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Stem Cell Foundation Loses Charity Status

22 September 2015 at 11:28 am
Ellie Cooper
A Queensland charity has become the 12th organisation to lose its status after it was revoked by the national charity regulator.

Ellie Cooper | 22 September 2015 at 11:28 am


Stem Cell Foundation Loses Charity Status
22 September 2015 at 11:28 am

A Queensland charity has become the 12th organisation to lose its status after it was revoked by the national charity regulator.

The Adult Stem Cell Foundation Australia Limited had its charity status revoked on 11 September 2015 by the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission (ACNC) following “a review into the organisation’s operations and activities”.

The Foundation was registered as a Health Promotion Charity and is the seventh charity out of Queensland to lose its status  –  more than any other state.

ACNC Commissioner, Susan Pascoe Am said she was prevented by secrecy provisions from disclosing the details of any case.

“The ACNC has a range of regulatory powers at its disposal,” Pascoe said.

“This can include guidance and support, warnings, directions, and enforceable undertakings. Where appropriate, the ACNC will revoke an organisation’s status as a registered charity.”

The Adult Stem Cell Foundation’s founder, Bruce Lahey, told Pro Bono Australia News that he was disappointed with the ACNC’s decision.

“The foundation disagrees with the ACNC’s ruling and the lawyers are appealing the case,” Lahey said.

“We will just continue on as normal and I think the thing we’ve lost is our tax-deductibility status for a period of time.”

The ACNC has not yet reversed any of its decisions to revoke a charity’s status.


The Adult Stem Cell Foundation is currently co-funding two registered trials for the treatment of Multiple Sclerosis and arthritis, which Lahey said would continue despite the ACNC’s decision.

Lahey stressed that the Foundation had not lost its charity status for financial impropriety and that no funds had been mismanaged.

It is understood the ACNC wrote to Lahey to explain that its decision was based on the view that “the charity needs advice to understand how a charity should be structured and governed” and that it could reapply for charity status if it could demonstrate that it is an organisation capable of understanding and meeting its obligations.

According to the Foundation’s facebook page it is a privately funded philanthropic organisation involved in providing information relating to adult stem cell treatments in Australia, New Zealand and Asia.

“The Foundation has a rapidly expanding honorary membership totalling in the many thousands,” the Foundation’s facebook page says.

“The Adult Stem Cell Foundation’s Mission is to provide information about new technologies, breakthrough treatments and natural products related to the role that Adult Stem Cells play in helping to manage and prevent degenerative diseases including cancer. The ASCF is dedicated to providing more information for patients, doctors and researchers alike.”

The Foundation’s website claims that stem cell treatments can help in the treatment of Cerebral Palsy, Muscular Dystrophy, Autism, Spinal injuries, Cystic fibrosis and ADHD

“Children can usually benefit substantially from an early intervention by stem cell therapies and other protocols because they are still growing,” the website says.

Visitors to the website are also encouraged “just fill out the application form for an experimental transplant and we will be only too happy to advise”.

For more information about the ACNC’s compliance activity, including the full list of charities that have had their registration revoked, click here.

Ellie Cooper  |  Journalist  |  @ProBonoNews

Ellie Cooper is a journalist covering the social sector.

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