Escarpment Biosphere Conservancy

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

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

Results Reporting

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

Cents to the Cause

2014 2015 2016
For a dollar donated, cents funding the cause after fundraising and admin costs, excluding surplus.

Full-time staff #1

Avg. Compensation $36,919

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 F2016

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 activities, Escarpment Biosphere Conservancy acquired eight new Nature Reserves in F2016 and four new reserves so far in 2017. In total, EBC currently protects 158 Nature Reserves that account for over 12,500 acres of land. 54 of these Nature Reserves are habitats for rare and endangered species. EBC owns most of these reserves, but a few remain privately owned.

Escarpment Biosphere Conservancy believes that protected land provides ‘ecological services’ to Southern Ontario – 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 each protected acre of land provides $1,800 of ecological services annually. Based on EBC’s current nature reserves of 12,500 acres, the land it currently protects provides $22.5m 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.

Financial Review:

Escarpment Biosphere Conservancy is a medium-sized charity with total cash donations and land donations and easements of $2.6m in F2016. F2016 cash donations dropped 77% from the year before, largely due to a $480k decrease in grants from foundations. Most of EBC’s revenues come from land donations and easements, which increased by $1.9m, or 371%, from F2015 to F2016.

Ci included land donations and easements of $2.5m in F2016, $552k in F2015 and $1.6m in F2014 in program costs to better reflect operating cash flows, but excluded the amounts from program costs when calculating the charity’s program cost coverage ratio.

Administrative costs are 1% of revenues and fundraising costs are 1% of donations. Per dollar donated to the charity, $0.98 goes towards its programs, which falls outside Ci’s reasonable range for overhead spending. Funding reserves of $362k can cover annual program costs (excluding land donations and easements) for 1.65 years.

Updated on July 27, 2017 by Katie Khodawandi.

Financial Ratios

Fiscal year ending December
Administrative costs as % of revenues 0.9%3.0%3.0%
Fundraising costs as % of donations 1.0%0.4%3.8%
Program cost coverage (%) 13.5%54.4%24.9%

Summary Financial Statements

All figures in $s
Donations 150,632645,533303,577
Goods in kind 2,457,800522,3541,622,520
Business activities (net) 4,50011,3501,900
Investment income 29,71638,60570,304
Other income 15,48210,44311,490
Total revenues 2,658,1301,228,2852,009,791
Program costs 2,677,176744,9431,807,239
Administrative costs 23,48536,03458,696
Fundraising costs 1,4262,56611,595
Other costs 035,7610
Cash flow from operations (43,957)408,981132,261
Funding reserves 361,964405,243450,519
Note: Ci gathered program, administrative and fundraising costs from the charity’s T3010 CRA filings. Ci backed out depreciation from administrative costs. Ci treated GST/HST rebate as a reduction of operating expenses, backing the amount out of program, administrative and fundraising costs on a pro-rata basis.

Comments added by the Charity:

EBC spends most of its' limited resources accepting donations of land and conservation agreements. That means a dollar spent on appraisals and legal fees protects over $20 worth of land. In 2016 we protected 1,478 acres of land worth $2.5 million for about $90,000. In terms of useful services, that sequestereded an additional 19,563 tonnes of CO2 and ecosystems services valued at $4,540,000 by Ontario's Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry. We figure that's a very good return on every donated dollar. We protect 52 rare and endangered species on our reserves.

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