Nungalinya College Indigenous Corporation: mini-charity review

Mini-charity review of Nungalinya College Indigenous Corporation (NC), an organisation that seeks donations online and is a member of Missions Interlink. (Including the answers to the questions that the Australian charity regulator, the ACNC, suggests that you ask.)

Is it responsive to feedback?

  • I sent them a draft of this review. Jude Long, the Principal responded with some suggested changes. One change was made, and the other information appears under ‘Ministry comment’ below.

Is NC registered?

  • As a charity, yes.
  • NC is an Indigenous Corporation.
  • It operates as Nungalinya College without having registered the name as a business name. (It has no business names.)
  • NC operates in Australia, per the ACNC Register, only in Northern Territory.
    • Ministry comment: ‘with a campus in Darwin but students travelling from all over Australia’.
    • But they also seek donations on the internet.
    • There is no licensing of fundraisers in the Northern Territory, but NC do not explain why they don’t hold a licence in the other states that require one.
  • The ACNC Register says that NC does not operate overseas.
    • Does their recent joining of Missions Interlink – ‘We exist to connect Australians with a passion for global mission’ – indicate that they intend to begin working overseas shortly?
    • Ministry comment: ‘Nungalinya College works exclusively with Indigenous Australian people and has no intention to work overseas.’

What do they do?

  • See here.
  • They are an instrument of the Northern Territory arm of three Australian denominations, the Catholic Church, the Anglican Church, and the Uniting Church.
  • There is an Annual Report.

Do they share the Gospel?[1]

  • The ‘Expression of Interest’ form asks for the prospective student’s denomination, so it appears the Gospel would only be shared as part of the training of those who would call themselves Christians.
    • Ministry comment: ‘The primary aim of NC is to train Indigenous Christians and empower them for leadership in their churches and communities.’

What impact are they having?

  • No information found.
    • Ministry comment: ‘Almost all the Indigenous church leaders in the Anglican and Uniting Churches in the Northern Territory have trained at Nungalinya College as well as many others from other states.’

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. (There is an expense ‘Administration expense’, but from the other items in the list, it is clear that it is but a small part of what it costs to deliver the teaching.)

Do they pay their board members?

  • The Rule Book (constitution) does not permit this.
  • There is insufficient disclosure of expenses to check for a payment.
    • Ministry comment: ‘and all Board members serve without payment’.

Can you get a tax deduction?

  • Yes, both to NC itself, and to its fund, Nungalinya College Library Fund.
    • The fund is not mentioned on the website.
      • Ministry comment: ‘The Library Fund still exists, but the need for support for the library is no longer relevant in the electronic age.’

Is their online giving secure?

  • Yes. The link takes you directly to the Commonwealth Bank secure server.

Is their reporting up-to-date?

  • Yes
    • 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 12 months ago.
      • Ministry comment: ‘The College operates on a calendar year rather than a financial year.’

Does their reporting comply with the regulator’s requirements?

  • General Report 2016: Almost – the figure for ‘Total grants’ is incorrect.
  • Financial Report 2016: Yes[2]

What financial situation was shown by that Report?

  • Surplus as a percentage of revenue increased markedly from one percent to 14%.
  • ‘Employee benefits expense’ is 53% of expenses (57% last year).
  • Both short-term and long-term financial structure are sound.

What did the auditor say about the last financial statements?

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

  • Yes

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

  • None
    • Ministry comment: ‘Donors can support specific projects in discussion with the College. Examples include –Building Fund and large or small capital projects, support for Media or Music Courses, supporting an Indigenous Assistant Teacher,’

Where were your (net) donations sent?

  • NA

Who are the people controlling the organisation?

  • Not shown on the website.
  • Per the ACNC Register (under ‘Responsible Persons’):
    • Bishop Gregory Anderson
    • John Bonney
    • Darryn Farrell
    • Father Malcom Fyfe
    • Rev RRonang Garrawurra
    • Rev Djawnydjawny Gondarra
    • Peter Jones
    • Ancilla Kurrupuwu
    • Rev Mildred Mamarika
    • Dominic McCormack
    • Dolly McGaughey
    • Ministry comment: ‘Better information is available via the ORIC site. ACNC is only updated annually.’
      • ‘Pirrwayingi Puruntatameri – Indigenous Chairperson
      • Bishop Gregory Anderson   Anglican Bishop of the NT
      • Mr Peter Jones General Secretary of the UCA Northern Synod
      • Father Malcom Fyfe Vicar General of the Catholic Diocese of Darwin
      • Rev Darryn Farrell – Indigenous Anglican Board Member
      • Rev Mildred Mamarika – Indigenous Anglican Board Member
      • Ms Dolly McGoughey – Indigenous Catholic Board Member
      • Vacant – Indigenous Catholic Board Member
      • Mr Harry Garrawurra – UCA Indigenous Board Member
      • Mr Djawut Gondarra – UCA Indigenous Board Member
      • Dominic McCormack – legal advisor (non-voting)
      • John Bonney – educational advisor (non-voting)’
        • Reviewer’s response: The ACNC Register is updated from ORIC information monthly[3]; the two non-voting members are not ‘responsible persons’.
  • There are 30 charities with a Peter Jones as a board member. But the register only covers charities, not all not-for-profits, and of course doesn’t include for-profit organisations. Therefore, if after eliminating the charities for which NC’s Peter Jones is not a director, you are left with the total being more than a handful, it would be legitimate for you to question whether his ability to discharge his fiduciary responsibilities is threatened.
    • Ministry comment: ‘Peter Jones as General Secretary of the UCA Northern Synod has a large role in working with the various organisations of the Uniting Church of which Nungalinya College is one. He is a long standing (sic) director and also a member of the Executive.’
  • The board is responsible to the members, all 10 of whom are members at the behest of one of the three controlling denominations.

To whom is NC accountable?

  • Although not claimed, NC is now a member of Missions Interlink:
    • Ministry comment: ‘ANZATS and the South Pacific Association of Evangelical Theological College’
      • Reviewer’s response:
        • ANZATS has no accountability regime. NC is an Associate Member, not a full member.
        • NC is not listed as a ‘member college’ of SPAEC (not SPAETC). It has no accountability regime for members.
    • For one opinion on the strength of the Missions Interlink accountability, see the section Activities in this review.
  • NC is accountable to both the ACNC, and, as an Indigenous Corporate, to ORIC.

 

 

  1. Good living and social concern are important [to the cause of evangelism], but they are not uniquely Christian graces…I’ve met a lot of fine Hindus, Muslims and atheists. Just living the life is not going to bring someone to Christ. There is much more to it than that. We must help people, certainly, but we must also share with them why we are motivated to do so. We must stand against injustice, poverty and need, but we must at the same time point to the One who brings justice and who can meet the deepest need. Until they know our reasons, how can they come to know our Lord? [Dan Armstrong, the Fifth Gospel: The Gospel According to You, Anzea Books, pp. 13-14.
  2. Contact me if you interested in a list of things that I thought were wrong or that I found confusing.
  3. Private email, January 2018.

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