The former chief executive of the now-defunct the All Wales Ethnic Minority Association took more than £16,000 from the charity, a court heard yesterday.
Nasir Malik is accused of using money from the Big Lottery Fund and government grants to pay off his own credit card bills.
Swansea Crown Court heard Malik, 65, wrote out two cheques from Awema’s bank into his own account worth more than £11,000.
The prosecutor, Jim Davies, said: "He was acting dishonestly. He was not authorised to use charity money to reduce his own credit card bill. He knew full well he was not entitled to do so. He was being dishonest and defrauding the charity."
The court heard that Malik helped set up Awema in 2010 with the aim of promoting racial harmony and tackling discrimination. It was a registered charity and received grants from the Welsh government and the Big Lottery Fund.
The Swansea-based charity had a bank account, but cheques for more than £1,000 had to have two signatures. Malik was authorised to sign cheques along with the charity’s treasurer, Stephen Matthews.
But Matthews worked full-time as an accountant for Swansea Council and was not always available to countersign cheques.
The court heard Matthews pre-signed a stack of blank cheques left in an office drawer.
Malik was allowed to claim "reasonable expenses" such as travel costs but often failed to submit monthly claim forms.
One cheque for £2,500 was paid to Malik’s credit card bill followed by another for £9,340.36. Davies said: "The balance of his personal credit card at this time was £9,340.36."
The court heard Malik had taken one of the blank cheques from the drawer while the finance director was away on holiday.
Malik is also accused of setting up a bank payment to pay his own life insurance policy costing the charity more than £3,500.
Malik later told police the two cheques were "cash floats" that would "offset" his expenses, the court heard.
Malik, of Brynmill, Swansea, denies three charges of fraud. The trial continues.