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Mini charity review of Genesis Counselling And Training Service Inc (GCT) an organisation that has an online invitation to donate, and is exempt from Australian income tax via its membership of Missions Interlink. (Including the answers to the questions that the Australian charity regulator, the ACNC, suggests that you ask.)
For the previous review, see here.
Is it responsive to feedback?
- I sent them a draft of this review on 24 August 2017. Like last year, they…did not respond.
Is GCT registered?
- As a charity, yes.
- GCT is a WA incorporated association (No. A0821955W).
- It uses the name Genesis Aid on its website (and probably elsewhere), but to continue to use it legally it needs to register it as a business name.
- GCT operates, per the ACNC Register, only in Western Australia. It does not have a fundraising licence there, or any of the other five states where one might be required.
What do they do?
- From the Description of charity’s activities and outcomes in the AIS 2016:
- Fund-raising activities allowed our grants to be increased for all beneficiaries of Genesis – mainly widows, widowers and orphans, allowing us to expand our building programme for more rural schools. Currently 2,500 children are educated in schools we have built in Kenya and Uganda. Community Development programmes include teaching in income generation and training and literacy and numeracy classes for impoverished rural village dwellers.
- There is a list of current projects at the bottom of the home page, and links to a description of each at the top (some of which are blank).
- ‘Operates in (Countries)’ on the ACNC Register lists Indonesia, Kenya, Rwanda, and Uganda. The footer on the website omits Rwanda.
- No, this is not part of what they do:
- From the constitution, the aim of GCT is
- …to become a vital and effective witness throughout the world for the Lord Jesus Christ by caring for, counselling, rehabilitating and where necessary referring on, without discrimination, those experiencing poverty, sickness, suffering, destitution, misfortune and distress.
- There is no mention of the Gospel, Jesus, or Christ on the website.
- A ‘Christian organisation’ yet not one of the four is Advancing religion.
- They give a tax deduction.
- From the constitution, the aim of GCT is
What impact are they having?
- Nothing found.
What do they spend outside the costs directly incurred in delivering the above impact, that is, on administration?
- If we define ‘direct’ as the money sent overseas – and therefore ignore the fact that some of this would not have not been direct to the beneficiaries – then ‘administration’ is 6% of expenses.
Do they pay their directors?
- It appears not.
Can you get a tax deduction?
Is their online giving secure?
- NA – online giving is not offered.
Where were the (net) donations sent?
- For the $244K total, there is a list of 125 recipients in Note 6 to the accounts. How these relate to the projects – a lot less in number – is not disclosed.
- One recipient, I Afrika, Dagoretti, accounts for 43% of the total.
- The next highest donation is 17% of the total: Kibagare Academy.
- No other recipient is over 8% of the total.
- There is no audit to give at least some comfort that the money reached the stated recipients.
What choices do you have in how your donation is used?
- None are explicit on the website, but presumably you can specify any of the projects – or any of the 125 recipients in 2016.
Is their reporting up-to-date?
- Yes (six+ months after year end, two months earlier than last year).
Does their reporting comply with the regulator’s requirements?
- AIS 2016: Not quite – no outcomes are reported.
- Financial Report 2016: Yes. But only because ACNC didn’t require a Report.
- Although not required to submit a financial report to the ACNC (because of its size), GCT chose to submit one voluntarily. The ACNC does require such a submission to comply with its requirements.
- But as a member of Missions Interlink, GCT is required to ‘have available for its members and supporters a clear and appropriate financial statement which has been approved by its auditor [Standards Statement, 4.1].
- GCT’s Report is grossly deficient: there is no audit report, and if ‘clear and appropriate’ has any reference to professional standards, the Report, like last year, is a long way short:
- Two of the four required financial statements are missing.
- The Profit & Loss Statement
- Does not disclose ‘Other comprehensive income’
- Deducts tax, called ‘Refundable Credits’ from ‘Operating profit (loss) before income tax’ even though GCT is exempt from tax.
- Makes a transfer from Retained profits to create a liability, Future Sponsorship Account.
- This is a contravention of basic bookkeeping.
- Liabilities are therefore overstated by $382K, and reserves understated by the same amount.
- In the Notes to and forming part of the Financial Statements
- The all-important Note 1 has very little of what is required, and most of that is incorrect.
- Nearly all the other required Notes are missing.
- The committee members, in putting their name to the accounts, in the (undated) Statement by Committee Members, say that
- anybody needing information about GCT can request reports tailored to their needs. Did the committee realise what they were saying?
- No Accounting Standards other than AASB 1025 apply to GCT. This is not true.
- Statements of Accounting Concepts are not applicable to GCT. This is not true.
- ‘The accounts of the Association have been properly prepared by a competent person’.
- The Report includes an (unsigned) Accountant’s Report (not an audit) by the tax agent who prepared the statements.
- GCT reports that they have a Board of Directors in both Kenya and Uganda. Nowhere is the relationship between GCT and these two organisations explained.
What financial situation was shown in that Report?
- Given the issues above, no comment.
What did the auditor say about the last financial statements?
- No audit report is available.
If a charity, is their page on the ACNC Register complete?
- Genesis Aid is used but not registered.
- ‘Phone’ and ‘Website’ are blank, but neither are compulsory.
Who are the people controlling the organisation?
- GCT says on its website that it is these people.
- But the list on the ACNC Register (under ‘Responsible Persons’) doesn’t include Victor Folarin
- Cheryl is still duplicated. The ACNC system allows a name to appear more than once, but do they want holders of two positions to be in twice?
- It would be wise to consider the effect of having two couples on this committee.
To whom is GCT accountable?
- Not mentioned on the website, but GCT is a member of Missions Interlink.
- For one opinion of the strength of that accountability, see the section Activities in this review.
- Also accountable to the ACNC.
- And to the Western Australian regulator of incorporated associations.
- The law in this area is not straightforward – is an internet invitation ‘fundraising’ for instance? – and advice varies, so check with the charity before drawing any conclusions. ↑
- “Good living and social concern are important [to the cause of evangelism], but they are not uniquely Christian graces…I’ve met a lot of fine Hindus, Muslims and atheists. Just living the life is not going to bring someone to Christ. There is much more to it than that. We must help people, certainly, but we must also share with them why we are motivated to do so. We must stand against injustice, poverty and need, but we must at the same time point to the One who brings justice and who can meet the deepest need. Until they know our reasons, how can they come to know our Lord?” [Dan Armstrong, the Fifth Gospel: The Gospel According to You, Anzea Books, pp. 13-14. ↑ ↑