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Wednesday, 1 August 2012

Global Shame or a Good Name? (Aug-Sept 2012)

Calling Youth With A Mission to Integrity and Action
Something is gravely wrong.
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Over 100 people have signed the Shine the Light-Together petition.
This petition, based on the PETRA Statement 2012, publically calls YWAM
to take action regarding the Nordic Capital Investment fraud (NCI)
with integrity, transparency, and accountability.
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Will those associated with YWAM join together and act resolutely now,
even if it is "inconvenient" or results in negative consequences
such as harassment, discrediting, or dismissal?
Who will help YWAM make it right?
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Overview. “NCI is an affinity-based fraud and YWAM is the main organization affected. It is seriously affected. In July 1995 Mr. Westergard presented NCI at YWAM Le Rucher during an international YWAM conference. Major YWAM leaders invested since at least 1996 and YWAM projects received NCI-related money. Senior leaders have consistently stated that senior/international leaders were not aware of NCI and that one of the major YWAM leaders actively involved in NCI (administering contracts, receiving NCI funds, etc) and YWAM Le Rucher in France were not properly part of YWAM. Hence, it is argued, YWAM has no responsibility. These assertions are hard to understand in view of the court and other documents. YWAM leaders (e.g., IFMLT, GLF, MMI), YWAM members, and YWAM donors internationally are urged to get informed and together call for an internal and an independent review of how YWAM has been affected and how it has responded, and to persevere until such reviews are done. Will they do this?” (Excerpt from the PETRA People Statement 2012: A Call for Integrity and Action)
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In view of the Shine the Light-Together petition and the PETRA People Statement 2012, this Update reaffirms the call for YWAM members, leaders and all those associated with YWAM to set up professional Internal and independent reviews regarding how it has been affected by NCI. It is not just the millions of dollars/euros in stolen money that has devastated victims and brought reproach on the Christian community but also the lack of response to it inlcuding the unwillinness to disclose adn help. Will YWAM members, leaders, and those associated with YWAM now take action and demonstrate the values that YWAM publicly states guide its work: “openness, honesty, integrity, transparency, and accountability” (The Good Name Pledge)? Who will hold the leaders and organisation accountable?
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This Update also builds upon the many letters asking YWAM leaders for assistance and investigation regarding NCI, including the letter sent to over 100 international YWAM leaders on 5 June 2011. The materials below provide an enormous amount of well-researched information and government documentation that simply cannot be ignored or dismissed. Many of these materials are now on the PETRA People website. The materials are organised into five sections and also includes comments by YWAM senior leaders and others about NCI/YWAM.
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1. Additional public requests to YWAM for transparency/accountability
2. NCI investors and YWAM
3. Connections between Le Rucher/Mercy Ministries and YWAM
4. NCI money flows and YWAM
5. Organisational integrity and responsibility
(a link to excerpts and quotes for good practice, to support YWAM leaders)
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What can all those associated with YWAM do? Here are four suggestions to keep in mind as you review and respond to these materials:
  • 1. Get accurately informed. Prioritise time to review the information in this Update carefully and also on the PETRA People website, especially the  NCI Summary Information and Suggestions: Going Forward.
  • 2. Consider your moral and Biblical response. Pray and discuss with others, especially with independent and informed people. Courage is needed to really consider/act on one’s ethical responsibility and to not simply go along with some persons' explanations.
  • 3. Call for and set up an independent review with others. Look closely at the PETRA Statement 2012: An International Call for Integrity and Action.
  • 4. Share this Update with colleagues and ask for prayers and support. Remember you are not alone—many other organisations have also had to deal with various types of corruption, mistakes, and serious leadership matters.
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1. Additional public requests to YWAM for transparency/accountability
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“The results of my enquiries continue to confirm that there is no Youth With a Mission link to this case, and we have heard nothing from any authorities investigating it. In light of that, I see no point in our meeting, as it would only be a waste of your valuable time and resources. Lynn Green (International Chair of YWAM), responding to the requests to meet by Mr. Cees Schaap, a legal advisor on behalf of NCI victims (15 October 2008)
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“In most nations where we work, there are legal entities that operate independently and within the legal structure of the relevant nation. It light of this and since the [Global Leadership Team, GLT] is not a formal legal entity, you will need to contact directly each legal entity with which you have questions or concerns.” Lynn Green, responding to the request of 17 NCI victims for YWAM to assist and investigate (August 2009) 
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“Over the past two years several requests have been addressed to Y Team 3 to meet with people who have been affected, and conduct an independent professional review. These requests have been declined and it has been asserted that there is no link with Y to this case. We are now kindly requesting that you, as Y leaders, encourage senior leaders/GLT to set up an independent review/investigation into the NCI money flows in relation to Y. It is important of course for such an investigation to be carried out by unbiased professionals. This positive action will help demonstrate transparency and accountability and also help to safeguard Y's reputation and work around the world. Letter to YWAM leaders around the world, August 2009, written by 17 NCI victims (this request again for an independent review along with a request again to meet, were denied)
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 “In a mature group of believers, there is freedom to speak the truth to one another…. If others fear my response to any correction they might bring, then I am unlikely to get the help I need….What can we do in our YYWAM team or center so that we will all feel freer to “speak the truth in LOVE?””  Lynn Green, Becoming Teachable (August 2006)
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YWAM senior leaders and international leaders have not set up any credible review of how YWAM has been affected by NCI and related matters. This consistent non-response in and of itself is also an important part of a review/investigation. The materials in this Update can help. They are part of the many compelling documents to accurately inform both the public and the people associated with YWAM. The materials could be an important  part of the requested internal and independent reviews to establish the facts, pursue justice, and help YWAM’s integrity and reputation. Too often in similar situations fear, indifference, spin, half-truths, public image, self-protection, and maintaining revenue streams can prevail. Will YWAM members, donors, partners, and associates do something—now? Are they willing to resolutely speak the truth in love, even if there are risks?
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**Click here: Shine the Light-Together petition and PETRA People Statement 2012 including over 100 signatories calling YWAM and other organizations to transparency, accountability and to take action (including current and former YWAM leaders).
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**Click here: PETRA People weblog for updates and analyses of the NCI case and requests for assistance.
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**Click here: Salt and Light: Christians’ Role in Combating Corruption (Lausanne Global Conversation, 31 October 2011). This courageous article provides the broader context as to why dealing with frauds and cover ups such as NCI is so crucial, setting forth the need for a resolute, global effort for Evangelical Christians to acknowledge and confront corruption—within its own community.
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**Going further:
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2. NCI investors and YWAM
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“It is most regrettable that you have lost investment funds and I am sure that fact has produced hardship.  I was completely unaware of that investment scheme, neither did our other international leaders know.” Lynn Green responding to the letter by Hollis Lewis Jr., JD on behalf of 22 members of the Lewis/O’Donnell families (April 2008
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“We have looked into the activities of NCI in relation to YWAM and are confident that YWAM has had no connection with NCI…I don’t know of a single senior YWAM leader who was even aware of this investment plan until some staff members expressed pastoral issues [2007]as a result of capital they invested and feared was lost….” Lynn Green, responding to 17 NCI victims asking YWAM to assist/investigate (August 2009) 
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“I didn’t know any leaders who knew anything about it [NCI]. They were doing this as private individuals in a business outside of any ministry.” Lynn Green quote, Fleecing the Faithful—Again: Former YWAM Leader Defrauds Many, Christianity Today, June 2011
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So is the story changing: from international leaders not knowing about NCI (April 2008) to it just being Lynn Green not knowing any leaders (August 2009)? There were obviously so many YWAM leaders who knew a lot about NCI since the mid-1990s. The list below of YWAM NCI investors include senior and major leaders—regional, base, and global ministry directors—as well as leaders/staff in Mercy Ministries, Frontier Missions, University of the Nations, etc. The source is primarily from the Swedish EBM/court documents partial list of investors (Bilaga C pages 51ff). Note also that the list below does not include many of the family members, spouses, relatives, and friends of YWAM-related people who invested; nor does it include the many YWAMers and YWAM-related people that were approached to invest; nor does it include the specific YWAM ministries and projects that received or may have received NCI-related money. The list is thus partial and is only descriptive—it is not meant to implicate any person or persons. When reviewing this list, keep in mind the various comments from senior YWAM leaders (such as the examples above) about YWAM “senior and international” leaders not knowing about NCI (even though, to give just one example, NCI was promoted at a YWAM Mercy Ministries leaders’ conference at YWAM Le Rucher in July 1995, with some 50 YWAMers in attendance and some later investing, including Steve Goode, Director YWAM Mercy Ministries International).
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**Peter Ilyan, Director of YWAM North America
**Steve Goode, Director YWAM Mercy Ministries International
**Dr. Bruce Thompson, Dean Emeritus, YWAM UN College of Counselling and Health Care
**Erik Spruyt, Director, YWAM Mercy Ministries Europe Middle East and Africa
**Brian and Anne Sloan, Captain, Director of YWAM Marine Reach Europe
**Daniel Stefaan Hugo, Director YWAM Worcester, RSA
**Joel and Karine Kohli, Switzerland, leader in YWAM Frontier Missions
** Kelly and Michele O'Donnell, France, former leader in YWAM Frontier Missions
**Dr Mike Jones, LR associate staff for many years; on staff at YWAM Nuneaton, UK
**Heinz and Jolinetete Sutter, President YWAM Swiss Romande; Board for Mercy Ships Switzerland 
**Paul Marsh, YWAM Lausanne and YWAM Centre for Family Ministries, Switzerland
**Jonathan and Helen Tame, Relief and Development in YWAM Lausanne and also UK
**David Swann, Mercy Ministries RSA
**Rene Schudel, Le Rucher, France
**John and Donna Briggs, YWAM Mission Builders International, USA 
**Japp and Arlette Van den Top, Switzerland, former workers in Africa
**Sue Pratt, YWAM UK
**Jerry and Stephanie Goins, YWAM UK, USA
 **Lonnie and Sally Inglet (according to a document sent by a lawyer to the Swedish EBM, Lonnie Inglet was introduced to NCI by Westergard and subsequently introduced about 12 people to NCI)
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**Click here:  Main list of many investors and money amounts (Swedish EBM/court)
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**Click below for some of the Swedish EBM/ court documents related to the NCI accounts for:
--Steve and Marie Goode (Mercy Ministries International Director) and YWAM Mercy Ministries in Asia (go to the attachments at the bottom of the page that opens and then download the zipped file, “EBMdocssentApril2011relatedtoY-Asia.zip”)
--Joel and Karine Kohli (Peoples of the Earth; YWAM International Frontier Missions Leadership Team) (note: this information does not include their personal investment in NCI but only Joel’s agreements with NCI in order to benefit their NGO, Peoples of the Earth; Karine is on YWAM’s International Frontier Mission Leadership Team; Joel has also provided accounting services for Le Rucher, YWAM centres In Switzerland, and Mercy Ships Switzerland—again note that this is not implying any wrongdoing yet is another of the many examples of what needs to be investigated openly and professionally).
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**Click here: Kelly and Michele O’Donnell’s Statement about NCI (More details: Kelly was on the YWAM Frontier Mission Leadership Team and both were in  YWAM’s  Member Care Network. They were among many people asking YWAM for an independent investigation and the opportunity to meet with senior YWAM leaders when the NCI fraud went public in 2007 (all denied). Kelly was dismissed from YWAM in December 2007  (shortly after the showing of the NCI documentary/exposee on Dutch TV programme called Opgelicht) for not going through a YWAM-organised reconciliation process with a major NCI promoter--in spite of many protests within and outside of YWAM and clear professional advice from many not to do so. No appeal was allowed as per the organisation's guidelines but rather a new/different approach was used in which one of the three senior leaders (Iain Muir) reviewed the matter to see if an appeal was warranted.  Kelly and Michele were not able to meet with or speak with the reviewer and everything had to be done by email. Kelly was further discredited publicly when the three senior leaders (John Dawson, Lynn Green, Iain Muir) sent an email on 12 May 2008 to YWAM leaders around the world stating that Kelly "is not endorsed or recommended for ministry within YWAM." There is much more to the story and for an example of the initial, extensive review done about this, see the summary excerpt at the end of this entry. This dismissal also needs to be openly reviewed and investigated since it is clearly tied into the way that the NCI fraud has been dealt with by YWAM. Who will have the courage and compassion to do so?)
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3. Connections between Le Rucher/Mercy Ministries and YWAM
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“There are clear statements from Lynn Green, and I think Jeff Fountain  concurs, that the leadership and ministry at Le Rucher were never properly under the authority of appropriate YWAM leaders. A period of doubt prevailed for a season until it was revealed that Le Rucher was set up independently, when it was then recognized that it was definitely not and had never been a YWAM ministry. Letter to Kelly and Michele O’Donnell from Iain Muir, Lynn Green, and John Dawson (April 2008)
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 “Let me assure you that I attempted to bring some accountability to Erik many years ago only to have him inform that he was legally independent from YWAM and was accountable only to his board.  That fact was widely known from the time of that conversation, so I do not know why you were led to believe that he has been accountable to YWAM since setting up Le Rucher. Lynn Green responding to the letter by Hollis Lewis Jr., JD on behalf of 22 members of the Lewis/O’Donnell families (April 2008)
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“At this point in the saga, it seems evident that YWAM leaders will do whatever it takes to extricate themselves from any responsibility concerning ES and whatever is necessary to cover their tracks regarding any relationship to LR….It seems to us untenable that the said leaders who are reviewing the situation can now side step the responsibility for those days of Le Rucher. It  is so sad that in this case prominent leaders of YWAM, so respected, appear to be flaunting every fundamental value of YWAM, leaving good innocent people  exposed and vulnerable. Emails from Sean and Lynn Collins, former YWAM Le Rucher staff in 1995-1996 (27 and 29 April 2008)
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“The ministry of Le Rucher began under the auspices of YWAM. We came to Le Rucher in 2000 largely because it was a YWAM ministry. Erik Spruyt at that time was the Director of YWAM Mercy Ministries for Europe Middle East and Africa. In 1995, Lynn Green had personally recommended in writing that we come and join with Erik and Le Rucher.  Unfortunately, it was only afterwards that we became more fully aware of the serious ongoing issues with Le Rucher management, including reports of serious leadership problems. These issues surfaced again during our time at LR. The various letters that you and other YWAM leaders have received from former LR staff (Fall 2007) provide many details”. Letter to Iain Muir/Team 3 from Kelly and Michele O’Donnell (26 March 2008)
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“When we came back to debrief in 2001 [Erik Spruyt] mentioned that French law was requiring every religious organisation to be registered as a recognised religious body, because they were wanting to eradicate sects. Thus le Rucher had to be associated with a protestant organisation and so he wanted to stay with YWAM.  Email from Tony and Elisabeth Hyland (19 April 2008), Co-founders of YWAM Le Rucher
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YWAM, like any organisation, has important responsibility for its leaders, ministries, and centres, including when they get involved in fraudulent investment schemes and other serious problems. Leaders in an organisation cannot simply define a long-standing official relationship out of existence as a way to deal with one’s ethical and legal responsibility. The legal statutes for the Association set up in France (1994) has five signatures on it, all YWAM leaders (Daniel Schaerer, Robert Cau, Allan Murray, Jan Rowland, and Erik Spruyt). Le Rucher ministry was and its leaders were under Lynn Green-YWAM Europe, Middle East Africa, Jeff Fountain-YWAM Europe, and Steve Goode-YWAM Mercy Ministries International. So where is the official document from YWAM saying when Le Rucher, Mercy Ministries, and Erik Spruyt ceased being part of YWAM? Such a document does not exist, except for the anecdotal, after the fact comments of YWAM senior leaders starting in 2007—after the NCI fraud was publically confronted by former YWAM staff and others. YWAMers, former Le Rucher staff (including founding members), and dozens of concerned people have written to senior and international YWAM leaders over the past five years, extremely concerned how YWAM leaders have a) dealt with Le Rucher management in the 1990s and leaders’ lack of response to requests for help; b) not disclosed how YWAM projects and personnel have been specifically affected by NCI, including YWAM Mercy Ships, and how they have in fact investigated NCI’s impact on YWAM personnel and projects; and c) handled the harassment and dismissal of people of known integrity who whistle blew about NCI and YWAM. More of these written materials (records) may be released both privately/publicly in due course.
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**Click here: Copies of documents demonstrating YWAM connections(go to the bottom of the page that opens and click on the zipped file, “Documentation for LR-MM-YWAM connections”). See also the Summary listing of these documents. YWAM Le Rucher/Mercy Ministries was set up with the full cooperation, knowledge, and involvement of YWAM leaders in 1994 and remained officially and formally part of YWAM into the 2000s, while NCI was in full operation.
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Just one of the many important notes about the above documents, is  the reference in a 1996 brochure to one of the two main “pastoral care” services offered at YWAM Le Rucher being “assistance in developing adequate financial resources” including “private financial counselling” and In a subsequent brochure “private & professional financial counselling.” Why is a YWAM pastoral care centre emphasising and offering private and professional financial counselling (especially as many people coming to the centre are vulnerable and need supportive counselling and debriefing). How does this service being offered relate to NCI and YWAM’s responsibility for its leaders-ministries? And how does this relate to Lynn Green’s assertion that “YWAM leaders have no authority over the personal financial affairs of their staff and so do not interfere and recognize that they are not qualified to offer advice about investments. Our training for leaders of our operating locations covers this subject thoroughly.” (Statement/letter to YWAMers in response to the Christianity Today article on NCI/YWAM, June 2011)
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**Click here: Examples of email exchanges between YWAM leaders and Erik Spruyt i1997-1999), mostly with financial comments, questions, and requests by YWAM leaders. Examples: Loren Cunningham (Founder of YWAM) asking for financial help for the Lausanne base; Iain Muir (Director YWAM Africa), Garry Tissingh is also mentioned (Director YWAM North Africa). Note that this does not imply that these YWAM leaders were necessarily involved in NCI or in any wrong doing. It does point out the well-known fact that Erik Spruyt was actively involved as a major YWAM leader and worked closely with other major YWAM leaders internationally, and that other YWAM leaders were looking to him as a source for financial help in light of his role as YWAM Director for Mercy Ministries Europe, Middle East, and Africa.
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4. NCI money flows and YWAM
“According to State allegations [Sweden] former Western Europe YWAM leaders Kristian Westergard and Erik Spruyt were key players in Nordic Capital investments, a firm that allegedly defrauded Christian investors, including YWAM volunteers, though a ponzi scheme involving tens of millions of dollars….[Lynn] Green told CT, “They preyed on people in the Christian community. Some people of Youth With A Mission were victims of that. It’s a regrettable thing.” Youth With A Passion, Christianity Today, December 2010.
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“We have checked widely with YWAM leaders and have not found any who promoted this investment scheme…As far as we are aware, no YWAM ministries received any funds from the NCI scheme that claimed it would pay investment dividends to ministries.” Lynn Green statement/letter to YWAMers in response to the Christianity Today article on NCI/YWAM (June 2011)
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"They preyed on people in the Christian community.” Note the context. “No YWAM ministries received any funds from the NCI scheme.” Really? Based on whose thorough research? NCI was promoted by at least one major YWAM leader (Erik Spruyt) as well as a former national YWAM leader who was also Chair of a YWAM Board in Sweden (Kristian Westergard) when NCI was in operation. Other leaders told YWAMers and those in other organisations about NCI and encouraged them to invest (e.g., YWAM centres in Switzerland, International Assistance Mission in Afghanistan). It is well-documented that NCI money went to YWAM Le Rucher, Mercy Ministries (MM), and New Generation Foundation (NGF) and then from there (especially via Mercy Ministries International) it was sent to various ministry projects (click here for documentation/examples of NCI money sent to MM/NGF). See the links below for examples and questions about money flows. records.
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Click here: Summary of some of the NCI money flows to YWAM and possibly YWAM-related projects based on the Swedish EBM/court documents and organisational
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Click here: Money flows and documents related to the Austrian case: NCI and YWAM Mercy Ships (note: after clicking on the link you need to scroll to the attachments at the bottom of the page and click on the zipped folder “Austria case.”) Three million USD were sent from Switzerland to Austria in November 2001, frozen by the Austrian government, designated to benefit Mercy Ships (it was still legally part of YWAM until 2003).  Note also that there are many other materials, testimonies, and concerns not in the public domain about the relationship between the refitting of the Africa Mercy (63Million USD) and NCI money. The requests still stand (e.g., Shine the Light-Together petition, 2012) for Mercy Ships to authorise an independent investigation and verification of funds.
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Click here: Stichting Agrinas and Le Rucher money. (note: after clicking on the link you need to scroll to the attachments at the bottom of the page and click on the zipped folder “Stichting Agrinas and Le Rucher money.”) Stichting Agrinas is a respected humanitarian agency that helps to fund projects. The Chair is Roembke Fountain, a YWAM leader and wife of the former YWAM Director of Europe, Jeff Fountain, under whom the Le Rucher leadership was accountable. What was the source of this money?
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5. Organisational integrity and responsibility (a link to excerpts and quotes for good practice to support YWAM leaders)
For starters:
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“These findings also suggest that many humanitarian workers have a narrow view of what constitutes corruption, seeing it primarily as a financial issue rather than as abuse of power.” (p. 2) Preventing Corruption in Humanitarian Assistance, Transparency International (2008)
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"I was devastated. Absolutely devastated. We had won the trust of hundreds of donors, who had given generously to help us obtain this matching offer. We had taken their generous gifts, and unwittingly put them into a fraudulent scheme. And there was little chance of getting their money back....trust had been shattered. First, WE had violated the trust of our donors—by making these gifts, our donors had placed their confidence in us; they found that this trust had been misplaced.  Second, a man with criminal intent had exploited OUR trust. We had placed our reliance upon the integrity, ability, and character of a person and an institution—that reliance had been a very serious mistake. Third, because so many Christian charities were involved, donor confidence in Christian ministries had been badly shaken. Our reputation, and the reputation of the broader charitable community, had been severely damaged. These were very, very, dark days...Trust involves truth...it means breaking bad news when you have it...Being a truthful witness also means avoiding generalization, spin, or overstatement." Trust Me, David Harriman (Frontiers, 2006) .
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"Recent scandals in the for-profit and nonprofit worlds have highlighted the importance of integrity within an organization…One of the two provisions of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 that applies to nonprofit organizations (the other provision relates to document destruction) is the legal protection of whistle-blowers. The Act makes it illegal for a corporate entity to punish whistle-blowers who risk their careers by reporting suspected illegal activities in an organization. No form of punishment, including firing, demotion, suspension, harassment, failure to consider the employee for promotion, or any other kind of discrimination, is allowed. Punishing a whistle-blower in any way is a criminal offense…As a result of this legislation, it is important that nonprofit organizations develop procedures for receiving and handling complaints. Nonprofits need to create and implement a formal process to receive and investigate complaints and prevent retaliation.” Policy on Suspected Misconduct, Dishonesty, Fraud and Whistleblower Protection, Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability
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Pulling it All Together: Calling for Good Governance
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An Excerpt from the Professional Review on NCI, YWAM, Member Care, and Le Rucher (note: a 120-page document based on over 500 hours of initial research and interviews, not released yet)
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“The sad and serious events described in this professional review have their genesis in poor or inadequate corporate governance, which has led to: authoritarian and dysfunctional management practices; disregard for truth and justice; ineffective employee/staff safeguards; destructive conflicts of interest; covert financial management practices; and in the end even suspected criminality. YWAM has experienced all of these consequences, while other organizations such as the WEA-MC, EEMA, Le Rucher and various churches have been affected to varying degrees. One question arises over and over in this review--where is the ethical and accountable corporate governance?” Rand Guebert, Professional Review: Integrated Executive Summary (page 9)

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