Escarpment Biosphere Conservancy

503 Davenport Road
Toronto, ON M4V 1B8
Executive Director: Robert Barnett
Board Chair: Miriam Henriques

Charitable Reg. #: 88878 2570 RR0001
Sector: Environment
Operating Charity

Charity Rating

[Charity Rating: 4/4]

Donor Accountability

Grade: B+

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

Financial Transparency

Most recent audited financial statements available on the charity's website [ Audited financial statement for most recent year ]

Need for Funding

Funding Reserves Program Costs

Spending Breakdown

Full-time staff #1

Avg. Compensation $18,325

Top 10 Staff Salary Range

$350k + 0
$300k - $350k 0
$250k - $300k 0
$200k - $250k 0
$160k - $200k 0
$120k - $160k 0
$80k - $120k 0
$40k - $80k 0
< $40k 1
Information from most recent CRA Charities Directorate filings for F2015

About Escarpment Biosphere Conservancy:

Founded in 1997, Escarpment Biosphere Canada (EBC) operates out of Toronto and focuses on protecting natural areas along the Niagara Escarpment. Land conservation is EBC’s primary activity and the charity reports that besides the Niagara escarpment, its current focus areas are the Huron Shore and the Saugeen Valley. EBC works with landowners to protect land through conservation agreements or donated land and severances. In a conservation agreement, the landowner creates a list of development restrictions that protect their land, which EBC must re-enforce when there is a turnover in land ownership. In return, the current landowner receives an income tax receipt equal to roughly 50% of the land’s value. With severances and donated land, landowners can either sell or donate their land to a Nature Reserve that EBC maintains. Land donations and easements are the major source of EBC’s Nature Reserves.

With its conservation programs, Escarpment Biosphere Conservancy acquired 13 new Nature Reserves in F2015, equal to 489 acres of land. In total, EBC currently protects 149 Nature Reserves that account for 11,378 acres of land. 64 of these Nature Reserves are habitat for rare and endangered species. Of EBC’s reserves, 34% is privately owned land under conservation agreements (3,874 acres of land). EBC owns the remaining 7,504 acres.

Escarpment Biosphere Conservancy believes that protected land provides ‘ecological services’ to Southern Ontario. EBC’s spring 2015 Precipice report states that natural land cleans air and water, prevents flooding, clears the atmosphere of carbon dioxide and provides habitat for pollinators. Based on studies that measure the economic benefit of these services, Escarpment Biosphere Conservancy claims that the 11,378 acres of land it currently protects provide $20.4m in ecological services annually.

Escarpment Biosphere Conservancy’s conservation efforts help with the Ontario Biodiversity Initiative that aims to protect 17% of Ontario south of the Canadian Shield by 2020. EBC reports that only 4.4% is currently protected, indicating that conservation charities across Ontario have work ahead in land conservation.

Financial Review:

Escarpment Biosphere Conservancy is a medium-sized charity with total cash donations and land donations and easements of $1.2m in F2015. F2015 cash donations were $342k higher than F2014 – a 113% increase – largely due to a $353k increase in foundation grants. Donated lands and easements revenues declined 68% from $1.6m in F2014 to only $522k in F2015. Most of EBC’s funding comes from land donations and easements and the charity states that its surplus consists of the land assets it holds in Nature Reserves.

Ci included donated land and easements of $522k in F2015, $1.6m in F2014 and $1.4m in F2014 in program costs to provide a more accurate representation of operating cash flows. Ci excluded donated land and easements from program costs when calculating EBC’s program cost coverage.

Administrative costs are 3% of revenues and fundraising costs are less than 1% of donations. $0.03 of every donated dollar goes toward overhead costs – this falls below Ci’s reasonable range for overhead spending. Escarpment Biosphere Conservancy holds funding reserves of $405k in F2015, which can cover annual program costs for 1.8 years.

This charity report is an update that is currently being reviewed by Escarpment Biosphere Conservancy. Changes and edits may be forthcoming.

Updated on July 20, 2016 by Katie Khodawandi.

Financial Ratios

Fiscal year ending December
Administrative costs as % of revenues 3.1%3.0%4.2%
Fundraising costs as % of donations 0.1%3.8%1.2%
Program cost coverage (%) 180.5%243.9%208.7%

Summary Financial Statements

All figures in $s
Donations 645,533303,577233,688
Goods in kind 522,3541,622,5201,378,400
Business activities (net) 11,3501,9004,000
Investment income 38,60570,30438,017
Other income 10,44311,49010,251
Total revenues 1,228,2852,009,7911,664,356
Program costs 746,8361,807,2391,594,771
Administrative costs 36,37858,69667,628
Fundraising costs 32811,5952,899
Other costs 35,76100
Cash flow from operations 408,982132,261(942)
Funding reserves 405,243450,519451,499
Note: EBC reported GST refunds of $18k in F2015, $15k in F2014 and $18k in F2013 in revenues. Ci recognized this item as a reduction of program, admin and fundraising costs based on % of total expenses. Ci reported rental income gross of expenses in business activities revenues. Ci reported land donations and easements of $522k in F2015, $1.6m in F2014 and $1.4m in F2013 in donated goods in kind, and Hydro One income of $10k in F2015, $11k in F2014 and $10k in F2013 in other income. Ci backed out amortization of $5k in F2015 from administrative costs. Ci gathered its expense breakdown for all three years of analysis from the charity’s T3010 CRA filings. In F2014, Ci could not reconcile total expenses reported in the audited financial statements with total expenses reported in the charity’s T3010 filing.

Comments added by the Charity:

Escarpment Conservancy uses half of donated dollars to receive DONATED land. This means that donations pay primarily for appraisals and legal fees meaning that each donation is magnified at least ten times.

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