Dalhousie Medical Research Foundation

5743 University Avenue, Suite 98
Halifax, NS B3H 4R2
CEO: Brian Thompson
Board Chair: Allan Shaw

Website: www.dmrf.ca
Charitable Reg. #: 11922 9318 RR0001
Sector: Health
Public Foundation

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

Audited financial statements for current and previous years 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

2016 2017 2018
For a dollar donated, cents funding the cause after fundraising and admin costs, excluding surplus.

Full-time staff #5

Avg. Compensation $105,617

Top 10 Staff Salary Range

$350k + 0
$300k - $350k 0
$250k - $300k 0
$200k - $250k 0
$160k - $200k 0
$120k - $160k 1
$80k - $120k 2
$40k - $80k 2
< $40k 0
Information from most recent CRA Charities Directorate filings for F2017

About Dalhousie Medical Research Foundation:

Founded in 1979, Dalhousie Medical Research Foundation (DMRF) funds medical research at the Dalhousie University Medical School and its related research facilities across the Maritimes. DMRF funds research in four key areas: cancer, cardiology, neuroscience and mental health, and inflammation, inflection and immunity. The foundation’s office is in Halifax, Nova Scotia.

DMRF spent $1.5m on research grants (54% of total grants) in F2017. In addition, the foundation granted $837k (30% of total grants) to the Beatrice Hunter Cancer Research Institute (BHCRI) which is also based in Halifax. DMRF states that it directs all funding for cancer research to the BHCRI. On the BHCRI’s website, it states that “the institute provides a meeting place for researchers to share ideas and forge new collaborations at universities, hospitals and research institutes across Atlantic Canada and beyond.” Additionally, in 2018 Dalhousie researchers were awarded a total of 11 grants, representing a combined value of $7.7 million from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research.

DMRF provides grants to graduate students and postdoctoral fellows to encourage medical students to pursue research-oriented careers. In F2017, DMRF granted $220k (8% of total grants) to students in the Research in Medicine (RIM) Program at Dalhousie University. Each undergraduate student is provided with $5,000 to complete independent research projects. DMRF also granted $40k to graduate students (1% of total grants) and $54k in other prizes and awards (2%) in F2017.

DMRF also distributes equipment grants to Dalhousie medical researchers to set up and equip their laboratories. In F2017, DMRF provided $128k (5% of total grants) in equipment grants. The foundation has not provided a breakdown of its studentship, fellowship or equipment grant recipients since F2015.

Financial Review:

Dalhousie Medical Research Foundation is a medium-sized charity with donations of $3.9m in F2018.  Investment income earned on the foundation’s endowment fund was an additional $3.2m in F2018. 

Dalhousie Medical Research Foundation's administration costs are 17% of donations (and also government funding of $2k), and fundraising costs are 24% of donations. Consistently using a global ratio, Charity Intelligence calculates that DMRF spent 41% on overhead. This is outside Ci’s reasonable range. However, in 2013, DMRF "adopted a policy of funding operating expenditures through investment income", as noted in Financial Note 2, see audited financial statements link above. DMRF's money earned from investments is available to offset overhead costs on donations, see charity's comment below.

Donors most asked question is "how much of my donation goes to the cause?" For charities with big endowments, this is a tricky question. The financial statements do not tell how much of donations go towards research grants, "the cause", relative to the endowment's investment income.  Nor does one know how much of DMRF's $1.9m annual surplus (26% of revenues) in F2018 is donations or investment income. Furthermore, DMRF says that 100% of donations to some appeals go to research. Different fundraising events and different appeals will have different costs. The CRA Charities Directorate requires charities to report using a global calculation.  

Dalhousie Medical Research Foundation has total funding reserves of $86.5m, which include $78.6m (91%) of endowed funds. DMRF's audited financial statements do not disclose donor-endowed and board-endowed funds. As such, Charity Intelligence can not breakout donor-endowed funds from total funding reserves. Assuming a 5% annual return on DMRF’s endowment fund, annual granting activities can be covered indefinitely. 

DMRF's funding reserves earned investment income of $3.2m in F2018. This represents an annual return on investment of 4% compared with investment returns of 14% in F2017. As of F2018, the foundation holds its investments in stocks (78%) and bonds (18%), similar to weightings in F2017.

This charity report is an update that has been sent to Dalhousie Medical Research Foundation for review. Charity Intelligence and DMRF management have discussed this report. Additional changes and edits may be forthcoming.

Updated on August 3, 2018 by Derek Houlberg. Edited on May 24, 2019 by Kate Bahen.

Financial Ratios

Fiscal year ending March
Administrative costs as % of revenues 16.5%14.8%11.4%
Fundraising costs as % of donations 24.3%24.0%16.5%
Program cost coverage (%) 2,361.3%3,073.0%2,440.6%

Summary Financial Statements

All figures in $000s
Donations 3,9583,4644,408
Government funding 200
Investment income 3,17810,359(2,035)
Total revenues 7,13813,8242,374
Grants 3,6622,7683,075
Administrative costs 654512502
Fundraising costs 963832728
Cash flow from operations 1,8599,711(1,932)
Funding reserves 86,47785,06775,053
Note: Ci has backed out government funding of $25k in F2015, gathered from the charity’s T3010 CRA filings, from donations. Ci has backed out amortization from administrative and fundraising costs on a pro-rated basis.

Comments added by the Charity:

100% of donations to our annual programs, such as the Molly Appeal, In Memoriam, and other fundraising initiatives are directed to research projects in Medicine, Health and Dentistry at Dalhousie University.

The statement above that only $.61 of every dollar donated to DMRF is directed toward research grants is based on a generic calculation and is incorrect. Ci has assumed that donations are directed first toward administration and fundraising costs, with the remaining balance going to grants. The impact of investment income, a significant source of funding for us and other similar foundations, has been omitted.

Owing to the foresight of our founding members and careful investment management, the Foundation’s endowment has grown significantly over the past 40 years. Investment income on these endowed funds not only supports an increasing amount of research funding, a portion also covers our operating costs. This spending policy is articulated in Note 2 to our audited financial statements.

Comments submitted regarding F2017 rating and review.

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