April 17, 2010; Vancouver Sun | Some stories are real headshakers. The Vancouver Sun is running a series about the China Foundation, which is based in Westfield, Indiana. The connection between Indiana and British Columbia? The Foundation’s “director-at-large,” a former Pentecostal minister, lives in Victoria, B.C., and its CFO and economist resides in Surrey. The China Foundation describes itself as “a non-domiciled international foundation that operates and manages great wealth all over the world.” The website says, “over the centuries, God has set aside massive wealth, which is in our foundations’ Global Master Cash and CHIPS Accounts, for such a time as this, to provide for the general welfare of all peoples of all nations.” These funds, from unidentified sources, are distributed to unidentified “participating qualified governments or institutions” purportedly costing no less than $1 billion each. These two Canadians also are directors of the Exousia Foundation, also based in Indiana, which works with the China Foundation to “further the funding of worldwide philanthropic, humanitarian, and economic development projects . . . in the name of Jesus Christ.” Coordination between the China Foundation and Exousia must be pretty easy: the president and CEO of both is a minister who runs them from his home in Westfield. No offense, we don’t quite get the charitable nature of the China Foundation. The website includes a list of U.S. projects [PDF] available for funding that would support oil shale projects, build sports complexes, oil refineries, hotels, gold mining, and apparently a nuclear reactor. The Sun‘s reporter seems to have some of the goods on these guys, tracing the two Canadians to a $37.3 million fraud they pulled on a Polish agricultural cooperative in 1992 through Victoria-registered entities they were affiliated with, including something called the United National Republic Bank of Russia. One of their partners was arrested for the scam in Switzerland, but Poland couldn’t get these guys in Canada due to the lack of an extradition treaty. The article has a lot more about these guys and about the foundations, all of it shady and shadier. Odd that we didn’t find the China Foundation nor Exousia on GuideStar or in the IRS’s Publication 78. Please, donors, check on the provenance of the nonprofit organizations you might support and don’t get blinded to what’s really going on by the camouflage language of good works, “philanthropy”, and “foundation.”—Rick Cohen