(January 23, 2023) In Public Foundations and their Priorities, we look at the he behaviour of public foundations—where they get their revenue and where they spend it?
And, as the pandemic has upended the lives of so many Canadians, it has also created an opportunity to look at the previously opaque practice of the Canadian charitable foundation practices.
For our study, we looked at two groupings of public foundations:
- The performance of ALL public foundations (about 4,900) was reviewing for 2019.
- The performance of the top 20 public foundations by gross asset value from 2006 through to 2019
Public foundations include hospital foundations, community foundations, foundations holding DAF funds by demographic connection, and DAF-based foundations that have been put into place by banks and investment companies to hold their clients’ donor advised funds (DAFs).
Some notable findings include:
- In 2006, the top 20 public foundation held about $5 billion in gross assets. By 2019, the top 20 public foundation held 16.4 billion dollars in assets—an increase of $11.4 billion.
- In 2019, about 63% of public foundations expenditures were made on grants to qualified donees.
- More than three-quarters of recipients received a grant of $10,000 or less; 40% received grants less than $1,000.
- .54% of charities received the 60% of grant revenue in 2019
- The amount of public money going into public foundations has also grown significantly, in the form of charitable tax credits. In 2006, the top 20 public foundations received $1.31 billion in tax credits. In 2019, the top 20 public foundations received $4.02 billion in tax credits. From 2006 to 2019, the federal government issued $11.0 billion in tax credits to Canada’s top 20 public foundations.
- In the period covered by this research (2006 – 2019), the top 20 public foundations took more money from the ‘charity economy’ than they put back in, making only $9.0 billion grants to qualified donees, compared to the $11.0 billion they received in tax-receipted income.
- The top 7 hospital foundations in Canada spent almost $2 billion in fundraising costs from 2006 and 2019.
- The average wage of staff working at hospital foundations is $126,127. The average wage of a staff person at a community foundation is $103,874.