Shane Warne’s Charity Website Offline
17 November 2015 at 10:18 am
As the consumer affairs watchdog investigates claims of accounting and reporting irregularities at the high profile charity foundation set up by cricketing great, Shane Warne, the organisation’s website has gone offline.
Shane Warne remains in the United States following an all-star cricket tour of the country featuring Indian legend Sachin Tendulkar, former Australian captain Ricky Ponting and other cricketing greats to promote cricket.
Despite the furore around his charity, Warne appeared to be unphased by the controversy, tweeting that he was relaxing in Malibu.
Just finished an awesome 2 hour walk / chat in the beautiful hills of Malibu with a great mate. Simple things are the best, feel great !
— Shane Warne (@ShaneWarne) November 16, 2015
The Foundation told Pro Bono Australia News that it will be making a public statement this week about claims of accounting and reporting irregularities. However, The Shane Warne Foundation website is now offline with an “internal server error” message appearing. The charity could not be contacted on Tuesday.
Consumer affairs watchdog, Consumer Affairs Victoria, has confirmed that it is investigating the charity.
“Consumer Affairs Victoria is concerned about a number of inconsistencies in The Shane Warne Foundation's reporting and accounting practices and is currently looking into this matter,” a CAV spokesperson said.
“The Shane Warne Foundation has advised they have had a number of staffing changes and has sought a meeting with Consumer Affairs Victoria to seek further information concerning their fundraising and record keeping obligations.”
The General Manager of The Shane Warne Foundation, Emma Coleman, told Pro Bono Australia News on Sunday that the organisation was assessing the situation.
“We have three board members in different countries, and we will not be making a public statement about the investigation until next week,” Coleman said.
A report in Fairfax Media said an investigation by The Sunday Age revealed The Shane Warne Foundation raised $1.8 million in three years but donated an average of only 16 cents of every dollar to institutions that care for sick and underprivileged children.
The media report said, “Financial records obtained by The Sunday Age show the spin bowler's personal charity has instead spent the majority of its funds from 2011 to 2013 staging glitzy celebrity events and employing a member of the cricketing great's family.”
The Shane Warne Foundation said its mission is to enrich the lives of seriously ill and under-privileged children and teenagers in Australia.
“We are an umbrella organisation, meaning we raise money through the events we run, donations we receive, and corporate sponsorship, and distribute those funds to a diverse cross section of charities and individuals who work hands on in these areas,” the charity’s website said.
The revelations come as the CEOs of the Community Council for Australia (CCA), David Crosbie, and World Vision, Tim Costello, called for charities to merge or close saying that too many charities were competing against each other, creating a significant amount of wasted effort.
Crosbie said collaboration and possible mergers should be a part of future planning for all organisations.
“Self-interest can be a hard thing for charities to put aside, however we are in the business of serving communities, not ourselves,” Crosbie said.
“Charities and Not for Profits serving the same communities may need to work much harder at collaboration and possible merges, not just because it is in their interests but in the interests of the communities they serve.”
They were joined in their call to action by CEO of Save the Children Australia, Paul Ronalds, and CEO of the organisation it merged with, Good Beginnings Australia, Jayne Meyer Tucker.
The calls came the same week that television and radio personality, Carrie Bickmore, launched her own charity to tackle brain cancer.
Last month former Australian cricket captain, Steve Waugh, encouraged other sports stars to think twice before setting up their own charities.