A South African organization called HOPE Africa has solicited contributions from Canadian Anglican parishes, prompting a word of caution from Ellie Johnson, director of the partnerships department at the national church office in Toronto.
In a message to dioceses, she recently wrote: “I have received several calls about a direct mail appeal from an organization called HOPE Africa. This is an initiative of the Anglican diocese of Cape Town and has gone out under the signature of Archbishop Njongonkulu Ndungane, who is the bishop of Cape Town and the primate of the Province of Southern Africa.”
Ms. Johnson said it appeared that the direct mail appeal had gone to all parishes in Canada and that the mailing addresses were obtained from the church’s yearbook. She cautioned about sending donations to HOPE Africa. “The project is likely genuine,” wrote Ms. Johnson, “but we have no information about it and have never had a request to fund it through our national channels, i.e., Partners in Mission and PWRDF (Primate’s World Relief and Development Fund). Further, the mailing that has gone out provides no information about how the funds will be accounted for, nor what structures are in place in terms of a board of directors and auditors, to ensure good stewardship of the funds.”
The organization’s Web site, www.hopeafrica.org, describes it as “the social development initiative of the diocese of Cape Town.” It lists an 11-member board and says it funds such projects as an AIDS support group, a child care centre and a vegetable gardening group. The Web site says HOPE Africa “works in partnership” with Episcopal Relief and Development in the U.S. and the Scottish Episcopal Church, among others.