Taiwan's Dreams Life Caring Association (DLCA) has been accused of using public donations for employee salaries instead of charitable causes.

The charity runs an ongoing program, “Dream Come True 580" (圓夢580), collecting donations from the public to feed children in rural areas.

On June 7 a netizen wrote on the PTT board, a Taiwanese online discussion platform, that he had applied for a job as a street fundraiser for DLCA via 1111 Job Bank in 2015. He alleges that after working for one day he concluded that most donations collected from the public were used to pay employee salaries. He was also concerned over a lack of transparency as to where money collected went at the end of each shift. He added that the fundraisers were also specifically told to refer to themselves as “volunteers” and not “part-time staff.”

Chiang Guo-ren (江國仁), deputy director-general at the Department of Social Assistance and Social Work, said the Ministry of Health and Welfare would investigate the matter.

According to public information from the Ministry of Health and Welfare’s online fundraising management system, the amount of funds raised for Dream Come True 580 from February 2014 to February 2015 stood at NT$7.2 million (US$230,000). The figure for personnel expenses was the same.

Tsai Cheng-da (蔡承達), special assistant at DLCA, said on Tuesday that the association hires part-time staff because of a lack of volunteers. Tsai said the association spent NT$6 million on employee salaries in 2014. He said the association helps those in need through providing everyday supplies instead of financial support, and promised the association will publish an expenditure report on its website this week.

DLCA director Hu Ding- yi (胡定一) said that latest post on PTT was written by a former employee who sought to defame him and the association. Hu said the association spends hundreds of thousands of NT dollars on charity work each month, and has threatened legal action against people who spread false rumors.

Fundraising associations in Taiwan are under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Health and Welfare and the misuse of charity funds violates the Law of Fundraising.

The DLCA’s fundraising plan for “Dream Come True 580” was approved by officials.

This is not the first time DLCA has been accused of misuse of funds. A post on PTT on Jan. 21 made a similar accusation and suggested details of its finances must be more widely known.

The DLCA has removed all recruitment posts on 1111 Job Bank.

First Editor: Olivia Yang
Second Editor: Edward White