Last month, Teen Mania lost their accreditation with the ECFA.
The ECFA (Evangelical Center for Financial Accountability) "provides accreditation to leading Christian nonprofit organizations that faithfully demonstrate compliance with established standards for financial accountability, transparency, fundraising and board governance."
Accreditation by the ECFA is supposed to ensure ministries adhere to the Seven Standards of Responsible Stewardship so that donors can trust that their monies will be used in honest and appropriate ways. It is basically the Christian world's stamp of approval saying: this ministry is legit.
Given recent events, it would appear that this accreditation is worthless.
Teen Mania has been losing over a million dollars a year, since 2011, according to the ECFA.
It has also been confirmed by former communications director, Cindy Mallette, that Teen Mania failed to pay 3 mortgage payments which precipitated the foreclosure proceedings (contrary to Ron Luce's testimony that a payment was never missed).
And we now have testimony from Ron Luce's former assistant about absurdly lavish spending.
But the ECFA is not the only one to fall down on the job. Their former president, Paul Nelson also has much to answer for.
Mr. Nelson was the president of the ECFA for over 10 years. After leaving the ECFA, he became a member of Teen Mania's Board of Directors for several years (since at least 2009, if not earlier).
Teen Mania still touts its relationship with the ECFA and oversight by the Board of Directors as two crucial reasons why they can be trusted with your money. According to Teen Mania International's Finances webpage:
- The Board of Directors for Teen Mania Ministries is also highly involved in reviewing the significant financial business of the organization.
Given Teen Mania's current financial shape, how can anyone take ECFA accreditation or Paul Nelson seriously? For his incredibly poor performance in shaping Teen Mania's finances, Paul Nelson has joined the "The President's Council." It's unclear how this council is different from the Board of Directors or even what its purpose is but Paul Nelson is still a part of Teen Mania's leadership. And that should be very worrisome.
The only two things that I can conclude from this set of facts is that the ECFA and Paul Nelson are completely incompetent OR they both serve as yes men to Ron Luce. Either way, they have been abject failures at safeguarding Teen Mania's finances - and thereby the donations of thousands of people. Perhaps even your donation.