Engineers Without Borders

312 Adelaide St. W
Toronto, ON M6J 1A8
CEO: Boris Martin
Board Chair: Shayne Smith

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) 67 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 basic financing. 

In F2017, Engineers Without Borders supported 9 early-stage businesses with access to business professionals and investments of up to $100,000. EWB reports that these ventures created 203 jobs directly and impacted the lives of over 8 million people. One of the ventures, Rent to Own, is a for-profit business but the services it provides help other businesses grow. Rent to Own lets other small business owners access generators, refrigerators, or irrigation systems by paying for the technology over time. 

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 being 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. This year, EWB members had over 100 meetings with Canadian MPs.

Results and Impact: Engineers Without Borders deliberately chooses to support business ventures that will have economic impact beyond the individual business. Businesses that acquired assets with help from Rent to Own have seen a collective income increase of $1.4m. Another sponsored venture, LishaBora, has increased Kenyan dairy farmers’ profits by 25% by selling high-quality cattle feed. Investment and support from Engineers Without Borders makes ventures more attractive for other investors. For every $1 invested by EWB, ventures receive an average of $10.50 in additional investments.

The success of EWB advocacy efforts is reflected in $300m of new funding in support for social enterprises in Canada’s 2017 federal budget. The Standing Committee on Finance’s report to the House of Commons included EWB’s recommendations on Canada’s Official Development Assistance (aid funding).

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Engineers Without Borders is a medium-sized charity, with donations of $2.5m in F2017. Administrative costs are 7% of revenues and fundraising costs are 26% of donations. For every $1 donated, 67 cents go to the cause, falling within Charity Intelligence’s reasonable range. EWB has funding reserves of $223k. Reserves can cover programming for less than a month, indicating a need for funding.

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

Updated on June 6, 2018 by Madison Kerr.

Financial Review

Financial Ratios

Fiscal year ending October
Administrative costs as % of revenues 7.3%7.4%6.8%
Fundraising costs as % of donations 25.9%15.9%27.0%
Program cost coverage (%) 5.0%54.8%55.1%

Summary Financial Statements

All figures in $s
Donations 2,461,8183,131,1593,247,267
Government funding 1,459,2781,428,534603,776
Fees for service 655,316684,468673,377
Business activities (net) 301,812395,079516,320
Other income 77,88357,98520,648
Total revenues 4,956,1075,697,2255,061,388
Program costs - International 2,832,4872,873,4021,857,201
Program costs - Canada 1,598,6201,211,6461,200,906
Administrative costs 359,333420,166346,063
Fundraising costs 637,922498,042875,827
Cash flow from operations (472,255)693,969781,391
Funding reserves 223,3332,239,4491,684,374

Note: Ci has adjusted for deferred donations, affecting revenues by ($667k) in F2017, $532k in F2016, and $359k in F2015. Adjustments involving grossed chapter fundraising costs affected revenues by $450k and expenses by ($450k).

Salary Information

Full-time staff: 34

Avg. Compensation: $45,661

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 F2016

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