Year in Review: Where Your Donations Go

Today is National Giving Day and many Americans are supporting their favorite non-profit organizations. If you would like to donate to Trinity Foundation, please visit our donation page.

To the informants, readers, donors, journalists, and podcasters that interact with Trinity Foundation, we would like to say thank you for your support.

Your tips have aided our investigations, your interviews have educated the public regarding religious fraud and your donations have financed our work.

Again, thank you.

Year in Review

After Trinity Foundation founder Ole Anthony died in 2021, several documentary filmmakers contacted Trinity Foundation regarding the possibility of making a documentary about Ole’s life and our investigations. The project is currently on hold.

In March, Discovery+, the online platform of the Discovery Network, premiered the documentary Hillsong: A Megachurch Exposed. The third episode featured Trinity Foundation staff investigator Barry Bowen discussing Hillsong’s use of limited liability companies and accumulation of property in Maricopa County, Arizona.

Following the online premier, Trinity Foundation published the article The Dangerous Legal Structures of Hillsong Church. The documentary and our original reporting led to an ABC (Australia) interview and appearances on several podcasts including Leaving Hillsong.

Trinity Foundation delivered several investigative reports to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) requesting audits or criminal investigations of religious non-profit organizations.

During one investigation, we uncovered what appears to be a massive scandal. This story has the potential to break open next year.

One of our objectives at Trinity Foundation is to explore subjects related to church fraud and financial excess that are frequently ignored by mass media. For the past two years we’ve performed many property searches to identify pastors accumulating expensive property holdings.

Some of our findings have been disclosed in the articles Million Dollar Homes Become Status Symbols of Televangelists and Pastors and Long-Distance Ministry: Pastors Buy Second Homes and Start Churches Hundreds of Miles from Their Base. In December 2021 the Houston Chronicle published a hard-hitting series of articles on the abuses of church parsonages which we assisted with.

Trinity Foundation investigators explained to Alexander Lang in his Restorative Faith podcast, how televangelists target low income Americans with direct mail campaigns.

Pastor Planes, our project to bring transparency to church and ministry aircraft, continues to grow. We are currently tracking 62 aircraft and publishing the tracking maps on Instagram and Twitter.

Coming Soon

Trinity Foundation president Pete Evans will be speaking in December at the Transparency International Conference in Washington, D.C. on the topic of church dark money. So, what is “dark money”?

We have observed money being filtered through churches and other religious organizations using their secretive church status to fund money laundering, bulk-cash smuggling, political influence, sex-trafficking, and other criminal activity.  Merriam-Webster narrowly defines dark money as “money contributed to nonprofit organizations (especially those classified as social welfare organizations and business leagues) that is used to fund political campaigns without disclosure of the donors’ identities.”

When Christians donate to a religious charity that misuses the money for political campaigning, donors intentions are not honored and the tax-code is violated. If you know of any non-profit organizations—religious or not—that have engaged in this activity, please report this violation of the “Johnson Amendment” to Trinity Foundation here. This amendment refers specifically to endorsing or opposing any candidate for public office but could include supporting political issues advocated by a candidate.