This November, Trinity Foundation will mark 40 years of monitoring and investigating religious fraud. We have been told by many that we are the only organization in America and maybe the world with this mission. We want to thank you for your support, give you an update on our progress and prayerfully ask for your assistance.
Where we’ve come from
Trinity formed originally in 1972 to provide alternatives to the religious broadcasting that we saw increasing on the airwaves. Religious broadcasting was already off course, and seemed spiritually hollow as a Christian ministry. Our involvement in producing programs for radio and television only confirmed our disenchantment with the way religious broadcasting was conceived, produced and financed. So we started to dig deeper into what was going on.
The scandals that surfaced in the 1980s convinced us the whole enterprise was out of control, and we were asked by national news media to help investigate some high-profile televangelists like Robert Tilton, W. V. Grant, Benny Hinn and many others. After the Jim Bakker and Jimmy Swaggart scandals, we also provided testimony to the 1987 Hearings by the House Ways and Means Committee on Abuses of Federal Tax Rules Involving Television Ministries. We have also provided our research materials to untold numbers of media outlets world-wide and local, state and federal government agencies. Also, Ole has been interviewed for hundreds of radio, television and print stories on the subject of religious fraud.
Where we are
Because most of our work has been done by volunteers or people receiving minimal salary, we’ve been able to finance the monitoring and investigative effort over the years through gifts from friends and foundation members and with funding from the members of the Christian community where we’re based. Many have asked us why we haven’t charged for the investigative work that we do for the government and media. If that were the case, we believe we would lose all credibility and just be another “detective agency”.
Recently we spun off the ministry aspects of our Christian community (and much of the foundation’s assets) to form a new church entity (http://communityoncolumbia.org/), freeing the foundation to focus solely on investigations.
We thought that we had funding from a single donor and therefore would become a private foundation. That has not happened. We remain a public religious foundation. But since 2005 we’ve been working with the Senate Finance Committee on their inquiry into non-profit religious organizations (including televangelists) that were abusing the Tax Code and using fraudulent methods to obtain funding. We submitted 38 reports to the Committee for their review. Because of that work, we purposely kept a low profile. Since our membership has always increased after attention in the media, our membership has not grown, and that has left us without enough income to fund our mission.
Ole had this to add about the source of our funding, “On a personal note, I’ve spent nearly all of my own retirement funds to keep Trinity going in the past couple of years. But it will soon be necessary to close the doors if we don’t get some help.”
How you can help
Our first priority is to increase our membership.
Many of you have told us repeatedly how much you appreciate our work. The best way to express that is to become a foundation member and help support our efforts.
The televangelists are only getting more brazen. We are involved this year in helping to break open a major scandal at Trinity Broadcasting Network, the largest religious network in the world. There will be much more on this later. Other investigations will come to light soon.
You can keep up with all the latest news by checking our website at www.trinityfi.org. Also, on the website there is a brief video that is an introduction to many of our investigations.
Please join us
We believe our efforts will help to finally bring integrity to religious broadcasting and remove the televangelists’ stain on the cause of Christ.
We’d like you to be a part of that with us!
To sign up as a member, go to www.trinityfi.org/membership, or mail us a letter indicating your desire along with the minimum $25/year membership fee. Obviously, we would welcome larger donations and also, monthly sustaining members.
All the Best,
Ole, Pete, and the folks at Trinity Foundation