Bruce Trail Conservancy

55 Head St., Unit 101
Dundas, ON L9H 3H8
CEO: Beth Gilhespy
Board Chair: Warren Bell

Charitable Reg. #:11921 7578 RR0001


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

[Charity Rating: 4/4]



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) 78 cents are available for programs.

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About Bruce Trail Conservancy:

Founded in 1967, Bruce Trail Conservancy (BTC) is a membership-based charity working to conserve public access to the Niagara Escarpment. The charity has nine regional Bruce Trail Clubs that are each responsible for maintaining, stewarding and promoting a section of the Bruce Trail. The Niagara Escarpment is recognized as a UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve because residents work to balance conservation and preservation of the land with surrounding development. It is one of only 18 biosphere reserves in Canada. Despite Bruce Trail Conservancy’s work, 36% of the Bruce Trail corridor is still not permanently protected from development.

BTC currently manages 10,370 acres of land along the Escarpment, containing 154km of the Bruce Trail’s Optimum Route – this refers to routes in desirable locations that explore the best of the Escarpment. The Bruce Trail’s main trail is 895km, with an additional 435km of side trails. BTC runs four core programs – land acquisition, membership, land stewardship, and trail maintenance.

Through the Land Acquisition program, BTC primarily purchases land using cash donations to increase protection levels of the Bruce Trail and Escarpment. The charity also assumes ownership of land donated by landowners. In 2017, BTC reports creating 10 new nature reserves and acquiring 1 new land easement. These activities resulted in 1,102 acres of Escarpment land being acquired, the most ever in a single year.

Members of the BTC have access to over 1,500 guided hikes and snowshoe events, receive the quarterly Bruce Trail Magazine, invitations to special events and access to guided hikes. The charity reports a 4% increase in membership in 2017, reaching an all-time high of 9,698 memberships. BTC reports enrollment in automatic membership renewal increased by 17% in 2017.

BTC’s Land Stewardship program monitors and takes care of land acquired through the Land Acquisition program. The charity stated that over 9,100 acres of Escarpment land is cared for by volunteers of the program. In 2017, BTC recorded 77 new occurrences of rare or endangered species on its preserved land.

Results and Impact: Because of BTC’s Land Acquisition program, 64% of the Bruce Trail is now permanently protected from urban development. In 2017, BTC reported that 8.9km more of Bruce Trail’s Optimum Route was secured. 85% of surveyed volunteers said that their volunteer job gave them a sense of accomplishment in 2017. BTC states that in 2017, 1,102 acres of land were added to the Land Stewardship program.

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Bruce Trail Conservancy is a medium-sized charity with donations of $4.3m in F2017. Administrative costs are 11% of revenues and fundraising costs are 11% of donations. Per dollar donated to the charity, $0.78 goes towards its programs. This falls within Ci’s reasonable range for overhead spending. The charity’s funding reserves of $2.9m can cover 73% of annual program costs. This means that BTC has enough funding to cover 9 months of program costs. This indicates a need for donations.

Charity Intelligence records donations restricted for land purchases and land donations as revenue for BTC. The value of the donated land and cost of land acquired are recorded as expenses by Ci. The charity acquired a record amount of land in 2017 funded by BTC donors and donated by landowners. This has resulted in BTC’s F2017 revenue and expenses being significantly higher than prior years.

This charity report is an update that has been sent to Bruce Trail Conservancy for review. Comments and edits may be forthcoming.

Updated on August 22, 2017 by Derek Houlberg.

Financial Review

Financial Ratios

Fiscal year ending June
Administrative costs as % of revenues 11.3%13.4%13.3%
Fundraising costs as % of donations 11.1%13.4%13.6%
Program cost coverage (%) 73.0%131.9%115.2%

Summary Financial Statements

All figures in $s
Donations 4,259,8432,959,8922,417,312
Goods in kind 864,400265,000161,050
Government funding 51,01414,61557,420
Business activities (net) 49,62065,11184,803
Investment income 171,80033,603145,726
Other income 24,01422,71511,572
Total revenues 5,420,6913,360,9362,877,883
Program costs 3,915,9752,175,8232,440,872
Grants 27,02235,00148,185
Administrative costs 591,993447,191363,946
Fundraising costs 472,917395,369327,711
Other costs 6,8294,67611,675
Cash flow from operations 405,955302,876(314,506)
Funding reserves 2,877,4232,915,1732,866,722

Note: BTC’s F2017 financial statements have been restated. Ci reports F2016 numbers from the charity’s F2017 statements and F2015 numbers from the F2016 statements. Ci reported donated land of $864k in F2107, $265k in F2016 and $161k in F2015 in donated goods in kind and program costs. Ci recognized restricted donations received for land purchases, increasing total revenues by $1.3m in F2017, $572k in F2016 and $520k in F2015. Ci reported Bruce Trail Enterprises revenue net of expenses, reducing total revenues and expenses by $64k in F2017, $77k in F2016 and $95k in F2015. Ci reported investment income net of investment management fees, reducing total revenues and expenses by $22k in F2017, $22k in F2016 and $27k in F2015. Ci reported unrealized gains (losses) in investment income, affecting total revenues by $94k in F2017, ($26k) in F2016 and ($9k) in F2015. Ci reported foreign currency exchange gains (losses) in investment income, affecting total revenues by $5k in F2017, $0.3k in F2016 and $3k in F2015. Ci reported gains on sale of land assets in other revenue, affecting total revenues by $14k in F2016. Ci reported land acquisition costs net of land sales in program costs, affecting total expenses by $1.7m in F2017, $700k in F2016 and $1.1m in F2015.

Salary Information

Full-time staff: 16

Avg. Compensation $81,674

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 F2017

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