Eastern College Australia Incorporated: mini-charity review

The charity's Annual Information Statement current at the time of this review has since been superseded.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 Eastern College Australia Incorporated (EC) as an organisation that invites you, on its website, to donate to it.

  • You may know EC as Tabor College Victoria. It changed its name in August 2015.

Is it responsive to feedback?

  • When sent a draft of this review, on 13 February, they…did not respond.

Is EC registered?

  • As a charity, yes.
  • Other registrations:
    • As a Victorian incorporated association (VIC A0017676J).
      • On its website and Facebook, it uses its name without ‘Inc/Incorporated’ at the end. This is arguably a contravention of section 23 of its enabling legislation.
    • Someone else holds the business name ‘Eastern College’[1].
    • It operates, per the ACNC Register, in all states. It is exempt from having to register for fundraising in its home state, but has no licences in the other six states that have a licensing regime[2].

What does EC do?

  • The header and body of the home page assumes that we know what they do, but from a link in the footer:
    • EASTERN COLLEGE AUSTRALIA is a Christian Higher Education Provider that exists to equip individuals through provision of accredited teaching, training and research that contribute to the transformation of church (local and global), society and marketplace through the lives of its graduates.
  • More specifically, from their constitution:
    • The Association believes that the Bible is the written word of God and the standard by which the validity and philosophy of all subjects taught must be evaluated. The approach to interpreting scripture adopted by the Association may be generally described as evangelical, charismatic and Pentecostal.

Do they share the Gospel?

  • NA – students would have already heard it.

What impact are they having?

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; for instance, there is only one figure for employee benefits expense.

Can you get a tax deduction?

  • Yes

Is their online giving secure?

  • ‘When you press “Submit Form” you will be taken to a secure area where you can safely enter your credit card information.’ Provided by NAB, so should be secure. (Still in EC’s old name though.)

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

  • None

Is their reporting up-to-date?

  • Yes (four months after year end).

Does their reporting comply with the regulator’s requirements?

  • AIS 2015: Except for specifying the wrong type of financial statements, yes.
  • Financial Report 2015: Only if you
    • agree that it is reasonable for the directors to conclude that all the users of its accounts, both present and prospective, can command EC to prepare accounts to suit them.
    • Also
      • a related parties’ Note, suggested by the ACNC, is not included.
      • property, plant and equipment is carried at cost, yet there an Asset Revaluation Reserve.
      • ‘Other expenses from ordinary activities’, over 9% of expenses, is perhaps a little large to have no breakup.

What financial situation was shown in that Report?

  • The surplus increased slightly, but is still less than 1% of revenue.
  • ‘Employee benefits expense’ is 56% of expenses.
  • ‘Trade and other receivables’ have increased from less than 1% of assets to 8%. (No explanation is given).
  • Current assets are 1.3 times current liabilities.
  • Longer term financial structure is sound.

What did the auditor say about the last financial statements?

  • He gave a ‘clean’ opinion[3].

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

  • Yes

Who are the people controlling the organisation?

  • Those shown here.
  • Or, per the ACNC Register, those nine, plus Michael Wong, and Glenn Ward instead of David Ward:
    • Geoffrey Cox
    • Joanna Cruickshank
    • Jame Lewis
    • Cheryl McCallum
    • Timothy Meyers
    • Gregory Restall
      • It is this Greg Restall?
    • David Rietveld
    • David Ward
      • There are 17 directorships recorded for this name.  The ACNC Register has only charities, so if, after eliminating the entries in the Register that don’t belong to EC’s David Ward, you are left with his total being more than a handful, it would be legitimate for you to question whether his ability to discharge his fiduciary responsibilities is threatened.
    • Michael Wong
    • Rosemary Wong
  • Four of these people are also on the board of Melbourne School of Theology. Something to do with this (undated) announcement of a ‘partnership’ with MST?

To whom is EC accountable?

  • To Missions Interlink, because it’s an Associate member.
  • EC is also accountable to the ACNC, and the Victorian associations regulator.

 

 

  1. It is a little surprising that the authorities allowed the registration of this name, six months after ECA had changed its name to ECA.
  2. The law in this area is not straightforward – is an internet invitation ‘fundraising’ for instance? – and advice varies, so check with the charity before drawing any conclusions.
  3. To take the right amount of comfort from a ‘clean opinion’, please read here and here.