable, however, his activities have lifted the fortunes of his family and siblings. In the 1980s, Jackson's half-brother, Noah Robinson, got ownership of a chain of McDonald's franchises from the Rev.'s social agitations. Jackson's sons, Yusef and Jonathan, operate a $30 million-a-year distributorship in Chicago, they bought from a company the civil rights leader fought in the 1980s, Anheuser-Busch .