Engineers Without Borders

312 Adelaide Street West
Toronto, ON M6J 1A8
CEO: Boris Martin
Board Chair: Rebecca Kresta

Charitable Reg. #:88980 1815 RR0001


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

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Audited financial statements available only upon request.



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) 52 cents are available for programs.

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About Engineers Without Borders:

Founded in 1999, Engineers Without Borders (EWB) fights poverty by investing in people and ventures. Sub-Saharan Africa has 250 million people working in 17.7 million small and growing businesses, but it is difficult for these entrepreneurs to access capital, talent, and business networks. EWB believes that strategic support of small businesses can increase a community’s education, housing infrastructure, employment opportunities, food supply, and access to financing. 

In F2019, Engineers Without Borders supported eight small and growing businesses, three evolving engineering ventures, and three governance ventures. Ventures receive access to business professionals and investments of up to $100,000.

In F2019, Engineers Without Borders invested $50,000 in MPost, which provides a digital address to people with no formal postal address in Kenya. The digital address has helped students receive university enrollment paperwork and helped remote villagers purchase goods. Since its founding in 2016, MPost has given close to 50,000 individuals a formal address, engaged more than 4,000 delivery agents, and has moved 30,000 letters and parcels. EWB has also supported Tibu Health, a telemedicine service that provides patients with flexible care from a health care professional. Patients can book an at-home appointment with a doctor, which reduces the fixed costs of traditional health care facilities and improves wait times.

Engineers Without Borders runs fellowship programs where university students and business professionals spend up to a year in Africa. Fellows support local businesses by providing expertise on hiring staff, appealing to investors, and managing finances. Fellows come from 40 chapters across Canada, with many of the chapters associated with a university. People pay a fee of $40 (or $20 for students) to become a chapter member. Membership fees partially offset the cost of running leadership and career development workshops in Canada. Chapter members also participate in EWB advocacy efforts, calling for the Canadian government to administer foreign aid more effectively. During the 2019 Canadian federal election, EWB’s public engagement efforts resulted in 76 candidates issuing public statements of support to increase Canada’s official development assistance ratio to 0.7% of donors’ national income.

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Results and Impact

FarmDrive is a business in Nairobi that uses data analytics to connect farmers with financial institutions and credit. Farmers use mobile phones to create a financial profile of their farming operation. Financial institutions can then use the data to decide whether or not to approve loans. Since 2016, FarmDrive has contributed loan portfolios of more than $25,000 to smallholder farmers who had never received credit. Also, M-Shule is an adaptive technology that provides personalized lessons to students through SMS and provides data to relevant stakeholders. During the 2017 pilot project, M-Shule helped improve student exam scores by 23%. Students also reported greater self-confidence in their learning.  

According to Engineers Without Borders, venture investments have impacted 11 million people. Further, ventures can raise $18 for every $1 EWB invests.

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Engineers Without Borders is a Medium-sized charity, receiving $2.1m in donations in F2019. The charity also received $2.4m in government funding (46% of revenues) and $576k in venture generated revenue (11% of revenues). Administrative costs are 14% of revenues and fundraising costs are 34% of donations. For every dollar donated, 52 cents go to the cause. This is not within Ci’s reasonable range for overhead spending. Funding reserves of $894k can cover three months of annual program costs.

In F2018, Engineers Without Borders paid external fundraisers $8k. The charity did not report how much revenue was collected by fundraisers.

This charity report is an update that has been sent to Engineers Without Borders for review. Changes and edits may be forthcoming.

Updated on July 13, 2020 by Tenzin Shomar.

Financial Review

Financial Ratios

Fiscal year ending October
Administrative costs as % of revenues 13.8%8.0%6.0%
Fundraising costs as % of donations 33.8%34.9%20.4%
Total overhead spending 47.6%42.8%26.3%
Program cost coverage (%) 21.6%56.9%15.4%

Summary Financial Statements

All figures in $000s
Donations 2,0572,5453,129
Government funding 2,3851,8701,459
Fees for service 5761,040655
Business activities (net) 177262302
Other income 42378
Total revenues 5,2375,7215,623
Program costs - International 3,1983,2772,832
Program costs - Canada 9341,2761,599
Grants 0250
Administrative costs 723457334
Fundraising costs 695887638
Total spending 5,5515,9225,403
Cash flow from operations (314)(201)220
Capital spending 000
Funding reserves 8942,604681

Note: Ci has removed amortization from administrative costs and is listed as a separate, non-cash expense.

Salary Information

Full-time staff: 34

Avg. Compensation: $60,814

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 F2018

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