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The Grace Foundation: mini-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Care:  At least some of the information about this charity is no longer current.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.

Mini-charity review of The Grace Foundation (TGF) as part of the series ‘Christian charities who are[1] members of Missions Interlink. (Including the answers to the questions that the Australian charity regulator, the ACNC, suggests that you ask.)

Is TGR registered?

  • Yes, as a charity
  • Other registrations:
    • As a public company (a company limited by guarantee)[2].
    • There is another The Grace Foundation, a trust. Although it might appear that TGF is the trustee, they have told me, in the response to the draft of this review, that they aren’t.
    • Because they ‘do not appeal for funds in any way’[3], a fundraising licence is not required in Victoria, the only state in which they operate. And because they do not seek donations via the internet, the question of licences elsewhere doesn’t come up.

What do they do?

  • No website, so from the Annual Information Statement 2015 (AIS 2015) on the charity register:
    • Grant making and technical support to Christian social enterprise organisations in Australia and overseas focussed on the spread of solar lighting options in Tanzania.
  • But in the same Statement, they said the planned to change their activities to
    • Grant making to Christian mission organisations and to poverty alleviation overseas.
      • TGF confirmed, in the response to the draft of this review, that they made this change.

Do they share the Gospel?

  • Not necessarily directly, but, as above, definitely indirectly.
  • The first two purposes in the constitution are
    • 3.1 To bear witness to the grace of God in the gospel of Jesus Christ and to advance the Evangelical Christian faith in all parts of the world by such means being charitable as the Foundation may determine.
    • 3.2 to promote and support the preaching of the gospel of Jesus Christ and by any lawful means to make known the truths of the Christian religion.

What impact are they having?

  • TGF did not respond to the regulator’s request for outcomes in the AIS 2015. No other information found.
    • Ministry comment: ‘We are not wanting to make claims about definite impact out of a concern for faithfulness and humble best efforts and because we lack the resources to measure ours and others impact very accurately. We don’t need to convince anyone to give to us based on claims about outcomes. We would welcome a greater focus on evidence based outcomes from many of our supported organisations in their work to alleviate poverty.’

What do they spend outside the costs directly incurred in delivering the above impact, that is, administration?

  • 7%.

Can you get a tax deduction?

  • No.

Is their online giving secure?

  • NA. (No website, and no other internet request found.)

What choices do you have in how your donation is used?

  • NA. (No request for donations found.)

Is their reporting up-to-date?

  • Yes. (Six months after year end.)

Does their reporting comply with the regulator’s requirements?

  • Yes. (Because TGR is only ‘Small’, it doesn’t have to submit a Financial Report.)

What financial situation was shown in that Report?

  • Not in the Financial Report – none was required – but in the AIS 2015:
    • Cash receipts exceeded cash payments by (i.e. a deficit) by 18%, mostly due, it appears, from having paid out more in grants than was received in donations and bequests.
    • TGF, in their response to the draft review, confirmed that there is enough cash in the $4.17 m of net assets for this to be of no concern.
      • There is no breakup of either assets or liabilities – it is not required in a ‘Small’ charity’s AIS.
      • Can’t tell whether the trust is consolidated with TGF – but with no transactions last year and less than $1K in net assets, it matters little.

What did the auditor say about the last financial statements?

  • As a Financial Report is not required by the ACNC[4], you will have to ask TGF for a copy of their audited financial statements. (Their membership of Missions Interlink (see above) requires them 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].)
    • Ministry comment: ‘We discontinued our previous practice of being auditted in 2013/14 when our revenue fell below the threshhold for a small charity. We realise that technically we are in breach of the standards of Missions Interlink, however we joined Missions Interlink in order to support information sharing amongst evangelical Christian missionary agencies and benefit from their wisdom in conducting overseas projects. We do not feel the need to comply with the audit requirements as we do not solicit donations from the public or from the Christian church. This may lead to the situation where we should reconsider our membership if it in danger of misleading others.’

If a charity, is their information on the ACNC Register complete?

  • Almost. ‘Phone’, and ‘Website‘ are blank and TGR is, at least according to the ACNC, long overdue in selecting an Entity Subtype.
    • Ministry comment: ‘(deliberately so as it only leads to being contacted and asked for donations)’

Who are the people controlling the organisation?

To whom is TGR accountable?

  • They are, apart from the ACNC, accountable because of their membership of Missions Interlink.
    • For one opinion on the strength of that accountability, see the section Activities in this review.

Is it responsive to feedback?

  • When sent a draft of this review, they responded quickly and were very open. Their comments, where relevant, have been incorporated in the review.

 

 

  1. Although Burgmann Anglican School said that they made a donation to ‘the Grace Foundation’ TGF told me that ‘We don’t have any association with the Burgmann school, nor do we solicit or accept unsolicited donations from the public.’
  2. Click on the ABN in the ACNC Register entry.
  3. Ministry response to the draft review. (Plus see footnote 1.)
  4. I have never understood how your dollar to a ‘Small’ charity is less important than one given to a ‘Medium’ or ‘Large’ charity. I’m glad that Missions Interlink requires the same of all its members.
  5. Although not obvious from the LinkedIn profile, TGF confirmed that this is their Richard Beaumont.
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