Stephen Lewis Foundation

501-260 Spadina Avenue
Toronto, ON M5T 2E4
Executive Director: Meg French
Board Co-Chair: David Morley

Charitable Reg. #:89635 4008 RR0001


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

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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) 75 cents are available for programs.

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About Stephen Lewis Foundation:

Founded in 2003, Stephen Lewis Foundation (SLF) works with community-based organizations fighting HIV/AIDS in Africa. SLF operates in the 15 countries that have been hardest hit by the AIDS pandemic in Africa: Botswana, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia, Kenya, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Rwanda, South Africa, Swaziland, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe. SLF reports that AIDS has orphaned more than 13.3 million children under the age of 17 in sub-Saharan Africa. Also, an estimated 40-60% of orphans in Africa live in grandmother-headed households. Often, grandmothers have little to no support and must cope with their own deteriorating health.

Since 2003, SLF has worked with 325 organizations and funded more than 1,800 initiatives to tackle the HIV/AIDS problem. SLF funds organizations that provide counselling and education about HIV prevention, care, and treatment. The charity also funds initiatives that distribute food, medication, and other necessities. Stephen Lewis Foundation focuses its efforts on helping vulnerable children and supporting grandmothers caring for their orphaned grandchildren. 

In F2019, Stephen Lewis Foundation spent $2.6m (35% of international program spending) on programs for grandmothers, $1.8m (24%) on orphan support, $1.5m (21%) on other HIV/AIDS victim support, and $720k (10%) on support for women. SLC spent an additional $724k (10%) on special initiatives

Since 2004, SLF has supported Swaziland Positive Living (SWAPOL). The group was formed by five HIV-positive women as a support group to deal with the stigma of HIV. Today, the group has 5,700 members in 45 communities. The Kenya Network of Women Living with AIDS (KENWA) is a similar organization that SLF began supporting in 2006. KENWA now has a membership of over 7,000 women.

Results data is from F2018 as the 2019 Annual Report has not been posted on the charity's website at the time this report was created.

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Results and Impact

According to the charity, most of its partner organizations report HIV treatment adherence rates above 95%. Nationally, adherence rates are just over 50%. Stephen Lewis Foundation also reports that the Treatment Action Campaign (TAC) of South Africa has saved millions of lives. TAC campaigns and litigates on critical issues related to healthcare, including HIV.

Charity Intelligence has given Stephen Lewis Foundation a Low impact rating based on demonstrated impact per dollar spent.

Impact Rating: Low

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Stephen Lewis Foundation is a Large charity, receiving $9.2m in donations in F2019.

Administrative costs are 10% of revenues and fundraising costs are 15% of donations. For every dollar donated, 75 cents go to the cause. This is within Ci’s reasonable range for overhead spending. The charity holds $2.3m in funding reserves, of which $205k is donor-endowed. Excluding donor-endowed funds, Stephen Lewis Foundation can cover three months of annual program costs.

The charity spent $457k on capital expenditures in F2019, $293k in F2018, and $6k in F2017.

This charity report is an update that has been sent to Stephen Lewis Foundation for review. Changes and edits may be forthcoming.

Updated on June 16, 2020 by Tenzin Shomar.

Financial Review

Financial Ratios

Fiscal year ending June
Administrative costs as % of revenues 9.9%9.4%9.8%
Fundraising costs as % of donations 15.5%11.7%9.1%
Total overhead spending 25.4%21.1%18.9%
Program cost coverage (%) 25.4%52.2%62.0%

Summary Financial Statements

All figures in $000s
Donations 9,1999,40410,446
Investment income 515736
Total revenues 9,2519,46110,482
Program costs - International 7,2747,1147,345
Program costs - Canada 1,0901,070925
Administrative costs 9068851,024
Fundraising costs 1,4261,099951
Total spending 10,69610,16710,245
Cash flow from operations (1,446)(707)237
Capital spending 4572936
Funding reserves 2,3294,4695,326

Salary Information

Full-time staff: 33

Avg. Compensation: $77,233

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:

The following comment is from a previous profile. Additional comments may be forthcoming. 

The Stephen Lewis Foundation partners with community-based organizations that are working on the frontlines of the HIV & AIDS epidemic in Africa. Many of these organizations were originally formed by small groups of  individuals responding to the crisis AIDS had wrought in their own  lives and in the lives of their neighbours, and have developed over the  years into thriving local institutions. All of our partners have deep connections with their communities, and operate their programmes with the assistance of extensive networks of community volunteers.  Through our partnerships, the Foundation has been supporting people in the African countries hit hardest by AIDS to design and implement their own solutions to the multiple devastations, losses and challenges inflicted by the epidemic.

Our partners’ work is holistic and people-centered. Community-based organizations are helping to deliver life-saving antiretroviral (ARV) medication and healthcare, but they are also doing so much more. The task they have set for themselves goes far beyond tackling the medical aspect of the epidemic. Their programming aims, ultimately, to restore hope, dignity and possibility to individuals and their communities, so that they can begin to move forward again with their lives.

This approach makes all the difference in the world. To HIV positive children, who not only receive medication, but also benefit from community care, counseling, music and play therapy, educational assistance, and peer support. To teenage girls, who have new opportunities to stay in school, get better protection against exploitation and violence, and are joining with the youth in their communities to challenge discriminatory and dangerous ideas about sexuality and male control over women. To grandmothers, who finally have help in their struggle to raise a generation orphaned by AIDS, are now seeing hope for their grandchildren’s futures, and are gaining greater respect and protection for their rights. And to the people living with HIV & AIDS, who are regaining their strength, rebuilding their lives, and working together with their governments to ensure that the promise of ‘treatment for all’ becomes a reality.

SLF partnerships are enabling immediate investments in service delivery to translate, over time, into more substantial, longer-term benefits for people and their communities. Immediate needs are met through SLF support to help cope with crisis: entry into treatment, entry into school, adequate nutrition, removal from violent situations, adequate housing, and counseling and therapy. Once those needs are met, further investment is made to help individuals and communities regroup and rebuild, in areas such as income generation, medical care, and positive living. And particular attention is paid to psychological and emotional well-being, and the bonds that connect people—nurturing relationships within families, creating social networks through child, youth, and granny groups, or community organizations.

With this comprehensive support, stability begins to return. Children stay in school, HIV positive people stay on treatment, family units function, and small but reliable incomes are produced. Ultimately, there are signs that people have recuperated to the extent that they have regained their self-determination and can take active control over their own lives. Children graduate from school and start working, women become community leaders, and local groups engage with their governments to claim their rights.

Charity Contact

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. Tel: 416-533-9292