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Stars that don’t transfer to Australia: the case of Vision Christian Radio and Leading the Way

Care:  At least some of the information about this charity is no longer current.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.

Yesterday, Vision Christian Radio, an arm of the charity United Christian Broadcasters Australia Limited[1], published a short piece entitled ‘Ministry Recognised for Financial Stewardship’. This was a precis of a US article three days earlier, ‘Leading the Way Awarded Coveted 4-Star Rating from Charity Navigator’.

The writer should have been more discerning: donors in Australia don’t give to this organisation, but to an Australian charity, Leading the Way With Dr. Michael Youssef Australia Limited. Even without the evidence of the transparency and accountability of the Australian charity, the recognition by Charity Navigator is of little relevance to Australian donors.

But the evidence was available. And it doesn’t look good for a top rating from anybody. The Australian charity

  • Controls another Australian charity[2], but does not produce consolidated financial statements.
  • Without explanation, offers a tax deduction even though its ABN record says that it is not a Deductible Gift Recipient.
  • Discloses 38% of the expenses as ‘Other Expenses’.
  • Michael Youssef himself, his wife, the Regional Director for Australia, and somebody who has been on the board for 22 years make up four of the six directors.
  • Does not have a website (or a page or pages on the parent organisation’s website).
  • Did not respond to me when I wrote to them.
  • Does not have the name under which it trades registered.
  • The Financial Report 2018 for its subsidiary is still not available on the charities Register.

Make sure the stars line up – check the charities Register before you donate.