Alphacrucis College Limited: mini charity review for donors

The charity's Annual Information Statement current at the time of this review has since been superseded.  Please contact me if you are facing a significant decision with this charity and an updated review would be of help.

Mini charity review of Alphacrucis College Limited (AC) as an organisation that seeks students and donations online. (Including the answers to the questions that the Australian charity regulator, the ACNC, suggests that you ask.)

(To see the situation last year, read this review.)

Are they responsive to feedback?

  • When sent a draft of this review, their Accountant sent this response:
    • I have confirmed that the College Council is satisfied with the adequacy of its existing audit procedures and of the current reporting obligations to the ACNC.   Although incomplete, your preliminary observations will be referred to the Council’s Finance and Audit Committee for consideration in future reviews and recommend action on any items that are considered relevant.

Is AC registered?

  • As a charity, yes.
  • Other registrations:
    • As a public company, a company limited by guarantee.
      • Not, as the ABN record (still) says, an ‘Other Incorporated Entity’.
    • AC operates in states that have a fundraising regime, and has an invitation to give on the internet. No fundraising licences are held[1].
    • It does not have the necessary provisions in its constitution to allow it to omit ‘Limited/Ltd’ on the end of its name. As it does on its website.
    • It can, however, us the name ‘Alphacrucis’, as this is a business name.
    • One of AC’s ‘partners’ is Macquarie Leadership College. No business name, or even an ABN. Perhaps it is, as the College website used to say, just a campus of AC?

What do they do?

  • The mission of the college is ‘Equipping Christian leaders to change the world.
    • Other bible colleges have a similar mission. Here’s how AC think that they are different.
    • Unstated though, is the fact that the education must be provided ‘consistent with the following objects of the College’, the first of these being
      • To establish, operate, maintain and promote, as part of the mission of the Church, the College in accordance with the beliefs, traditions, practices and legislation of the Church… [the constitution, 4.1.1]. ‘The Church’ is defined as the Pentecostal church Assemblies of God in Australia (now Australian Christian Churches).
        • The constitution says that the doctrines of the AC are those ‘expressed from time to time in Article 5 of the United Constitution’. Via the definitions this is the constitution belonging to the Assemblies of God in Australia National Conference. You can read it here.
          • Speaking in tongues is an essential [section 4.13].

Do they share the Gospel?

  • Yes – but not to those who haven’t heard it.

What impact are they having?

  • No information found.

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

  • The expenses are not classified to allow this calculation.

Can you get a tax deduction?

  • Yes (even though AC’s primary Entity Subtype (the ACNC Register) is ‘Advancing religion’.)
    • It also runs two funds with DGR status: Southern Cross Building Fund and Southern Cross Library.

Is their online giving secure?

  • It is not clear from the first page under ‘Donate’ whether the information sought will lead to an online giving page or not.

Is their reporting up-to-date?

  • Yes (two days before the deadline, six months after their year-end).
    • But if you are considering a large donation, I would ask for more up-to-date financial information – the accounts are for a year end that is now over 10 months ago.

Does their reporting comply with the regulator’s requirements?

  • AIS 2015: Not quite
    • The business name is missing.
    • Neither activities nor outcomes are given.
  • Financial Report 2015: Yes
    • Although the fact is not disclosed in the Financial Report, AC is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Assemblies of God in Australia.
      • Only the leaders of that movement can be members, and those members appoint seven of the nine elected members of the Council.
    • AC does not say why their subsidiaries, not shown in the accounts, and not mentioned until page 25, have not been consolidated.
      • It is because they are exempt under the applicable Australian Accounting Standard (paragraph 4 of AASB 10). They qualify, in part, because they are themselves a wholly-owned subsidiary of Assemblies of God in Australia, and that organisation makes its financial statements publicly available (see the link above).

What financial situation was shown by that Report?

  • Nothing warranting comment.

What did the auditor say about the last financial statements?

  • He gave a ‘clean’ opinion.
    • To take the right amount of comfort from a ‘clean opinion’, please read here and here.

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

  • Almost. The business name is (still) missing.

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

  • ‘The AC Scholarship Fund’
  • ‘AC’s James Wallace Memorial Library’
  • ‘AC general fund’
  • ‘University Vision fund’ [www.ac.edu.au/donate].
  • The two DGR funds (see ‘Can you get…?, above) are not mentioned.

Who are the people controlling the organisation?

  • The people shown here. (The same as those listed under ‘Responsible Persons’ on the ACNC Register.
    • ‘Jonathan MacPherson sits on fourteen (14) charity boards. The AC’s ‘Jonathan James MacPherson’ also on the boards of two other charities. Other not-for-profits, and of course businesses are no included on the Register.
    • The figures for Michael Murphy are thirteen (13) and two.
    • And for ‘Mark Burgess’ nine (9).
    • If the correct number is anywhere near these figures for these three directors, you could reasonably ask how they have the time to do justice to all these roles.

To whom are AC accountable?

  • Not claimed on the website, but AC is a member of Missions Interlink, an organisation that has standards with which it must comply[2].
  • AC is also accountable to the ACNC.

 

 

 

  1. The law in this area is not straightforward and advice varies, so check with the charity before drawing any conclusions.
  2. For one opinion on the strength of this accountability, see the section Activities in this review.

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