411 41 Ave. NE
Calgary, AB T2E 2N4
Executive Director: Bruce Holstead
Board Chair: Craig H. Borgland

Charitable Reg. #:13672 0737 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) 90 cents are available for programs.

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About Fresh Start Recovery Centre:

Founded in 1992, Fresh Start Recovery Centre (Fresh Start) is a live-in alcohol and drug addiction treatment centre. In 2020, Fresh Start acquired South Country Treatment Centre and expanded its operations to treat both men and women in Calgary and Lethbridge, Alberta. Fresh Start’s focus is its 14 to 16-week addiction treatment program. The charity recognizes that for recovery to be successful, family and friends must also heal. As such, Fresh Start also offers a Family Healing Program to support those related to an addict.  

A Charity Intelligence 2021 Top 10 Canadian Impact Charity

Fresh Start’s Calgary location is a 40,000 square foot home with 50 primary treatment beds for men. The house has 26 residents’ rooms, counselling rooms, a meditation room, a gymnasium, a dining hall, a weight room, a games room, a movie theatre, a laundry room, a wellness clinic, and more. Fresh Start’s South location has 24 beds and hosts both men and women. The charity plans to expand the centre to include at least 50 more beds.

Fresh Start's treatment program offers one-on-one counselling, group healing, physical training, nutritious meals, and other supports. The program is based on the 12-step abstinence model of recovery, which focuses on a continued pursuit of abstinence. In 2020, 149 people entered Fresh Start’s 12-step live-in program and 163 were on the waitlist.

Fresh Start’s family healing program helps people who are close with an addict deal with the effects of addiction and learn how to adapt to the recovery process. The program runs one night a week for two hours over a five-week period.

In August 2018, Fresh Start launched its Eleven-Eleven food truck. This project helps Fresh Start celebrate recovery, educate people about addiction, and generate funds for the charity by selling food. In 2020, Fresh Start pivoted the operations of the food truck to deliver food, medicine, and supplies to people in isolation or in need due to covid-19.

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Results and Impact

Of the 149 men that entered Fresh Start Recovery Centre’s 12-step live-in program in 2020, 120 men (80%) graduated.

Of the 142 men who graduated in 2019, 75 of them (53%) celebrated one full year of recovery in 2020. 

Considering Fresh Start's 75 graduates celebrating one year of recovery in 2019, as well as its total operating costs of $3.8m from 2019 (including $184k of amortization), it cost $50k to help an addict recover in 2019. This compares with costs of $65k in 2018 and $46k in 2017.  

While Ci highlights these key results, they may not be a complete representation of Fresh Start Recovery Centre’s results and impact.

Charity Intelligence has rated Fresh Start as High impact based on demonstrated impact per dollar.

A Charity Intelligence 2021 Top 10 Canadian Impact Charity

Impact Rating: High

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Fresh Start Recovery Centre had total donations of $1.5m in F2020. Administrative costs are 7% of revenues. Fundraising costs reported on the charity's financial statements are 4% of donations in F2020. In prior years, Ci has used fundraising costs as reported on the charity's filing with the CRA, which are typically significantly higher. Therefore, 4% is likely underreported. In total, overhead spending is 10%. For every dollar donated to the charity, 90 cents go to the cause, which is within Ci’s reasonable range for overhead spending.

Fresh Start has $1.5m in net funding reserves, compared to $544k in F2019. This increase is due to the charity paying off its long-term debt. Fresh Start can cover 55% or almost 7 months of its annual program costs with reserves.

This charity report is an update that has been sent to Fresh Start Recovery Centre for review. Changes and edits may be forthcoming.

Updated on June 9, 2021 by Sydney Olexa


Financial Review

Financial Ratios

Fiscal year ending December
Administrative costs as % of revenues 6.5%4.1%3.5%
Fundraising costs as % of donations 3.6%30.0%10.7%
Total overhead spending 10.1%34.1%14.1%
Program cost coverage (%) 55.0%19.3%15.9%

Summary Financial Statements

All figures in $s
Donations 1,514,8401,891,6871,680,726
Government funding 1,566,061511,9501,762,770
Fees for service 1,238,8821,627,3651,400,423
Business activities (net) (167,098)(26,082)(88,989)
Other income 4,7015,9521,382
Total revenues 4,157,3864,010,8724,756,312
Program costs 2,752,2792,810,5882,459,782
Administrative costs 270,257163,152164,871
Fundraising costs 55,190568,191179,139
Other costs 11,34838,86446,924
Total spending 3,089,0743,580,7952,850,716
Cash flow from operations 1,068,312430,0771,905,596
Capital spending (15,175)123,7021,498,540
Funding reserves 1,512,581543,785391,657

Note: From 2017 to 2019, the Government of Alberta cumulatively donated $7.5m for the construction of the two new residential facilities. Fresh Start transferred ownership back to the Alberta government upon completion of the facilities in F2019, but they are still being operated entirely by Fresh Start. For this reason, Ci has backed out the transfer from the financial analysis, reducing expenses in F2019 by $7.5m. Ci reported restaurant and food truck sales nets of costs. This reduced total revenues and expenses by $189k in F2020, $54k in F2019, and $109k in F2018. To report on a cash basis, Ci backed out gain on disposal of property and equipment, affecting revenues by ($1k) in F2020, ($nil) in F2019, and ($3k) in F2018. Similarly, Ci backed out the write down of Café out of expenses, decreasing total expenses by $125k in F2020. Capital expenditures are presented net of proceeds from sale of capital assets, affecting capital expenditures by ($27k) in F2020, ($nil) in F2019, and ($518k) in F2018. 

Salary Information

Full-time staff: 33

Avg. compensation: $65,836

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

Comments added by the Charity:

Fresh Start Recovery Centre added these comments to the 2019 profile update: 

While the Canadian economy in 2018 was surprisingly strong, Alberta did not fare as well because of continued uncertainty around the ability to get natural resources to market. This uncertainty negatively impacted donations to Fresh Start by more than 27% and had an impact on the Fundraising Cost to Dollars donated ratio. A strategic investment in fundraising capacity to develop longer term streams of donations also contributed to the increase in this benchmark.

The poor economy combined with the Opioid (Fentanyl) crisis in 2018 created increased demand and urgency for services. Working to address this demand in addition to a move towards strengthening our post treatment support translated into increase costs and corresponding increase in men celebrating their first full year of sobriety from 53.2% to 60.0%.

Comments for the 2021 profile update may be forthcoming. 

Charity Contact

Website: www.freshstartrecovery.ca
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. Tel: 403-387-6266


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Charitable Registration Number: 80340 7956 RR0001