Crime, Legal Related

Trinity Foundation, Inc.

Dallas, TX

Mission

Trinity Foundation, Inc. is the only organization whose mission is to monitor religious broadcasting and media for abuses. The foundation in 2015 expanded its coverage of religious fraud to include the whole globe. The foundation, a public non-profit based in Dallas, Texas, has been tracking religious fraud and helping victims for almost 30 years. As a licensed private investigative agency, the foundation regularly provides assistance to print and electronic journalists investigating suspected fraud or other abuses of the public trust by religious ministries and organizations. From 2005 through 2011, the foundation worked closely with the U.S. Senate Finance Committee on their investigation of religious non-profit organization abuses.

Ruling Year

1973

Principal Officer

Mr. Ole Anthony

Main Address

5640 Columbia Ave.

Dallas, TX 75214 USA

Keywords

investigations, televangelists, fraud, abuse

EIN

23-7259773

 Number

8226690107

Cause Area (NTEE Code)

Protection Against and Prevention of Neglect, Abuse, Exploitation (I70)

Christian (X20)

Civil Rights, Social Action, and Advocacy N.E.C. (R99)

IRS Filing Requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

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Programs + Results

What we aim to solve New!

We believe the freedom to practice religion protected by the Constitution does not include the freedom to defraud. Trinity Foundation began monitoring religious media in 1974, and by 1988 had become pro-active in shining a public light on religious fraud. The problem is only becoming worse due to the lack of transparency of church related organizations and the reluctance of the IRS to go after organizations that claim church status but really are not churches. Lack of clear regulations and no oversight by congress has only made matters more unsatisfactory (esp. when the US Senate dropped their investigation). We aim to help educate the public about religious fraud (more money is stolen in the name of God than any other way) and help stem the tide of ecclesiastical crime. Worldwide clergy crime was estimated to reach approximately 60 billion (in US currency) in 2017, exceeding approx. $ 53 billion in worldwide missions giving.

Our programs

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Monitoring broadcasting

Investigations

Helping victims

Where we workNew!

Charting Impact

Five powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What is the organization aiming to accomplish?

What are the organization's key strategies for making this happen?

What are the organization's capabilities for doing this?

How will they know if they are making progress?

What have and haven't they accomplished so far?

Our goals:
–Increase public awareness by continuing to provide information requested by various news media organizations and giving interviews when appropriate.
–Enable the establishment of civil case law regarding religious fraud.
–Enable the establishment of criminal case law regarding religious fraud.

To increase awareness through publication of our newsletter, Facebook presence, and website posts. To establish speaking engagements with church groups, nursing homes, and other organizations--warning of the extreme dangers of religious fraud and chicanery. Use legal means as an instrument to establish viable case law. We will continue to provide reports to the IRS Exempt Organizations Division and other government organizations when we can document fraud and excessive personal use of donor money.

Admittedly, we are a small organization with only 6 employees; however, we have established an international network of volunteer associates with similar goals, willing to report back to us about religious fraud in their own countries. Our network includes persons on most continents. In addition, a number of lawyers have asked if they could help us pro-bono. A small community of believers has kept our organization afloat over the years and continues to encourage and support us in our mission.

One huge sign of progress can be measured by the number of YouTube viewers (now approaching 17 million) of John Oliver's 'Last Week Tonight' piece on televangelists which we helped with in a big way conceptually, working with their senior researcher over a period of time. We know we're making progress when reporters or news media reps contact us on a regular basis for help with exposes, articles, etc. We also know we're making progress when we receive calls from victims of religious fraud and informants from various organizations engaged in fraud or excessive personal enrichment.

There's no question we've increased public awareness over the past few decades; first in the early 90's, with Prime Time Live and Diane Sawyer's piece on televangelism , then numerous television and print media exposes on televangelists and certain ministries over the ensuing years, and recently, the John Oliver 'Last Week Tonight' piece on televangelists now reaching close to 17 million views. We'll continue to provide reports on our findings to government agencies. We'll continue to provide information to the 4th estate (the news media). We'll continue to inform the public. These are things that are difficult to quantify. Financial transparency for religious non-profits is a great step in the right direction. We suspect it will take a massive scandal in order to bring enough public opinion to bear on congress to draft and pass legislative changes that will make a real difference--in other words, to require transparency for organizations receiving the privilege of tax exemption.

External Reviews

Financials

Trinity Foundation, Inc.

Fiscal year: Jan 01 - Dec 31

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Operations

The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

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  • Address, phone, website and contact information
  • Forms 990 for 2016, 2015 and 2014
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Board Leadership Practices

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section, which enables organizations and donors to transparently share information about essential board leadership practices.

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

BOARD ORIENTATION & EDUCATION

Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations?

Not Applicable

CEO OVERSIGHT

Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year?

Not Applicable

ETHICS & TRANSPARENCY

Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year?

Not Applicable

BOARD COMPOSITION

Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership?

Not Applicable

BOARD PERFORMANCE

Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years?

Not Applicable