Multiple Sclerosis Society of Canada

250 Dundas Street West, Suite 500
Toronto, ON M5T 2Z5
President & CEO: Pamela Valentine
Board Chair: Valerie Hussey

Charitable Reg. #: 10774 6174 RR0001
Sector: Health
Operating Charity

Results Reporting

Grade: A

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 #313

Avg. Compensation $48,934

Top 10 Staff Salary Range

$350k + 1
$300k - $350k 0
$250k - $300k 0
$200k - $250k 2
$160k - $200k 3
$120k - $160k 4
$80k - $120k 0
$40k - $80k 0
< $40k 0
Information from most recent CRA Charities Directorate filings for F2016

About Multiple Sclerosis Society of Canada:

Founded in 1948, the Multiple Sclerosis Society of Canada (MS Society of Canada) aims to “be a leader in finding a cure for multiple sclerosis and enable people affected by MS to enhance their quality of life.” The charity reports that Canada has the highest incidence of multiple sclerosis (MS) in the world, estimating that over 77,000 Canadian adults live with the disease. MS can cause vision problems, walking difficulties, pain and fatigue. To date, there is no known cure. The MS Society of Canada’s head office is in Toronto.

The MS Society of Canada has programs in four functional areas: research, client services, public education and advocacy. In F2017, the society granted $8.3m in grants for research. 51% of the charity’s grants went towards understanding triggers, progression and repair processes of the disease. 22% of grant funding went towards therapy and clinical tool development, 20% to cause and risk factors and 7% to symptom management. In F2017, 14 new grants were awarded to researchers. 23 different research institutions are currently hosting MS Society funded research.

The charity offers numerous support services to people affected by MS such as counseling, recreational programs and financial assistance. The MS Society of Canada runs a 1:1 Peer Support Program for its clients. This is a telephone and internet-based program that aims to reduce the social isolation and loneliness of people with MS. In F2017, there were 45 trained volunteers living with MS that were providing guidance to their peers.

The MS Society of Canada provides information about multiple sclerosis through the MS Knowledge Network. In F2017, the charity served over 2,600 people affected by MS and answered over 4,200 inquiries. Support was provided through multiple channels including social media, phone and email.

The charity advocates to help reduce barriers for people living with multiple sclerosis. It advocates for changes in three areas: allowing people with MS to remain in the workforce, improving income and disability support for people with MS, and increasing access to healthcare. In F2017, 5,048 letters were submitted to MPs.

After serving 11 years in various positions at Alberta Innovates, Pamela Valentine was named the new President and CEO of MS Society of Canada in January 2018.

Results and Impact: In 2017, a MS neurologist from the University of Calgary funded by the MS Society of Canada discovered how an affordable oral antibiotic (minocycline) can greatly reduce the risk of early disease progression in MS. In F2017, the charity reported 80% of people who have used the 1:1 Peer Support Program would recommend it to someone else affected by MS. It also stated that 89% of people were satisfied with their experience using the MS Knowledge Network. In 2018, Ocrevus (ocrelizumab) was approved by Health Canada as the first disease-modifying therapy available for early primary progressive MS.

Financial Review:

Multiple Sclerosis Society of Canada is one of Canada’s largest charities, a Major 100, with donations and special events revenues of $48.6m in F2017. A large portion of its revenues are generated through community-based fundraising events, dinners, golf tournaments and third-party events. Its special events fundraising was 50% of revenues, at $26.0m in F2017. Administrative costs are 9% of revenues and its fundraising costs are 42% of donations. Per dollar donated to the charity, $0.49 goes towards its programs and research grants, which falls outside of Charity Intelligence’s reasonable range for overhead spending. Research grants account for only 16% of the charity’s total revenue.

The Multiple Sclerosis Scientific Research Foundation is a related party to the MS Society of Canada. To calculate the MS Society of Canada’s funding reserves, Ci has combined the balance sheets of the Society and the Research Foundation. In total, the two charities have a funding reserve of $37.7m, which include $615k of donor-endowed funds. Excluding donor-endowed funds, the charity can cover 1.5 years of annual program and granting costs.

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

Updated on July 24, 2018 by Derek Houlberg.

Financial Ratios

Fiscal year ending December
Administrative costs as % of revenues 8.8%9.6%7.5%
Fundraising costs as % of donations 42.5%41.6%42.2%
Program cost coverage (%) 156.5%136.2%124.5%

Summary Financial Statements

All figures in $000s
Donations 22,52222,27523,968
Government funding 1,2341,2181,159
Fees for service 335234
Lotteries (net) 1,2581,2301,276
Business activities (net) 6175122
Special events 26,03826,96827,794
Investment income 514486401
Other income 431359233
Total revenues 52,09152,66354,987
Program costs 15,75117,55420,138
Grants 8,3357,8107,834
Administrative costs 4,5565,0134,094
Fundraising costs 20,62620,48421,827
Cash flow from operations 2,8231,8021,094
Funding reserves 37,70534,53434,822
Note: Ci reported lotteries and business activities net of expenses. Cost of goods sold and gaming expenses were adjusted, decreasing total revenues and expenses by $285k in F2017, $363k in F2016 and $383k in F2015. Ci reported unrealized gains (losses) on investments in investment income, affecting total revenues by ($251k) in F2017, $31k in F2016 and ($92k) in F2015. Ci adjusted changes in research grants payable, affecting total grants by ($688k) in F2017, ($1.1m) in F2016 and ($289k) in F2015. Ci removed amortization from programs, administrative and fundraising costs on a pro-rated basis.

Comments added by the Charity:

The following comments were added to a previous profile:

Since 1948, the MS Society of Canada has consistently transformed donor contributions into concrete services and research accomplishments that have helped tens of thousands of people with MS live better days.

The MS Society has been able to do this for two reasons: extraordinary community support of our mission and astute stewardship of donor dollars by volunteers.

The MS Society is a national charity led by volunteers who believe wholeheartedly in what we do and how we do it. We have over a million donors annually supporting our work and we receive only two per cent of our revenue from government funding.  This is unlike the majority of charities in the health sector where the percentage of revenue from the government is 70 per cent according to Statistics Canada. In addition, we receive less than one percent of our funding from pharmaceutical companies.

The costs associated with our fundraising activities are strictly monitored and, year-over- year, result in our ability to provide millions of dollars to leading-edge research and provide services for people affected by MS.

Like any other charity that raises funds on its own, our fundraising costs are a reality. Without implementing dynamic and assertive fundraising programs, the MS Society would simply not achieve its mission. We strive to achieve a balance of containing costs without taking resources away from our communities.

Our reporting policies are transparent and responsible, and adherent to all government and industry standards. We report fundraising costs as fundraising costs.  Our audited financial statements are made available to all supporters and the public every year.

Donors should feel confident that the MS Society of Canada is a careful steward of every donor dollar. Please visit our website for more information on donating with confidence to the MS Society of Canada.

For more information:

Lindsay Gulin, Specialist, Media Relations

1-800-268-7582 ext. 3245

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