970 Queen St. East
Toronto, ON M4M 1J8
Executive Director: Margarita Mendez
Board Co-Chair: Carol Allain & Donna Kellway

Charitable Reg. #:11930 2727 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) 87 cents are available for programs.

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About Nellie's:

Founded in 1973, Nellie’s is Toronto’s first women’s shelter. Named for Canada’s pioneering suffragette, Nellie McClung, it was co-founded by a group of female activists including June Callwood. Nellie’s began as a shelter with 16 beds for homeless women, fleeing domestic abuse. Today, Nellie’s is a 36-bed emergency shelter for women leaving domestic violence and also other issues like poverty and mental health. Its goal is to ensure the women it serves move on to safe and affordable housing so they do not return to violent situations. Nellie’s is a community-based feminist charity that sees itself as anti-racism and anti-oppression. It is committed to social change through education and advocacy, to achieve social justice for all women and children.

Women come to Nellie’s from all backgrounds: women who are pregnant, immigrants, some single, some with children. In F2019, Nellie’s gave shelter to 87 women and their children. Children are 38% of the people Nellie’s helped in F2019. Nellie’s housed 141 women and children in F2019, which is even with F2017 as it is operating at full capacity. In F2019, two babies were born to women staying at Nellie’s.

Nellie’s provides a 24-hour crisis line. In F2019 Nellie’s answered 1,285 crisis calls, 4% fewer than in F2018. It provided 508 referrals to other services. In F2019, Nellies provide 1,470 one-on-one counselling sessions. Women can stay at Nellie’s for up to four months (longer if dealing with legal or immigration issues). Other shelters only permit stays of one to two months.

In addition, Nellie’s has added programs (helping mothers find child-care, register for schools, deal with Children’s Aid), and programs for children like art programs and summer camp, to help children process the violence they may have witnessed.

Beyond being an emergency shelter, Nellie’s includes its community with a weekly drop-in dinner to women and children who are homeless or living in poverty. About 40 women each week gather for this meal to enjoy good food and company. With Second Harvest, one a week, Nellie’s has a Supper Surprise providing 60-70 women each week food to take home.

In the News: $1.6 million fundraising campaign for a bigger house. Nellie’s is moving into a new, bigger house. In May 2018, Nellie’s bought a new building with the Ontario government contributing $12.0m of the estimated $13.6m total costs. Nellie’s needs at least $1.6m in donations to open this new shelter. It will have 40 beds with significantly more room that its present shelter that was originally for 16 beds, and maxed out with 36 beds currently. Bunk beds can only do so much.

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Results and Impact

Nellie’s results reporting is improving but remains average, graded as B+. Little information was found in its annual report and website about its results, outcomes and impact. A key result for a women’s shelter would be how many women went on to leave independent lives free of domestic abuse. Nationally, between 35%-50% of women return to abusive relationships having left a women’s shelter. Nellie’s and other Toronto women’s shelters do not report results on their clients after receiving support.

Nellie’s total operating costs for each client at its shelter is $18,028 in F2019 compared with $17,138 in F2017.

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Nellie’s is a small charity with donations of $989k (less than $1 million). United Way Toronto is Nellie’s largest donor with a $232k grant in F2019, 7% less than in F2017. The Ontario and Toronto governments provide 65% of Nellie’s program funding. 

Nellie’s reports administrative costs are 4% of total revenues (excluding the huge capital grant for its new house) and fundraising costs are 12% of donations. Overhead spending in F2019 is 13%. For every dollar donated, 87 cents go to the cause. This is within Ci’s reasonable range.

Nellie’s has no endowments or investments. It has cash reserves of $1.1m. Relative to its annual program costs, these cash reserves are 49% or a 6-month funding cushion.

This report is generously funded by the E.W. Bickle Foundation to help other donors interested in supporting charities in the Greater Toronto Area.

This report has been sent to Nellie's. Changes and corrections may be forthcoming.

Report posted on December 1, 2019 by Kate Bahen.

Financial Review

Financial Ratios

Fiscal year ending March
Administrative costs as % of revenues 1.0%4.4%6.4%
Fundraising costs as % of donations 12.4%20.9%20.2%
Total overhead spending 13.4%25.3%26.5%
Program cost coverage (%) 48.9%31.7%21.0%

Summary Financial Statements

All figures in $000s
Donations 989721664
Government funding 8,5251,8741,572
Investment income 7033
Total revenues 9,5852,5982,240
Program costs 2,2742,0122,072
Administrative costs 96114143
Fundraising costs 123151134
Total spending 2,4932,2772,349
Cash flow from operations 7,092321(109)
Capital spending 5,7001190
Funding reserves 1,112638436

Note: Nellie’s fundraising costs are not reported in its audited financial statements. Ci has taken this information for its T3010 filing. In its T3010 filing, Nellie’s does not report its payments to 43 part-time staff. Without this information, it is not accurate to calculate its average full-time salary information. In F2017 the average full-time salary paid was $76,970. . Ci has included the Ontario governments $6.7m funding for the new building in F2019, and $270k in F2018 in Nellie's revenues. 

Salary Information

Full-time staff: 22

Avg. Compensation: $0

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 F2019

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Comments & Contact

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Charity Contact

Website: www.nellies.org
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. Tel: 416.645.1419