It takes a community to create lasting change. At Canada Gives, we’re honoured to spend our days working with a group of dedicated and generous philanthropists and their families, who are on a constant search for new ways to make a difference. This past year they did exactly that, and more. They not only supported a full range of causes across the not-for-profit spectrum, but continued to leverage the benefits of the flexible Donor Advised Fund structure and the support of the Canada Gives Client Services team—and all in the midst of a global pandemic, no less.
The Canada Gives Annual Impact Report 2021 showcases another year of giving success, but also unprecedented growth. While our mission is to channel as much funding to the charitable sector as possible, we couldn’t have predicted the extent of our Foundation families’ generosity over the past year. As you’ll see in the Report, we’re very proud to announce that we managed to exceed the previous year’s record grants of $19.6 million to charity, surging to an awe-inspiring $20.7 million in 2021. This brings our total grants to Canadian charities since inception to $80 million.
Having the right tools helps enhance their generosity. Because they have a Donor Advised Fund already in place, our determined philanthropists are able to take swift action to lend their support to the charitable sector at any time. And with the help of our Client Services team’s research and vetting expertise, they can target those gifts in highly effective ways. This opens the door to game-changing philanthropic opportunities, such as during the COVID-19 pandemic, and in the face of humanitarian crises such as the war in Ukraine.
There’s far more good news in the Report. As our Founder and CEO Denise Castonguay notes in the opening pages, the long-term goal when we founded Canada Gives in 2005 was to “ … support 100 families on their philanthropic journeys” by using DAFs, or Foundation accounts, as we call them. We’ve now exceeded that target. In fact, our total number of Foundation accounts increased to 210 in 2021, from 174 the year prior. The even bigger headline is that the total charitable assets in our Foundation accounts has leapt to a whopping $250.7 million from $118.7 million in 2020. Our total receipted donations also grew dramatically, to $153.4 million from $37.6 million.
This vote of confidence in the Canada Gives team, the Foundation account structure and the power of philanthropy is inspiring, but not surprising. Time and again, our donor clients and their families have proven that they’re ready, willing and able to make gifts, lend their time and share their knowledge to make the world a better place. Whether supporting causes at home or in a far-flung destination abroad, their desire to build a lasting legacy—one they can share with successive generations—is unrelenting.
We’re very lucky to be able to share some of their stories in our Annual Impact Report.
In it, we introduce you to Sabih Uddin, a retired pharmacist and philanthropist who emigrated to Canada from his native Pakistan as a young man. Uddin’s commitment to supporting childhood education in his home country spurred him to found Hope Charitable Foundation. His story is both inspiring and a wonderful example of the collaboration that occurs between Foundation account holders and our Client Services team.
We also detail the story of a philanthropist from Saskatoon, who shared his passion for giving with his adult children and stepchildren. It’s an important example of the power of multi-generational philanthropy, as well as the many ways that a DAF structure can involve an entire family in building a lasting charitable legacy.
Lastly, we bring you up to speed on our growth as an organization, along with the many ways we’ve worked to enhance the client service experience over the past year. Demand for our services has only grown over the course of the pandemic, despite the challenging conditions, and we’ve worked to not only meet, but to exceed our donor clients’ expectations every step of the way. With COVID-19 (hopefully) largely in the rear-view mirror, there are always new challenges facing our sector and new community needs to fulfill. The threat of recession and pressures such as inflation are already stressing the already-taxed services of many charitable organizations across Canada.
But there is no doubt that Canada Gives Foundation families will find ways to help and to extend their generosity to make sure their giving changes lives across the country—and beyond.
The Canada Gives Team