A stroke charity which frequently targeted the LGBTIQ+ communities for donations voluntarily revoked its registration with the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission (ACNC) on 5 November. On the same day, the founder and then Vice President of the charity posted on Facebook at 8.28 am asking for donations.
QNews reported earlier this year on Stroke Support and Awareness Australia. Our investigations at the time showed that despite substantial fund-raising activities, the charity banked very little money.
Stroke Support and Awareness Australia describes itself as one of Australia’s leading stroke charities.
“We deliver stroke services across Australia, campaign for better stroke care, invest in research and fundraise to expand our reach to as many stroke survivors as possible.”
However, when QNews examined the charity’s financial documents we saw little evidence of any activity except fundraising. While Stroke Support and Awareness Australia did spend $1,074.70 on ‘awareness material’ and $962.50 on an ‘awareness video’ in 2016, it appeared the awareness material was mainly used for fund-raising purposes.
QNews compiled a 24-page PDF summary of our investigations mainly covering the years 2017 – 2020. We forwarded that document to the authorities. Later, we researched the charity’s operations prior to 2017 and compiled another substantial dossier. The size of our files increased substantially in the months since.
At the time of our report, QNews and our advertisers came under relentless attack from people associated with the charity.
Those attacks only ceased after we instructed our lawyers to send a legal notice.
Stroke charity revokes registration
The ACNC website lists Stroke Support and Awareness Australia as voluntarily revoking its registration effective 5 November. Yet at 8.28 am that same morning the charity’s founder posted on Facebook asking for donations.
The charity’s website also remains online at this time and continues to ask for donations.
Why we reported on this matter
QNews exists to celebrate, promote and inform the LGBTIQ+ communities. Those communities come under constant attack from bigots. We never wish to add to that.
However, we take seriously the responsibility to give our communities the information necessary to make informed decisions.
If we possess information that indicates a charity that targets our communities does not do the work it claims, we have a responsibility to share that information.
Likewise, if we had information that an individual used their notoriety in our communities to relentlessly bully anyone who offended them by harassing private messages, social media posts and phone calls directed at the individuals, their friends, relatives, workplaces and even cafes they frequented, we would, when we felt legally safe to do so, report on that.
We last reported on the charity nine months ago. Despite various other issues arising, we decided to not report on the matter unless the charity commenced fundraising again.
If LGBTIQ+ media fail to take the tough decisions to report on such matters, we are complicit.
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