David Suzuki Foundation

219-2211 West 4th Avenue
Vancouver, BC V6K 4S2
CEO: Steve Cornish
Board Chair: Margot Young

Charitable Reg. #:12775 6716 RR0001


Ci's Star Rating is calculated based on the following independent metrics:

[Charity Rating: 5/5]



Audited financial statements for current and previous years available on the charity’s website.



Grade based on the charity's public reporting of the work it does and the results it achieves.



The demonstrated impact per dollar Ci calculates from available program information.


Charity's cash and investments (funding reserves) relative to how much it spends on programs in most recent year.



For a dollar donated, after overhead costs of fundraising and admin/management (excluding surplus) 76 cents are available for programs.

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About David Suzuki Foundation:

Founded in 1990, David Suzuki Foundation (DSF) works to protect Canada’s natural environment. The charity is based in Vancouver, with offices in Toronto and Montreal. Of its total program spending, DSF allocated 30% to communications, education, and public engagement, 22% to science and policy, 20% to British Columbia and Western Canada, 17% to Quebec and Atlantic Canada, and 11% to Ontario and Northern Canada in F2020. DSF focuses its work on three main areas: climate solutions, thriving nature, and sustainable communities. The charity does not provide a breakdown of spending on these programs.

DSF’s goal for climate solutions is to end carbon pollution and use 100% renewable energy by 2050. DSF uses legal action to pressure the Canadian government to respond to climate change. In 2020, DSF paid for legal costs of 15 Canadian youth in a lawsuit against the federal government for its role in climate change. DSF also hosted the Nature-Based Climate Solutions Summit, which had more than 400 participants.

DSF’s goal for thriving nature is to protect and restore Canada’s land and oceans. DSF advocates for endangered and at-risk species, including marine life, butterflies, and caribou. In F2019, Canada announced new laws to protect at-risk orcas and salmon. These included whale-watching restrictions, no-vessel zones, and limits to salmon harvests. In F2020, DSF's Butterflyway Project planted pesticide-free flowers across 134 communities to help monarch butterflies in their yearly migration.

DSF’s goal for sustainable communities is to reduce Canada’s ecological footprint by a third by 2030. DSF states that 8.8 million people die early from air pollution each year. Launched in 2014, DSF’s Blue Dot movement pushes for the recognition of environmental rights across Canada. In F2020, two Blue Dot volunteers created an e-petition to urge the federal government to update the Canadian Environmental Protection Act (CEPA). CEPA has not been updated in over 20 years. DSF reports that the petition received over 8,000 signatures and was submitted to the house of commons.

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Results and Impact

In F2020, David Suzuki Foundation appeared in court in three provinces to advocate for national climate solutions, including a carbon price. DSF won two of the cases, which were in Ontario and Saskatchewan. DSF states that these cases were the first time climate change had been discussed in the context of Canada’s Constitution. In March 2021, the Supreme Court of Canada declared the federal government’s right to introduce carbon pricing.

In F2020, the Province of British Columbia, the federal government, and West Moberly and Saulteau First Nations signed an agreement to protect boreal caribou. DSF reports that 36 of the 51 boreal caribou populations in Canada are unlikely to survive without these changes.

In F2020, an oil exploration company dropped its proposal to drill a well site in Newfoundland and Labrador. DSF states that the project threatened endangered blue whales. DSF had been fighting the project since 2008.

In September 2020, Quebec reached its goal of 10% marine protected areas. DSF states that these actions protect threatened beluga whales and other species in the St. Lawrence River.  

While Ci highlights these key results, they may not be a complete representation of David Suzuki Foundation’s results and impact.

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David Suzuki Foundation had total donations and special event revenue of $12.7m in F2020. Administrative costs are 7% of revenues (excluding investment income) and fundraising costs are 17% of donations. This results in total overhead spending of 24%. For every dollar donated, 76 cents go to the cause. This is within Ci’s reasonable range for overhead spending.

DSF has $22.5m in total funding reserves, of which $9.3m is donor endowed. Excluding donor-endowed funds, DSF could cover 152% or roughly one and a half years of its annual program costs with reserves.

According to DSF’s annual filing with the Charities Directorate, it paid external fundraisers $330k in F2020. It does not report how much these external fundraisers raised. 

Charity Intelligence sent an update of this report to David Suzuki Foundation for review. Changes and edits may be forthcoming.

Updated on June 25, 2021 by Sydney Olexa.

Financial Review

Financial Ratios

Fiscal year ending August
Administrative costs as % of revenues 7.0%5.7%4.8%
Fundraising costs as % of donations 16.9%17.3%18.7%
Total overhead spending 23.9%23.0%23.5%
Program cost coverage (%) 152.4%144.3%143.4%

Summary Financial Statements

All figures in $000s
Donations 12,60011,4149,764
Government funding 8700
Special events 67462307
Investment income 1,072691,169
Other income 1855335
Total revenues 14,01211,99811,275
Program costs 9,1198,6087,813
Grants 159397
Administrative costs 907679489
Fundraising costs 2,1402,0521,883
Total spending 12,18111,43210,281
Cash flow from operations 1,831566994
Capital spending 6113163
Funding reserves 22,47921,14919,941

Note: Ci reported endowment contributions in donations, increasing revenues by $7k in F2018. Ci reported realized and unrealized gains on endowment fund investments in investment income, affecting revenues by $683k in F2020, ($403k) in F2019, and $749k in F2018. Ci reported grants to qualified donees from the charity's T3010 CRA filings and backed out the amounts from program costs. Ci backed out amortization of capital assets from program, administrative, and fundraising costs on a pro-rata basis. Ci reported government donations from the charity's T3010 CRA filings. 

Salary Information

Full-time staff: 68

Avg. compensation: $94,684

Top 10 staff salary range:

$350k +
$300k - $350k
$250k - $300k
$200k - $250k
$160k - $200k
$120k - $160k
$80k - $120k
$40k - $80k
< $40k

Information from most recent CRA Charities Directorate filings for F2020

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Comments & Contact

Comments added by the Charity:

No comments have been added by the charity.

Charity Contact

Website: www.davidsuzuki.org
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. Tel: 604-732-4228


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Charitable Registration Number: 80340 7956 RR0001