Funding Evangelism through ‘Compassion’- A report on Compassion International-I

In this article, we shall look into FCRA-NGOs, which receive money directly from Compassion International, an international NGO devoted to Child “Welfare”.

Headquartered in Colorado, USA, Compassion International is an international NGO devoted to Child “Welfare” across the world. According to the magazine Christian Science Monitor (CSM), Compassion ranked thirtieth in the list of US Charities with an annual income in 2011 of USD 548.9 million (~Rs. 3000 Crore using 2012 exchange rate). CSM classifies Compassion as a Relief/Development charity along with World Vision. The only two Religious charities among the top-50 were Campus Crusade For Christ (rechristened now as CRU in the USA) and Christian Broadcasting Network (CBN).

Notwithstanding the CSM’s classification, one of Compassion’s webpage is titled “Sponsor a Child With a Leading Christian Charity”. The web page shows photographs of many children from different countries of the world. Interestingly, although Compassion has a wide presence in India (see later), searching for Indian children on their US website yields zero results. Understandable. On the right side of the same webpage, the work of Compassion with respect to children is described in brief as:

  • Educational assistance, Health and hygiene training, Medical checkups, etc.
  • Mentoring to help children discover their incredible value as God’s children
  • Most important of all, your sponsored child will hear about Jesus Christ and be encouraged to develop a lifelong relationship with God

The Mission statement of Compassion International is here. It states: “In response to the Great Commission, Compassion International exists as an advocate for children, to release them from their spiritual, economic, social and physical poverty and enable them to become responsible and fulfilled Christian adults.

The EIN for Compassion International is: 36-2423707. As a 501(c)(3) Organization in USA, it is exempted from US Federal Income Tax. However, one can peruse its annual tax return filed with the US tax agency, called the Form-990. The annual tax return of Compassion for 2014-15 is available here. In it, Compassion describes its “core work” and explains how it monitors the outcomes of such work: “Child development outcomes are monitored in the areas of health practices and physical health, economic skill building and motivation, abilities in social interaction, and demonstrated commitment to the Lordship of Christ.”

The tax return also mentions that ~USD 50 million was remitted to “South Asia” (which, in the present context, refers largely to India) in 2013-14 towards “Child Development”.

‘Compassion’ in India

This report is motivated by a recent news item in Indian media, one of which is linked here. The news story says that the Ministry of Home Affairs has put Compassion International on the Prior Permission (PP) list, after its affiliate, Caruna Bal Vikas (CBV), Chennai (FCRA-NGO), distributed the money it (i.e., CBV) received to other NGOs, which were not registered under FCRA. The transfer of such foreign funds by an FCRA-NGO to organizations, which are not registered under FCRA is a violation of Section 7 of the FCRA (2010).

What are the activities of Compassion in India? Is CBV its only affiliate? Who does CBV and other affiliates of Compassion in turn distribute the money to? What is the geographical spread of Compassion? What is the quantum of money flow from Compassion International to FCRA-NGOs in India? We shall try to explore these questions here. Since the amount of information is voluminous, we shall proceed to do this in multiple installments. In this Part-1, we shall look into FCRA-NGOs, which receive money directly from Compassion offices worldwide (USA, UK). In subsequent installments, we shall see the names of secondary FCRA-NGOs, who receive money from Compassion’s primary Indian affiliates such as Caruna Bal Vikas-Chennai and Compassion East India-Kolkata.

The actual “Table of remittances” is provided at the end of the report. Here are some of the observations that emerge from an examination of the funding activities of Compassion International in India.

Observations

  1. Given that the inflow from Compassion International to Caruna Bal Vikas steeply declined in 2014-15 (see later for possible reason), many FCRA-NGOs, who were getting secondary funding from CBV until 2013, started getting their funds directly from Compassion International, Colorado in 2014-15 (and also in 2015-16, based on their quarterly returns filed with MHA).
  2. Some entries in the Table below have a question mark (?). The FC4 forms submitted by such FCRA-NGOs appear faulty. They do not contain any information about the foreign donor. Based on information provided in quarterly returns (third and fourth quarters) filed by such FCRA-NGOs in 2015-16, I presume that such FCRA-NGOs are likely to have received funds from Compassion International in 2014-15. Hence, such entries too are listed in this Table.
  3. Although Compassion International’s website does not list India in the drop-down menu for Child Sponsorship schemes, we presume that a lot of child-centric activities take place with the funds received by the FCRA-NGOs from Compassion International. Whether such Indian children are encouraged to explore Christianity, given what Compassion International-Colorado states in its tax return to the USA’s tax agency as its Core Mission, is not known in the public domain. Hence, no comments could be made regarding the same.
  4. Since 2009, the inflow from worldwide Compassion offices (primarily from Colorado) to FCRA-NGOs in India has been: 133, 158, 182, 223, 230 and 162 crore rupees, respectively. The dip in 2014-15 is likely correlated with that shown in remittances to Caruna Bal Vikas-Chennai. Note that the inflow of Rs. 230 crore in 2013-14 calculated from FCRA returns (See Table at the end) corresponds to about USD 40 million, which amounts to 80% of what Compassion International claimed as its “donations” to South Asia in its US tax return.
  5. Thus, Compassion sent around Rs. 220 Crore p.a. to Indian FCRA-NGOs. In contrast, Ford Foundation granted around Rs. 60-70 Crore p.a. to our FCRA-NGOs. The list of the FCRA-NGO recipients from Ford Foundation is here.
  6. Caruna Bal Vikas-Chennai and Compassion East India-Kolkata are the primary affiliates of Compassion in India. Thus, they are provided prime positions in the following Table. The rest of the entries in the Table are arranged state-wise.
  7. The geographical spread of direct recipients from Compassion is very broad, as visible from the table. When we deal with secondary recipients of Compassion in future parts, the full extent of geographical spread will become clear.
  8. There have been 52 Direct Recipient FCRA-NGOs from Compassion so far. Apart from these, I estimate that around 200 FCRA-NGOs are likely to have received Compassion’s funds routed via Caruna Bal Vikas and Compassion East India. These are allowed by FCRA rules.
  9. There is no Government source in the public domain to learn about the ownership/trusteeship of Caruna Bal Vikas. However, according to this story in The Hindu, one Mr. Aswin Paul holds the power of attorney for CBV. The story adds that Mr. Paul is also part of a company formed in 2014, called Adhane Management Consultants Private Limited (AMCPL), whose CIN is U74999TN2014PTC096425. Ministry of Corporate Affairs Portal provides the Directors of AMCPL as Christopher Rajkumar, Rampert Ratnaiya and Deva Anugraham Daniel. The news story also mentions that CBV has been slapped with a demand for Rs. 87.7 Crore from the Income Tax Department. Other FCRA violations are also mentioned in that news story. We suspect that CBV’s inflow for 2014-15 may have reduced due to this issue.
  10. As per Niti Aayog’s Darpan Portal of NGOs, Compassion East India-Kolkata is run by Jebaraj D.G., Dipankar Haldar, Asit Samuel and Arun Sarkar.
  11. Aside-1: While working on this report, we came across an interesting remittance from an organization in California called “The Fourteen Four Group” to an FCRA-NGO, Bhartiya Sewak Sangati-Nagpur (MH/83870174) in 2013-14. Permit us to elaborate on this.Evangelical Christianity has two focus domains. One is spatial and the other is “temporal”. The former is called the “10/40 window”, which lies between 10o and 40o north of the Equator. Countries within this window are especially vulnerable to changes in their religious demography, driven by forces located elsewhere. The temporal window is constituted by humans between the ages of 4 and 14, i.e., children. This is called the “4/14 window”. Efforts to introduce this target group to a religion, which their parents and extended family are unlikely to be practicing is also the aim of the same universal forces, which are inimical to the natural order.
  12. Aside-2: The above-mentioned California’s “The Fourteen Four Group” also sends money to the following FCRA-NGOs: The Association for Theological Education by Extensions, Kothanur, Bengaluru (KA/94420118), Vision India, Nagpur (MH/83870270), Anugraha Seva Mandal, Nagpur (MH/83870181), Evangelical Fellowship of India-Delhi (DL/231650058) and Evangelical Trust Association of North India, Delhi (DL/231660036).

 

Primary FCRA-NGO recipients from Compassion International during 2009-2014.

(Amounts are in Rs. Crore)

Name Reg. No. Address 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014
Caruna Bal Vikas TN/75900807 128, Bricklin Rd, Purasaiwakkam, Chennai-600007 82.57 96.44 109.50 130.5 111.7 6.75
Compassion East India WB/147120584 AQ-12, Sectors 4 & 5, Salt Lake City, Kolkata 48.19 60.05 71.09 89.85 111.26 119.0
Abode of Peace AP/10350091 10-274, Waktaur Uplands, Visakhapatnam
Society for Nurture, Education, Health Activities AP/10370060 517, Gotlam Village, SO Cantonment, Vizianagaram-535003 0.21
All Christian Evangelical & Social Service Fellowship AP/10140105 Venpaguta, Puttur, Krishnasamudra, Chittoor N/A 0.81
Nava Kanthi AP/10260285 30/13, Railpet, Machilipatnam, Krishna-521001 0.83
Utilise People’s Potential Action for Humanities and Research AP/10340045 Balaji Nagar, House No.1,,D. No.318, PO Pathapatnam,Srikakulam-532213 0.21 1.44
Nav Jeevan Seva Mandal DL/231650163 534, SFS, Block-C, Sector-19, Rohini-110085 4.04
Delhi Tamil Church DL/231650460 C/o Faith Academy ,Prasad Nagar- 110005 ?
Kashmir Evangelical Fellowship JK/152760002 Udhampur-182101 0.58
Karnataka Navajeeva Samithi KA/94420068 54, II Main, Ganghath Layout, Bengaluru 0.11 ?
Hoskote Mission & Medical Centre KA/94420084 Hoskote, Bengaluru N/A 2.54
Christa Mitra Ashram KA/94600020 Uttara Kannada N/A 0.47
Karnataka Evangelistic Association KA/94420111 519, 10th Main, F. Block, Bengaluru (likely in Kothanaur) 0.63 1.91
India for Christ Ministries KA/94420544 739, 4th Main Road, A. Munireddy Layout, Horamavu Main Road, Dodda Banaswadi-560043 0.65
Devanahally Mission of the Marthoma Church KA/94420761 Budigere Road, Devanahally-562110 N/A 0.16
Association For Community Care Education And Social Services (ACCESS) KA/94420909 10, New Chelekere Extension,

Kalyan Nagar

-560043

1.45
Servants Of Jesus Christ Welfare Sociey KL/52870270 Timnath Serah,Eraviperoor,Tiruvalla – 689542 0.28
Christian Agency For Rural Development KL/52930022 Marthoma Office,Tiruvalla 689101 0.28 1.87
Suvarta Alliance Ministries Trust MH/83820007 Church Compound

Nandurbar- 425412

0.14 0.29
Bhartiya Sewak Sangati MH/83870174 C/O Mr.Narhari Sangole, Behind New Budha Vihar,Gaddigodam,Nagpur-440001 0.06 0.38
Anugraha Aradhana Sewakai Sanstha MH/83870206 A-10, Manavsewa Nagar, Seminary Hills, Nagpur-440006 0.28 0.86
Reformed Presbyterian Church MN/194160022 Peace Lane, Churachandpur-795128 0.42
Mar Thoma Gram Jyoti Education & Development Society MP/63310057 Mar Thoma Passionage, South Civil Lines, Jabalpur-482001 ?
Mullai Outreach Ministries TN/75870065 1/108A, Nallanahalli, Mullikuttai, Periyanahalli, Dharmpuri-635205 0.08 0.46
St. Andrew’s Church TN/75900357 37, Poonamalle High Road,Egmore,Chennai – 600008 0.46
Society For Integrated Social Upliftment TN/75940288 9, Viswashanthi Nagar, 1st Street

Madurai- 625017

0.26
St. Joseph’s Yellagiri Educational Trust TN/75980250 Hope Nagar, Ponneri Post, Jolarpet-635851 ?
Santhosha Educational Society TN/76030002 Dohnavur, Nellai Kattabomman 0.18 0.54
Tirunelvelli Diocesan Trust Assocation TN/76030023 P O Box No.116, No.5, Punithavathiar Street, Palayamkottai

-627002

0.33 1.94
Peace Trust TN/76030266 Deo Favante, 16 Kurichi Road, Kulavanikarpuram, Palayamkottai-627007 0.47
Sharing Love Mission TN/76160016 5-A/323, Third Street, Bishop Caldwell Colony, Thoothukudi-628008 0.26 1.61
Jesus Redeems TN/76160018 Main Road, Nalumavadi-628211 0.14 0.47
Bharat Susamachar Samiti UK/347900050 Kulhan, Sahastradhara Road, Dehradun-248001 0.20 1.28
New Life Centre UK/347900069 25- Old Connaught Place, Dehradun – 248001 0.29
Himalaya Inland Mission UK/347900065 Landour, Mussoorie 0.07
India Good News Association UP/136230028 183-a Katra Mission , Allahabad-211002 1.35
Mission To The Unreached UP/136810040 F-129 A Sector 22, Noida, 0.26

 

Acknowledgements:

The FCRA Wing of Ministry of Home Affairs is sincerely thanked for providing the FC6/FC4 returns of all FCRA-NGOs online, without one having to go through the idiotic RTI route.

The report has been reproduced with permission from FCRA-Analysis blog.

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