The past year has reminded us that our Foundation clients are both extraordinarily generous and eager to make a difference at home and beyond. Indeed, Canada Gives donors’ philanthropy is both strategically targeted and focused on creating a broad, lasting impact. It would be an understatement to say that their collective giving has helped make life better for their fellow Canadians, while also addressing needs around the globe. And that’s why our Annual Impact Report 2019 is dedicated to celebrating our donors’ coast-to-coast success in creating positive change through their foundations.
Our aim this year was to highlight philanthropic stories that are as inspiring as their results are critical to fueling the growth of the charitable sector. As we note early on, the report is also dedicated to thanking our Foundation clients who responded so quickly to meet emergency needs in the face of the coronavirus pandemic—an event that has disrupted our industry, but spurred philanthropists to take action in dynamic new ways.
The stories this year exemplify our Foundation clients’ unwavering dedication to doing good.
Take the B.C.-based donor who learned of our boutique approach to Foundation account management. He and his wife chose Canada Gives instead of establishing a private foundation because of our comprehensive management of everything from administrative duties to tax compliance. Or the Alberta-based donors who worked with our client service team to put a strategy behind their philanthropic efforts, while leveraging our services to better vet charities and steer donations towards causes that aligned with their values and charitable giving objectives.
Then there’s the Ontario donor who worked with our Global Projects Initiative team to launch an online fundraising platform. The goal: to help residents of the remote northern islands of the Bahamas in the wake of last year’s devastating Hurricane Dorian. As we note on Page 12 of the report, it takes work and planning to ensure that overseas donations from Canadians to foreign charitable initiatives are properly tax-receipted by the Canada Revenue Agency. The good news: our team has the experience and expertise to ensure full compliance, while maximizing the flow of donations to the recipient charity. The story also reminds us that, in an emergency situation such as a natural disaster, Foundation accounts offer philanthropists a potentially game-changing opportunity to pivot and direct funds to organizations on the ground in the disaster zone, quickly getting help to those who need it the most. That flexibility can prove crucial in saving lives and improving long-term outcomes in affected regions.
Those are just a few of the wonderful stories that we share this year in our Annual Impact Report, not to mention uplifting examples of giving from Quebec and the Maritimes.
Then there’s the story of our own growth as an organization—and one that we appreciate. The 2019 fiscal year was unprecedented for Canada Gives. Consider this:
- In 2019, we posted our best year ever as an organization, with total Foundation Account holdings surging to $96.1 million from $39.3 million in 2018
- Our total number of Foundation accounts grew to 157 from 128
- Our new receipted donations exploded to $58.4 million from $12.8 million a year earlier—growth of 316 per cent!
However, the most important figure to note in the Annual Impact Report is that the total grants disbursed to charities from inception to December 31st, 2019, reached $36,556,205. That figure underscores our commitment to encouraging our Foundation clients to actively engage in the charitable sector. The mandate here is to provide strategic and administrative support to advance each donors’ objectives as a philanthropist, while maximizing the impact of their giving.
Of course, on the heels of a banner 2019, we found ourselves in the midst of the disruption caused by the COVID-19 crisis of 2020 (and likely beyond). As the outbreak impacted the charitable sector across Canada, and donations plummeted in the early days of the pandemic, we saw a swift bounce back with a dramatic increase in giving on the part of our donor clients.
Recent digital infrastructure investments enabled us to meet increased demand for our services in March and April. A new server, along with remote access capabilities, allowed key employees to continue working from home and ensured full service continuity. Our team members worked around the clock to ensure that grant applications from charities and non-profits were processed as quickly as possible, and that grant requests from our Foundation accounts were fulfilled without delay. Our goal was to ensure that we could quickly disburse funds into the charitable sector and help the many charities sent reeling by COVID-19.
As always, we’re here to support our donor clients’ charitable efforts in the months ahead. COVID-19 will be with us for some time and their giving goals have obviously pivoted as a result. Together we’ll continue bringing hope to those who need it most, while growing our donors’ philanthropic legacies.
The Canada Gives Team