Calgary Public Library Foundation

800 3 Street SE
Calgary, AB T2G 2E7
CEO: Tracy Johnson
Board Chair: Carl Landry

Charitable Reg. #:87292 3537 RR0001


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

[Charity Rating: 4/5]



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) 84 cents are available for programs.

My anchor


About Calgary Public Library Foundation:

Founded in 1999, Calgary Public Library Foundation (CPLF) fundraises for the Calgary Public Library Board. Its mission is to provide the Calgary community with the best public library system in the world. CPLF does not replace existing funding sources but instead seeks to enhance the collections, programs, and services offered by the 21 Calgary Public Library branches.

Calgary Public Library Foundation covers priority needs for its libraries that are not covered by the $60.2m received in government funding in F2019. Calgary Public Libraries received 7.7 million visits in F2019, representing a 12% increase from the previous year. Based on its total visits, the Calgary Public Library system received around $7.82 in grants per visit in F2019. This is down from $8.56 in grants per visit in F2018.

In 2011, CPLF announced Add In, a fundraising campaign with the goal of raising $350m for the library system. The campaign is built on 4 main pillars: Adding Imagination, Adding Inspiration, Adding Information, and Adding Innovation.

Adding Imagination (40% of projected spending) deals with library infrastructure. Projects include building new community libraries and purchasing book trucks. In F2019, CPLF celebrated one year since the grand opening of its new Central Library, which saw 1.7 million visitors during its first year. Adding Inspiration (27%) seeks to provide programs and events to children that will contribute to their well-being. Notable projects include early learning centres in all libraries and admission passes for arts and culture events. Adding Information (17%) refers to the acquisition of resources. Highlighted projects include the creation of a digital community library and a collections endowment. Adding Innovation (16%) seeks to implement new technologies. Highlighted projects include a startup business hub and a laptop lending program. In June 2019, CPLF reported that it had reached 99% its $350m fundraising goal.

My anchor

Results and Impact

Calgary Public Library Foundation underwent a social audit led by BERK Consulting. The findings were published online in January 2016. According to the study, each dollar invested in the Calgary Public Library leads to a return of between $2.66 and $5.73 in direct benefits. The midpoint value of the direct benefits is $4.20 per dollar invested. Direct benefits are defined as the calculated gain received by clients using library services and programs.

The study also found that each dollar invested generates an economic impact of between $3.30 and $6.38. The midpoint value is $4.84. Economic impact is defined as both direct benefits and community benefits after dollars are spent and then circulated in the Calgary economy.

While Ci highlights these key results, they may not be a complete representation of Calgary Public Library Foundation’s results and impact.

My anchor


Calgary Public Library Foundation is a large charity with donations and special events revenues of $9.7m in F2019. Administrative costs are 7% of revenues (less investment income) and fundraising costs are 10% of donations and special events revenue. As a result, total overhead spending is 16%. For every dollar donated, 84 cents go towards the charity’s programs. This falls within Ci’s reasonable range for overhead spending.

CPLF’s fundraising ratio, which has historically been 26% of donations, dropped by 16% in F2019 due to a substantial decrease in special events costs. In F2019, the foundation reported that it spent $26k on fundraising through special events, a 95% decrease from $532k spent on special events in F2018. The financial statements do not provide details on any differences in special events and fundraising activities between F2018 and F2019.

CPLF has funding reserves of $10.6m, which leads to a program cost coverage ratio of 312% excluding donated goods. This means that the foundation can cover its annual program costs for 3.1 years.

This charity report is an update that is being reviewed by Calgary Public Library Foundation. Changes and edits may be forthcoming.

Updated on May 29, 2020 by Eric Zhao.

Financial Review

Financial Ratios

Fiscal year ending December
Administrative costs as % of revenues 6.8%7.1%6.9%
Fundraising costs as % of donations 9.5%26.6%25.3%
Total overhead spending 16.3%33.7%32.1%
Program cost coverage (%) 312.3%159.2%67.1%

Summary Financial Statements

All figures in $000s
Donations 9,5527,8804,649
Goods in kind 316640544
Business activities (net) 891995
Special events 1061,195580
Investment income 3654025
Total revenues 10,4299,7735,893
Grants 3,3793,3213,245
Donated goods exp 36391258
Administrative costs 684695404
Fundraising costs 9192,4141,320
Total spending 5,0186,8215,229
Cash flow from operations 5,4112,952664
Capital spending 0(82)18
Funding reserves 10,5555,2882,177

Note: Ci removed amortization of deferred capital contributions, affecting revenues by ($nil) in F2019, ($101k) in F2018, and ($30k) in F2017. Ci reported merchandise revenue net of expenses, affecting total revenues and expenses by ($54k) in F2019, ($50k) in F2018, and ($46k) in F2017. Ci calculated casino revenue net of expenses, affecting total revenues and expenses by ($nil) in F2019, ($2k) in F2018, and ($nil) in F2017. In F2019, the foundation began to report unrealized gains (losses) on investments as part of its revenue, which was not reported as revenue in F2018 and F2017. Ci reported unrealized gains (losses) for all three years, affecting revenues by ($62k) in F2018 and ($3k) in F2017.

Salary Information

Full-time staff: 14

Avg. Compensation: $83,174

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

My anchor

Comments & Contact

Comments added by the Charity:

No comments have been added by charity

Charity Contact

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. Tel: 403-221-2002