Tides Canada

400-163 W Hastings St.
Vancouver, BC V6B 1H5
President & CEO: Ross McMillan
Board Chair: Andrew Heintzman

Website: www.tidescanada.org
Charitable Reg. #: 86894 7797 RR0001
Sector: Environment
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

2015 2016 2017
For a dollar donated, cents funding the cause after fundraising and admin costs, excluding surplus.

Full-time staff #65

Avg. Compensation $63,587

Top 10 Staff Salary Range

$350k + 0
$300k - $350k 0
$250k - $300k 0
$200k - $250k 1
$160k - $200k 2
$120k - $160k 1
$80k - $120k 6
$40k - $80k 0
< $40k 0
Information from most recent CRA Charities Directorate filings for F2016

About Tides Canada:

Founded in 2000, Tides Canada’s mission is to provide uncommon solutions for the common good by helping Canadians secure a healthy environment in ways that promote social equity and economic prosperity. The charity looks to help steer more donations into solutions that address Canada’s current social and environmental challenges. Since founding, Tides Canada has supported over 2,500 initiatives with grants totalling $158.4m in support of environmental and social change.

Tides Canada focuses its grants on seven core issue areas: Resilient Communities (44% of F2017 grants), Healthy Oceans (20%), Healthy Watersheds (13%), Protected Land and Forests (8%), Sustainable Food Systems (6%), Sustainable Livelihoods (4%), and Clean Energy and Climate Solutions (1%). In F2017, the charity supported over 50 unique community-led projects across Canada that were in its core issue areas. Tides Canada reports that 7 of the 8 new shared platform projects started in F2017 were Indigenous-led or provide programs to support Indigenous communities.

The charity also manages about 200 donor advised funds (4% of F2017 grants), with the donations to each individual fund directed for specific purposes. Tides Canada notes that donor advised funds allow Canadians to easily give, view their fund’s activity and advise grants to charities at any time through the online portal. It claims to minimize the costs involved in giving so donors can have maximum impact on problems they care about.

Financial Review:

Charity Intelligence’s financial analysis of Tides Canada comes from the consolidated financial statements of Tides Canada Foundation (TCF) and Tides Canada Initiatives Society (TCI). TCF is a national public foundation that primarily distributes its funds to other organizations through grants. TCI is an operating charity that achieves its mission by using its funds to run programs.

Tides Canada is one of Canada’s largest charities, a Major 100, with donations of $19.2m in F2017. Its donations are 18% lower than in F2016, and 43% lower than in F2015. Despite the significant decrease in donations, in F2017 the charity granted a total of 29% more than in F2015. Tides Canada does not report its administrative and fundraising costs separately in its audited financial statements. Its total overhead costs are 21% of revenues. Per dollar donated to the charity, $0.79 goes towards its grants (excluding donor-designated grants), which falls within Ci’s reasonable range for overhead spending. The charity’s funding reserves of $62.5m can cover just under 3 years of annual grants (excluding donor-designated grants). This does not indicate a need for donations.

This charity report is an update that has been sent to Tides Canada for review. Changes and edits may be forthcoming.

Updated on July 14, 2018 by Derek Houlberg.

Financial Ratios

Fiscal year ending December
Fundraising & admin costs as % of revenues 21.0%16.0%13.4%
Program cost coverage (%) 295.0%325.3%414.4%

Summary Financial Statements

All figures in $000s
Donations 19,17823,31633,507
Investment income 5,7473,9123,431
Other income 4,2344,2463,662
Total revenues 29,15931,47440,601
Grants 21,18918,80813,580
Donor-designated donations 1,1561,7373,723
Fundraising & administrative costs 4,9134,4114,989
Cash flow from operations 1,9016,51718,308
Funding reserves 62,51161,18356,273
Note: Ci removed amortization of deferred capital contributions from donations, decreasing total revenues by $92k in F2017, $92k in F2016 and $92k in F2015. Ci removed amortization on property and equipment from fundraising and administrative costs, decreasing total expenses by $311k in F2017, $240k in F2016 and $270k in F0215. Ci removed amortization on intangible assets from fundraising and administrative costs, decreasing total expenses by $53k in F2017, $55k in F2016 and $56k in F0215. Ci obtained the donor-designated grant amounts from the charity's annual reports.

Comments added by the Charity:

Transparency of information is a vital part of modern day charity. However, we believe that a one-size-fits-all model of evaluation based on financial results does not measure charities’ effectiveness or need for donations accurately. For example, Tides Canada Foundation receives funding to be allocated over the long term, designated for programmatic work to be conducted over multiple years. Charity Intelligence constructs a snapshot of a single fiscal year, resulting in a skewed view of revenues and programmatic expenditures that does not reflect the longer-term nature of our work. 

In addition, we have concerns over the oversight and accuracy of the financial information presented as we found significant errors in the financial calculations that Charity Intelligence originally posted. These have now been corrected in the current posting.

We do appreciate that Charity Intelligence includes comments from charities on their profiles, and that they seem committed to an increased focus on impact assessment.

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