If Gospel for Asia wants to show change, then the board of directors should release the most recent audit…
In early March, Gospel for Asia’s board of directors (we still don’t know who they are) posted a statement to donors about how they are responding to GFA’s loss of ECFA accreditation and the resulting questions about their financial integrity.
In it, I find some good signs, if indeed the statements are accurate. GFA claims to have instituted new procedures to insure money is spent where it should be spent. However, on the down side, GFA claims that the allegations which led to the need for these changes are false. Shorter GFA: We never did anything wrong and we won’t do it again.
You can read the statement in full at the GFA website. Below, I intersperse my reactions throughout the statement.
Strengthening Our Commitment to You
Wills Point, Texas – March 10, 2016: A positive effect of a malicious internet attack—and a subsequent series of false accusations—against Gospel for Asia has been the overall review and fine tuning of our administrative and financial processes in order to insure we are above reproach.
My carefully documented posts since April 2015 have been vigorous but not malicious. I have all along the way asked for comment and information from Gospel for Asia. GFA stopped responding to me in May of last year. At one point, a rumor was spread that I was offered a chance by GFA leaders to go to Texas and see the operation. That was false but I indicated that I would be willing to do that. There has been no effort to set the record straight with me or any other Christian media source. Christianity Today, World, Christian Today, etc. have all tried but gotten no answers of substance.
GFA board of directors, I ask you, what allegations are false? You keep saying that publicly and privately but you don’t provide evidence. The ECFA report documents numerous problems, many of which came from this blog. If you are going to make an allegation like that, you should be prepared to back it up. I have provided documentation via publicly available documents, internal budgets, staff meeting disclosures, etc. On the other hand, you have answered with denials without evidence.
The fact that you continue to spin what is obvious to everyone is not a good sign that you are actually following through with all of the “fine tuning” you claim. If you can spin this, then there is no assurance that you are doing what you say you are doing. For years, GFA promised to be following ECFA guidelines. You were not doing that. For years, GFA promised to follow the guidelines of the Office of Personnel Management. You did not comply which resulted in the OPM evicting you from the Combined Federal Campaign. Did you forget about that? Donors are not going to forget. If you really want to fine tune, then stop blaming the messenger for false allegations when it is obvious that many of the allegations have already had consequences in the real world.
On February 12, the board of Gospel for Asia issued a statement regarding our relationship with ECFA. Over Gospel for Asia’s thirty-six-year history with ECFA, our ministry underwent a number of reviews, all of which we passed, but our most recent review (which ECFA initiated as a direct result of false accusations originating on the internet) cited several recommended areas of improvement. Gospel for Asia contested ECFA’s conclusions, but simultaneously values our relationship with ECFA, especially as a founding member of the organization.
Seems pretty clear in this statement that it is fine with you to accuse media of making false allegations but then to ingratiate yourself with ECFA. When I make a claim, you call it a “false allegation.” When ECFA includes the same information in their review and validates my work, you change your tune.
Have you forgotten about your former board member colleague, Gayle Erwin? Erwin was a part of the GFA board for 30 years. He pulled back the curtain and validated media reports. In fact, he provided even more detail about how the board was misled. Are his allegations false? If so, please explain.
Compliance with ECFA standards are a benefit—but not a requirement—for a charity to operate ethically and legally. Even so, Gospel for Asia is working to comply with recommendations made by ECFA.
Today, Gospel for Asia, is pleased to announce we as a ministry have implemented—or are well on our way to implementing—each of these recommendations for improvement.
Some of the changes being implemented include the following:
- While Gospel for Asia has always undergone an annual and independent financial audit from a reputable firm, the ministry has now contracted a new auditing firm that ECFA specifically recommended. This firm is well equipped to assist Gospel for Asia in navigating the increasingly complex demands presented by the varying international environments within which we operate.
- The aforementioned audit—which is underway—has identified additional safeguards that can be applied to GFA’s accounting and reporting processes. Till now, Gospel for Asia has fully implemented approximately forty percent of these recommendations, and is in the process of implementing all of the recommendations.
- In order to assess our overall operations and management, we have engaged a national non-profit expert to conduct an additional management review and in turn recommend changes to policies, procedures and practices throughout the entire organization.
- With the help of the auditors and experts referenced above, we have created—and are in the process of implementing—an improved agreement with our field partners. This will allow GFA to more efficiently deploy resources and better communicate regarding the use of all resources.
- We are in the process of adding more staff to key administrative and financial divisions in order to strengthen our overall operations.
We believe these changes will strengthen our work and insure that all of it is accomplished according to standards that are above reproach.
Gospel for Asia remains undaunted in its mission to bring the love of Christ to those who have yet to hear his name. We believe the best is yet to come and that now, more than ever before, is the time to share the love and message of Christ among the world’s least reached. These changes will allow us to be even more effective.
If you really are doing these things, then show some good faith to the public by releasing the now completed audit. If you want to demonstrate that you have turned over a new leaf, then release the audit. I know you have been asked for it and have denied the request. It is business as usual at GFA. You have it but you won’t release it.
GFA board members, you need to realize that donors don’t have to support GFA. There are other organizations which are more transparent and more focused. You must earn the trust of donors again. This spin job isn’t a good start. Just saying you are going to do things doesn’t cut it anymore. You must do something to demonstrate you have learned something.
For starters, release the most recent audit.