Stephen Lewis Foundation

501-260 Spadina Avenue
Toronto, ON M5T 2E4
Executive Director: Zahra Mohamed
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) 78 cents are available for programs.

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About Stephen Lewis Foundation:

Founded in 2003, Stephen Lewis Foundation (SLF) works with community-based, grassroots organizations fighting HIV/AIDS in Sub-Saharan 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. Since its start, SLF has worked with 325 organizations, funding more than 1,700 initiatives to tackle the HIV/AIDS problem. SLF funds organizations that provide counselling and education about HIV prevention, care and treatment; distribute food, medication and other necessities; reach the sick and vulnerable through home-based health care; help orphans and vulnerable children access education and work through their grief; and support grandmothers caring for their orphaned grandchildren. 

Sub-Saharan Africa is home to 68% of all people living with HIV in the world, yet makes up only 3% of the global health workforce. SLF particularly supports grandmothers, women, and orphans, since the charity believes they are the worst victims of AIDS and HIV. SLF reports that over 14 million children under the age of 17 have been orphaned by AIDS in sub-Saharan Africa, and about 40-60% live with their grandmothers 

In F2018, Stephen Lewis Foundation spent $2.3m (33% of international program spending) on programs for grandmothers, $1.7m (24%) on orphan support, $1.2m (17%) on other HIV/AIDS victim support, and $584k (8%) on support for women. SLC spent an additional $1.2m (17%) on special initiatives. SLF provides various types of support groups across all 15 countries: general mutual support for people living with HIV/AIDS, as well as special mutual support groups for children, adolescents, HIV+ mothers, LGBTQ+ people, and grandmothers caring for their orphaned grandchildren. SLF reports that Positive Living group members are much more likely to access antiretroviral treatment. In its most recent 2017 annual report, SLF reports that the Swaziland Positive Living (SWAPOL) women’s mutual support group has 5,700 members in 45 communities, and the Kenya Network of Women Living with AIDS (KENWA) has 7,000 members. In addition, SLF reports that the Maasai Women Development Organization (MWEDO) in Tanzania, has registered 52 support groups in F2017, and started its own credit society. 

This is the most recent output data available. As of the date this report was updated, SLF had yet to publish its annual report for F2018. 

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Results and Impact

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

Impact Rating: Fair

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Stephen Lewis Foundation is a large charity, with donations of $9.4m in F2018. Administrative costs are 11% of revenues (excluding investment income), and fundraising costs are 11% of donations. Per dollar donated to the charity, 78 cents go towards its programs, which is within Ci’s reasonable range for overhead spending. Of the charity’s $4.5m in funding reserves, $205k are donor-endowed. Excluding endowed funds, SLF’s reserves can cover 53% of annual program costs.

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

Updated on August 20, 2019 by Caroline McKenna.

Financial Review

Financial Ratios

Fiscal year ending June
Administrative costs as % of revenues 11.3%9.8%8.1%
Fundraising costs as % of donations 11.0%9.1%8.7%
Total overhead spending 22.3%18.9%16.8%
Program cost coverage (%) 52.9%62.0%52.3%

Summary Financial Statements

All figures in $000s
Donations 9,40410,44612,049
Investment income 573633
Total revenues 9,46110,48212,082
Program costs - International 7,0717,3458,383
Program costs - Canada 1,004925933
Administrative costs 1,0631,024977
Fundraising costs 1,0299511,050
Total spending 10,16710,24511,343
Cash flow from operations (707)237739
Capital spending 29360
Funding reserves 4,4695,3265,062

Salary Information

Full-time staff: 33

Avg. Compensation: $67,890

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:

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

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