411 41 Ave. NE
Calgary, AB T2E 2N4
Executive Director: Stacey Petersen
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) 66 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 for men in Calgary, Alberta. Fresh Start reports that 90% of Canadians who need treatment do not receive it. In addition to this, it says that 13.6% of Canadians are high-risk drinkers, and 8% of hospitalizations in Canada are a result of substance abuse. Fresh Start recognizes that for recovery to be successful, family and friends must also be able to heal. Therefore, Fresh Start offers treatment for men and a family healing program.

A Charity Intelligence 2020 Top 10 Impact Charity

Fresh Start’s 40,000 square foot home has a total of 50 primary treatment beds. 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. The building is big, vibrant, and designed to feel like a home to create an ideal setting for men and their families to recover.

Fresh Start offers a 14 to 16-week program with 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 2019, 167 men entered Fresh Start’s 12-step live-in program. This is a 27% increase from the 132 men who entered the program in 2018; 2019 marked the highest number of men served in Fresh Start's history. 

Fresh Start’s family healing program helps people who are close with an addict deal with the effects of the addiction and learn how to adapt while the addict is recovering. The program runs one night a week for two hours over a five-week period. In 2019, 97 family members were enrolled in the program.

In August 2018, Fresh Start launched its Eleven-Eleven food truck. This project helps Fresh Start to celebrate recovery, educate people about addiction, and generate funds for the charity by selling food. The Eleven-Eleven food truck received coverage from local media and it increased revenues to $28k in 2019 from $19k in 2018. The food truck had an operating loss of ($26k) in 2019 and ($89k) in 2018. Fresh Start also plans to open a recovery cafe with a similar business model. 

In 2019, Fresh Start completed the construction of two residential buildings that began construction in 2017 with $7.5m in investment funding from the Government of Alberta. Together, the buildings provide 46 post-treatment beds. The facilities offer supports to integrate people in recovery back into community living.

Recent News: November 3, 2020 Fresh Start is scaling up again, expanding its operations in Lethbridge, AB acquiring South Country Treatment Centre. Tony Kokol will oversee these Lethbridge programs. Kokol has been part of the Fresh Start team for over 10 years.

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Results and Impact

Of the 167 men that entered Fresh Start Recovery Centre’s 12-step live-in program in 2019, 142 men (85%) graduated. This 85% graduation rate increased from 66% in 2018 and 72% in 2017.

Of the 89 men who graduated in 2018, 47 of them (53%) celebrated one full year of recovery in 2019. 

Considering Fresh Start's 47 graduates celebrating one year of recovery in 2019, as well as its total operating costs of $3.05m from 2018 (including $200k of amortization), it costed $65k to help an addict recover in 2018. This compares with a cost of $46k in 2017 and $37k in 2016.  

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 2020 Top 10 Impact Charity

Impact Rating: High

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Fresh Start Recovery Centre is a ­­­­medium-sized charity, with total donations of $1.9m in F2019. Administrative costs are 4% of revenues. Fundraising costs are 30% of donations, an increase from 11% in F2018. This means total overhead costs are 34%.  For every $1 donated to the charity, 66 cents go to programs. This is within Ci’s reasonable range for overhead spending.

Fresh Start has funding reserves of $544k, which can cover two months of program costs at the F2019 level. This indicates a need for funding.

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 3, 2020 by Eric Jose.

Financial Review

Financial Ratios

Fiscal year ending December
Administrative costs as % of revenues 4.1%3.5%1.1%
Fundraising costs as % of donations 30.0%10.7%5.7%
Total overhead spending 34.1%14.1%6.8%
Program cost coverage (%) 19.3%15.9%164.5%

Summary Financial Statements

All figures in $s
Donations 1,891,6871,680,7262,193,381
Government funding 511,9501,762,7705,625,303
Fees for service 1,627,3651,400,4231,364,086
Business activities (net) (26,082)(88,989)(7,965)
Other income 5,9524,2163,209
Total revenues 4,010,8724,759,1469,178,014
Program costs 2,810,5882,459,7822,204,688
Administrative costs 163,152164,87199,699
Fundraising costs 568,191179,139125,121
Other costs 38,86446,92454,202
Total spending 3,580,7952,850,7162,483,710
Cash flow from operations 430,0771,908,4306,694,304
Capital spending 123,7021,498,5406,119,990
Funding reserves 543,785391,6573,625,752

Note: Over F2017, F2018, and F2019, 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 $54k in F2019, $109k in F2018, and $8k in F2017. 

Salary Information

Full-time staff: 26

Avg. Compensation: $74,603

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

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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 2020 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