Distress Centre Calgary

Suite 500, 999 8th Street SW
Calgary, AB T2R 1J5
CEO: Robyn Romano
Board Chair: Melville Duncan

Charitable Reg. #:10702 1024 RR0001


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

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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 Distress Centre Calgary:

Founded in 1970, Distress Centre Calgary (DCC) works to improve the health and wellbeing of people in distress by providing resources including 24/7 crisis support. Through immediate access to support and information, the charity works to prevent crises from worsening. In F2018, DCC was contacted 140,746 times, an increase of 14% from the previous year.

In F2018, 39% of program spending was allocated to 211 calls and the Basic Needs Fund. People can call the free, confidential 211 number for referral to community, health, and government services. The service is provided in over 200 languages, reaching the Calgary area and other communities throughout Alberta. In F2018, $181,880 was distributed to 222 clients from the Basic Needs Fund. The one-time financial support is used in emergency situations such as avoiding eviction or disconnected utilities. Of fund recipients in F2018, 94% reported that the fund helped to stabilize their personal crisis.

The 24/7 crisis support service received 32% of program spending in F2018. People can call, email, or use an online chat to receive emergency support. Crisis topics include domestic violence risk, mental health issues, children at risk of abuse/neglect, and chronic loneliness. DCC uses trained volunteers who are supported by professional staff rather than paid staff because the charity has found that volunteers can better relate to a client’s experiences. In F2018, DCC responded to 89,710 crisis support requests.

Connecteen received 27% of program spending in F2018. Youth can talk to peers or an adult through phone, text, email, or an online chat. DCC responds to a variety of concerns which frequently include mental health issues, friendships and relationships, bullying, and school. In F2018, DCC responded to 7,709 Connecteen requests, representing a 39% increase in contacts from the previous year.  

DCC allocated the remaining 2% of program spending to counselling in F2018. The face-to-face counselling addresses short-term crises with clients receiving up to six sessions. The charity completed 2,608 sessions in F2018, working with individuals, couples, and families. Of the counselling clients surveyed by DCC, 90% provided a positive review of their counselling experience.

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Results and Impact

In 2016, Distress Centre Calgary conducted an evaluation with SiMPACT Strategy Group, finding that the 24/7 crisis support produced $7.42 in social benefit per dollar spent on the program. Social benefit from the service is created when DCC intervenes in a suicide or de-escalates a situation to avoid police intervention and use of emergency rooms.

Charity Intelligence has given Distress Centre Calgary a Fair impact rating based on demonstrated impact per dollar spent.

Impact Rating: Fair

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Distress Centre Calgary is a medium-sized charity with donations of $2.7m in F2018. Administrative costs are 15% of revenues less investment income, and fundraising costs are 9% of donations. For every dollar donated, 76 cents go to the cause, which is within Ci’s reasonable range for overhead spending. DCC has $1.9m in funding reserves which could cover six months of program costs.

This charity profile is an update which was been sent to Distress Centre Calgary for review. Changes and edits may be forthcoming.

Updated on June 28, 2019 by Madison Kerr.

Financial Review

Financial Ratios

Fiscal year ending December
Administrative costs as % of revenues 15.0%14.2%13.6%
Fundraising costs as % of donations 8.7%11.5%9.9%
Program cost coverage (%) 52.2%45.7%47.9%

Summary Financial Statements

All figures in $s
Donations 2,713,3522,090,9372,306,275
Government funding 1,732,5742,333,9792,350,095
Lotteries (net) 57,47244,92945,919
Investment income 12,9879,9789,081
Total revenues 4,516,3854,479,8234,711,370
Program costs 3,595,0713,489,2513,514,129
Administrative costs 673,355632,698637,643
Fundraising costs 235,290241,160227,968
Cash flow from operations 12,669116,714331,630
Capital spending 000
Funding reserves 1,877,8961,595,6121,684,673

Note: Government funding may be understated for F2018 as the charity’s T3010 was not available at the time of the charity profile update. Government funding for F2017 and F2016 have been adjusted to reflect the values reported on the charity’s T3010.

Salary Information

Full-time staff: 28

Avg. compensation: $74,972

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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Comments & Contact

Comments added by the Charity:

This comment has been previously added by the charity and may not reflect the current profile:

Distress Centre Calgary has provided 24 hour crisis support in Calgary and southern Alberta since 1970. They do this through their 24 hour crisis line, email, chat and texting for youth. They have a peer support phone and online crisis service for youth. The charity has professional counselling for more complex issues and an information and referral service through 211. Their crisis and 211 phone service is offered in over 200 languages. They do not define crisis. They do not judge. Distress Centre is here for everyone day or night and all of their services are free.  

Distress Centre Calgary’s mission is to “provide compassionate, accessible crisis support that enhances the health, well-being and resiliency of individuals in distress.”  In 2016 their 486 volunteers responded to 113,975 contacts.

Charity Contact

Website: www.distresscentre.com
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