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YWAM Melbourne

This is an updated review[1] of ‘YWAM Melbourne’, a registered charity.

The website shows that they have and seek students, staff, volunteers, and donors.

If this is you, then you need to know that[2]

  1. this YWAM, at least at the time of the last annual accounts[3], 25 September 2020, was in a very risky financial situation,
  2. in those accounts the members of the Committee (see below) removed a $12 million property, 99% of their assets, and showed it as a donation of $1.30 million,
  3. and had many other instances of not representing the finances either truthfully or fairly in those accounts, and
  4. the Committee members, by altering a declaration under the ACNC Act, give every appearance that they were trying to avoid saying that their organisation was no longer a going concern (that is, an organisation that was unable to pay its debts as and when they fell due).

1.  The financial situation

  • YWAM Melbourne owed $339K more than it had in assets (negative equity).
  • If that was your situation it would mean selling up everything would leave you still owing people money.
  • The negative equity didn’t come about from investing in something that will increase revenue, so there’s nothing redeeming about the situation.
  • The $339K shortfall is even more concerning because the charity only took in $283K in 2020. And they predict this figure to fall rather than rise.
  • Even without the donation they made to another YWAM (see below), the charity made a loss in 2020. And expects a bigger one in 2021.
  • They recorded a loss of $1.33 million when it should have been recorded as $10.84 million.
  • They had to borrow $47K to cover operating expenses.
  • Compounding the bleak picture above is the fact that it owes $358K to a bank on a facility (amount undisclosed) that expires in six months (November 2021), yet has only $50K in assets.

2.  The $12 million donation

  • YWAM Melbourne had a property (unidentified) valued, by the Committee, at $12 million[4]:

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  • It transferred this property to another YWAM:

  • But it recorded $1.30 million, not $12 million, as the value of the donation, understating the expense by $10.70 million.

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3.  Truthfully and fairly

  • The directors do not say why the charity gave away a property worth $12 million to YWAM Durham.
  • The directors do not explain why this YWAM, YWAM Durham, along with another YWAM (YWAM Townsville Assoc. Inc), are willing to provide funds to YWAM Melbourne to keep it from liquidation (see below).
  • YWAM Melbourne owes $358K to an (unidentified) bank that is secured by a mortgage on property that it no longer owns. The directors do not explain why YWAM Durham, the new owner of the property, a charity with no identified connection with YWAM Melbourne other than it is also part of the YWAM movement, would want to encumber itself this way. They also do not comment on the security of this arrangment.
  • The directors do not explain the dramatic change in the size and composition of payables[5]:

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  • If we didn’t know better, this picture suggests that the charity has had a major change in the nature of its operations.
  • YWAM Melbourne have recorded their activities, on ACNC Register, as “*The provision of formal and informal training opportunities * The provision of feeding programs to various groups including international students impacted by COVID-19”. But their expenses[6] do not match this – for instance, 65-69% of their normal expenses are for ‘Occupancy and accommodation’.
  • The value of ‘property, plant and equipment’ was zero at year end. The directors don’t explain how they can operate without such assets. (Does it have something to do with the dramatic change in payables (see above))?
  • It had a $45K asset, ‘Leasehold improvements’, that went to zero without explanation[7].
  • Amounts owed (to unidentified ‘related parties’) are either incorrectly described or incorrectly classified.

4.  Their declaration

  • The directors submitted, as they were required to do, a Responsible Persons’ Declaration. One of the two things that they are required to say is this:
  • This is about whether the directors believe that the charity is a going concern. Note that there are only two possibilities: ‘there are reasonable grounds’ or ‘there are not reasonable grounds’ for the belief.
  • YWAM Melbourne, however, chose to add a qualification to their positive declaration:

This is like saying that I won’t go bankrupt so long as the people to whom I owe money don’t chase me for it!

  • Elsewhere in the Report, we are told that the charity’s confidence in its ability to pay its bills as they fall due is based on promises from two other YWAMs:

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  • YWAM Durham is a recently registered charity, of unclear purpose, that made a loss in its first year, and has a negative equity itself. Not of any comfort to YWAM Melbourne’s creditors.
  • YWAM Townsville Assoc. Inc submitted a Financial Report that was grossly deficient and employed an auditor who gave them a ‘clean’ opinion on it. This Report shows equity of $74K (down from last year) in $1.21 million of assets. And they reduced their equity by making an unexplained $300K ‘Deed of commitment’. Again, not at all encouraging to YWAM Melbourne creditors.

Who was responsible?

From the declaration above, we know that Jarrod Hoover and Ken Mulligan were on the Committee when the accounts were signed. Although we don’t know the names of the others, knowing YWAMs, the Committee was probably the same as it is now:

Fay Collins (works at YWAM Melbourne)

Hannah Peart (works at YWAM Medical Ships)

Jarod Hoover (works at YWAM Townsville Assoc. Inc)

Rebekah Hoover (works at 99.Live FM, a YWAM charity)

Jennifer Rentsch (works at YWAM Townsville)

Kenneth Mulligan (works at YWAM Medical Ships)

Nicholas Matthews (works at YWAM Melbourne)

Olivia Lula (Island Breeze Production Melbourne (a YWAM ‘ministry’)

Stephen Aherne (a director of Island Breeze Australia Ltd (a YWAM)

Accountability

The directors are responsible to the membership of the association. However, this appears to be restricted to “Christians desiring to serve our Lord Jesus under the guidance and direction of the Association[8], that is, YWAMers.

The constitution says that there is a ‘Australian Fellowship of Mission Centres (Youth With A Mission Australia) (and provides that it should be involved in some decisions), but no such organisation could be found[9].

YWAM Melbourne is an organisation that is part of a movement where

  • periodically there are credible reports of abuse of students (here, plus just google ‘ywam abuse’)
  • as shown above, and as documented by Ministry Watch, there is a lack of accountability
  • members are unwilling to submit to independent scrutiny of their information.

Charity response

YWAM Melbourne doesn’t invite feedback.

We sent them a draft of this review. They…did not respond.

 

 

 

  1. See here for the previous review (in 2016).
  2. From the Financial Report 2020, ACNC Register.
  3. Financial Report 2020, ACNC Register.
  4. Information is from the Financial Report 2020.
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  6. Statement of Profit or Loss and Other Comprehensive Income, Financial Report 2020.
  7. Clause 6 (1), the constitution, ACNC Register.
  8. None is mentioned here for instance.
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