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Korus Connect (ex-Access Ministries): charity review

Care:  At least some of the information about this charity is no longer current.  Use the ‘Search charity names’ box to see if there is a later review.  If the latest review has a message like this, you are welcome to make your case for an updated review via email to ted@businessbythebook.com.au.

This is a review[1] in the series ‘Organisations accredited by the CMA Standards Council’. The CMA Standards Council is ‘a ministry of Christian Ministry Advancement Ltd’[2], with a missionto help build faith and trust in Christian organisations, be they churches, charities, schools or otherwise, to enable them to achieve more effective outcomes[3]. Korus Connect’[4] is one of these accredited[5] organisations.

‘Korus Connect’ sent the following in response to a draft of this review[6]:

Thanks for sending us your update/review. We will look at the comments you have made in due course

and, as appropriate, will take them into account as we move forward.


‘Korus Connect’ is an organisation that seeks donations online. The charities’ regulator, the ACNC, in their article, Donating to Legitimate Charities, gives “some things to consider to help you make sure your donation is going where it is intended”:

  1. Check the organisation’s name.
  2. Ask for identification from anyone seeking a donation.
  3. Be careful of online requests for donations.
  4. No tax deduction doesn’t mean the charity is not a legitimate one.
  5. Find out more about how the charity says it uses donations.

Here’s the results for ‘Korus Connect’, with #5 supplemented by the essentials of the ACNC’s What should I consider when deciding which charity to support?[7].

1.  A search on the ACNC Register of charities for ‘Korus Connect’ brings up the charity The Council for Christian Education in Schools. This is because it has ‘Korus Connect’ as one of the two names by which it is also known[8].


2.  Nothing on the Register or the website indicates that Korus Connect uses door-to-door or street collectors.


3.  Korus Connect’s ‘Donate’ pagebegins with ‘https’ and…there is a closed padlock symbol next to the website’s URL in the address bar”. But there is no information about the security of your information on the ‘Donate’ page.


4.  The ABN record says that a tax deduction is available for a donation to Korus Connect. The ‘Donate’ page is consistent with this, showing only tax-deductible options.


5.  The use of your donations

Objects / Mission

With explaining the difference, they also have a ‘purpose’:



See here.

There is much overlap with what the local church should be like, and should be doing.


Sharing the Gospel? [9]




Korus Connect operates in Australia, per the ACNC Register, in Victoria and NSW. But not overseas.

This is the only reference to working in NSW I could find:


Giving options online

  • Tax-Deductible Gift towards developing community initiatives’
  • ‘Tax-Deductible Gift for Christian SRI programs’
  • ‘Tax-Deductible Gift towards School Chaplaincy initiatives’
  • ‘Tax-Deductible Gift on behalf of an SRI volunteer’

SRI’ is not explained.

Why would you be giving ‘on behalf of’ a Korus Connect volunteer?

Or, if it is meant to be ‘for a SRI volunteer’, why would you donate to a volunteer?


Donations revenue

The audited account of how donations are used is the Financial Report 2018 on the ACNC Register. Do you provide or give things to, receive things from, or have oversight of, or review, of Korus Connect? Perhaps you intend to donate or are one of the donors responsible for the ‘fundraising’ figure of $619K last year [Financial Report 2018]? Or one of their 798 staff [AIS 2018]. If so, can you ring Korus Connect’s office and request that they prepare financial statements that answer the question or questions you have about the charity? I very much doubt it. You are therefore ‘potentially interested in the information provided in general purpose reports[10].

You are therefore in the wrong place – I only have access to the published accounts of Korus Connect, and the directors, with the agreement of the auditor, have again said that you don’t exist:

So, the financial statements have not been drawn up to suit you.  Why, then, would you rely on them?

From the ACNC Register, these are the people responsible for this decision[11]:

Elida Brereton

James Hall

John Peberdy

Jorg Selhorst

Karina Gurban

Paul Turnbull

Peter Rawlings

Stephen Dickins

It’s nowhere mentioned, but John Peberdy (above) is the Chairperson of the organisation responsible for the Council that issued the seal of approval to Korus Connect.

The auditor is M A Cunningham, for Grant Thornton Audit Pty Ltd.

The Board is responsible to the membership. The only members are the directors:

Also from the constitution:

The fact that there is no membership to hold the directors accountable may explain why Korus Connect has chosen not to disclose the number of members.

Should you still choose to rely on the financial statements, you need to be aware that a major question mark continues to hang over them.

‘Local Chaplaincy Support Groups’

In the Financial Report 2018, there is a Note about ‘Local Chaplaincy Support Groups’. Nowhere, Financial Report 2018, Annual Report 2018, or the website, are these groups described.

It is likely that they operate the same way as those of Scripture Union Queensland:

The Note drops a bombshell:

That’s $2.42 million of net assets – assets less liabilities – that have been omitted from the accounts. And an unspecified amount of revenue and an unspecified amount of expenses. Without explanation or justification.

Net assets are therefore understated by 61%. With both the directors and the auditor saying that the accounts present a true and fair view. And this from a charity holding accreditation with the CMA Standards Council.

Korus Connect, please treat this as a complaint.

End of review.





  1. See here for the previous review.
  2. Link added by me.
  3. Emphasis in original.
  4. You may know them as Access Ministries. This is the message on that website:
  5. It achieved this by meeting the Council’s ‘Principles and Standards of Responsible Stewardship’, and therefore is able to be promoted as a ‘high quality organisation
  6. Number 8 of the CMA Standards Council’s ‘Nine Principles of Ministry Accountability‘ is ‘The organisation must be transparent and accountable to its stakeholders’. One of the nine ‘Standards’ that ‘fall under’ that principle is about openness and responsiveness to feedback:From Korus Connect’s ‘External Complaints Policy Summary’:
  7. Focus on the nature of the charity’s work, its beneficiaries and the impact the charity is having in the community.Is it clear what the charity is trying to achieve and how its activities work towards its objectives?Would you like to spend your money, or time if volunteering, to support these objectives?Is the charity being transparent about its activities? [A section in the article, Donating and Volunteering].
  8. Both the names have been registered as business names by the charity.
  9. ‘When Helping Hurts by Brian Fikkert and Steve Corbett says this about sharing the Gospel: ‘A host of contextual issues determine the best manner and the appropriate time to present the gospel verbally, particularly in militant Muslim or Hindu settings. But without such a presentation, it is not possible for people to be personally transformed in all their relationships, which is what poverty alleviation is all about [Kindle Locations 1262-1264, Moody Publishers].
  10. From Objective of General Purpose Financial Reporting (SAC2), www.aasb.gov.au http://tedsherwood.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/08/word-image-15.png
  11. The directors are not shown on the website.