Alberta Wilderness Association

455 - 12 St NW
Calgary, AB T2N 1Y9
Executive Director: Christyann Olson
Board President: Jim Campbell

Charitable Reg. #:11878 1251 RR0001


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

[Charity Rating: 5/5]



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) 71 cents are available for programs.

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About Alberta Wilderness Association:

Founded in 1965, Alberta Wilderness Association’s (AWA) mission is to preserve Alberta’s wilderness, water, and wildlife. It does this by seeking protection for regions that represent the province’s characteristic landscapes. AWA’s major program is wilderness conservation, which it achieves through public awareness and action. 

AWA prioritizes six natural regions: the Boreal Forest, the Rocky Mountains, the Canadian Shield, the Grasslands, the Foothills, and the Parklands. AWA proposes areas for conservation for each of these regions. AWA’s goal is to have 34% of the Boreal Forest, 90% of the Rockies, 79% of the Canadian Shield, 16% of the Grasslands, 20% of the Foothills, and 4% of the Parklands protected in the future.

For wildlife conservation, AWA seeks protection for habitats of at-risk species through its Protected Areas. Current species of interest include bison, caribou, grizzly bears, sage-grouse, wolves, and native trout. AWA also advocates for improved species-at-risk legislation in Alberta and enforcement of existing laws to protect at-risk species. In collaboration with First Nations, David Suzuki Foundation, and other environmental charities, AWA presents the history and opportunities for protecting wilderness.  

To protect freshwater in Alberta, AWA advocates for a stronger provincial wetland policy. AWA currently prioritizes the McClelland Lake wetlands, Wood Buffalo National Park, and the Peace-Athabasca Delta, which face immediate threats. The charity is also fighting against a water pipeline proposal that would divert water from the Red Deer watershed.

In F2020, AWA ran 76 programs with a total of 3,786 participants. This includes 27 adventures through AWA’s Adventures for Wilderness program. Additionally, AWA released four issues of its Wild Lands Advocate magazine. Each issue was delivered to 2,200 individuals and accessed online by 900 individuals.

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Results and Impact

Through its activities, Alberta Wilderness Association advocates for the conservation and protection of Alberta’s natural regions. As of July 2018, 15% of the Boreal Forest, 60% of the Rockies, 74% of the Canadian Shield, 1% of the Grasslands, 1% of the Foothills, and 1% of the Parklands are protected. AWA states that protected ecosystems provide humans with food, clean water, protection from natural disasters, and recreation opportunities. As such, AWA believes protected areas provide direct and indirect benefits to physical and mental health. AWA also states that Alberta’s protected areas result in direct economic benefits. For example, AWA reports that visitor spending in National Parks amounted to $1.5 billion in 2009.

While Charity Intelligence highlights these key results, they may not be a complete representation of Alberta Wilderness Association’s results and impact. This charity is not yet rated on impact (n/r).

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Alberta Wilderness Association is a small charity with donations, foundation grants, and special events revenue of $562k in F2020. Administrative costs are 12% of revenues (less investment income) and fundraising costs are 17% of donations. This results in total overhead spending of 29%. For every dollar donated, 71 cents go to the cause which is within Ci’s reasonable range for overhead spending. AWA’s financial statements are unaudited which Charity Intelligence finds acceptable for a charity of its size. The Charities Directorate recommends charities of AWA’s size have audited financial statements. AWA has $590k in funding reserves. With these funding reserves, AWA could cover 129% or roughly 15 months of program costs.

Charity Intelligence sent an update of this report to AWA for review. Changes and edits may be forthcoming.

Updated on June 4, 2021 by Sydney Olexa.

Financial Review

Financial Ratios

Fiscal year ending July
Administrative costs as % of revenues 12.3%19.0%11.9%
Fundraising costs as % of donations 16.7%9.6%8.6%
Total overhead spending 29.0%28.6%20.5%
Program cost coverage (%) 128.7%96.3%115.5%

Summary Financial Statements

All figures in $s
Donations 521,881581,708625,307
Government funding 130,2218,0608,060
Fees for service 2,2132,8273,858
Business activities (net) 350350800
Special events 39,97146,06935,412
Investment income (5,142)11,44418,191
Total revenues 689,494650,458691,628
Program costs 458,365519,161478,235
Administrative costs 85,234121,24879,890
Fundraising costs 93,82260,44657,020
Total spending 637,421700,855615,145
Cash flow from operations 52,073(50,397)76,483
Funding reserves 590,142499,747552,461

Salary Information

Full-time staff: 6

Avg. compensation: $59,949

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 F2020

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Comments & Contact

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Charity Contact

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. Tel: (403) 283-2025


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Charitable Registration Number: 80340 7956 RR0001