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Dalhousie Medical Research Foundation

5850 College Street, P.O. Boc 15000
Halifax, NS B3H 4R2
Board Chair: Allan Shaw
Vice Board Chair: Janet MacMillian

Charitable Reg. #: 11922 9318 RR0001
Sector: Health
Public Foundation

Donor Accountability

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

2013 2014 2015
For a dollar donated, cents funding the cause after fundraising and admin costs, excluding surplus.

Full-time staff #5

Avg. Compensation $96,098

Top 10 Staff Salary Range

$350k + 0
$300k - $350k 0
$250k - $300k 0
$200k - $250k 0
$160k - $200k 0
$120k - $160k 2
$80k - $120k 0
$40k - $80k 3
< $40k 0
Information from most recent CRA Charities Directorate filings for F2015

About Dalhousie Medical Research Foundation:

Founded in 1979, Dalhousie Medical Research Foundation (DMRF) funds medical research at the Dalhousie University Medical School and its related research facilities across the Maritimes. DMRF funds research in four focus areas: cardiovascular research, immunology research, cancer research and neuroscience research.

Research grants made up 88% of Dalhousie Medical Research Foundation’s granting activities in F2015. DMRF granted $2.6m in F2015 to researchers whose projects relate to one of DMRF’s four focus areas, including $710k to the Beatrice Hunter Cancer Research Institute.  The Foundation’s spring 2016 Philanthropy report states that Dr. McMaster, one of DMRF’s funded researchers, created a new antibiotic that treats the side effects of diabetes and is roughly two years away from FDA approval. Dr. McMaster also developed a drug meant to treat an inherited childhood blinding disease called FEVR. In the laboratory, the drug successfully cured the condition in mice. Dr. McMaster hopes to narrow the gap between this research success and creating a usable drug.

Dalhousie Medical Research Foundation also runs an equipment grants program that distributed $185k in F2015 to researchers requiring financial aid for new equipment purchases. These grants made up 6% of granting activities for the year and helped seven Dalhousie medical researchers, three of which received the Foundation’s maximum funding amount of $30k.

Dalhousie Medical Research Foundation also distributes a variety of fellowships, research awards and studentships that help medical students with their research projects and encourage growth in the university’s research environment. Combined, these activities accounted for 6% of granting activities in F2015.

Financial Review:

Dalhousie Medical Research Foundation is a medium-sized charity with total donations and goods-in-kind revenues of $4.4m in F2015. Investment income totalled $7.3m in F2015, representing an annual return on investment of 11%. DMRF generated investment income of $10.5m in F2014, earning an 18% return on investment. As of F2015, DMRF holds $76.9m in investments, of which 78% are equities.

In-kind donations represents donated shares and these figures are included in donations when calculating DMRF’s fundraising ratio.

DMRF holds funding reserves of $76.9m, of which $72.0m (94%) are donor-endowed. Assuming a 5% annual return on DMRF’s endowment fund, annual granting activities can be covered indefinitely.

DMRF’s endowment funds total just over $72.0m, which grew by 12% within F2015 and 18% within F2014.

This charity report is an update that is currently being reviewed by the Dalhousie Medical Research Foundation. Changes and edits may be forthcoming.

Updated on August 18, 2016 by Katie Khodawandi.

Financial Ratios

Fiscal year ending March
Administrative costs as % of revenues 9.0%11.9%17.2%
Fundraising costs as % of donations 15.1%19.9%24.4%
Program cost coverage (%) 2,732.8%2,261.2%2,227.0%

Summary Financial Statements

All figures in $000s
Donations 2,6522,2981,410
Goods in kind 1,627704518
Government funding 2500
Investment income 7,33710,5495,982
Total revenues 11,64113,5527,911
Program costs 000
Grants 2,8153,0552,690
Administrative costs 385356332
Fundraising costs 644597471
Cash flow from operations 7,7969,5434,418
Funding reserves 76,93669,08459,912
Note: Ci adjusted for in-kind donations originally reported in total donations figures, affecting total donations by ($1.6m) in F2015, ($704k) in F2014 and ($518k) in F2013. Depreciation has been backed out of fundraising and administrative costs based on % of total expenses. Ci adjusted for payments to Dalhousie University, affecting grants by ($125k) in F2015, $52k in F2014 and $81k in F2013. Government funding of $25k in F2015 gathered from the charity’s T3010 CRA filings has been backed out of donations.

Comments added by the Charity:

[Charity Intelligence note: This profile has recently been updated. The comments that follow apply to an earlier version and may be revised.]

  • PEER-REVIEW - All research grants provided by DMRF must first go through a peer-review process and are not awarded unless a minimum standard of excellence is exhibited.


  • FUNDRAISING COSTS PERCENTAGE - DMRF regularly receives gifts of shares from donors.  Shares transferred directly to a charitable organization offer excellent tax advantages to Canadian donors.  Charity Intelligence has chosen to list share transfers on the “Goods in Kind” line in its 3 year Summary of Financial Statements and does not include these monies in its fundraising cost calculation.  DMRF disagrees with this process and considers the gift of shares to be just as much a result of fundraising efforts as is the receipt of a donation of cash.

Including the “Goods in Kind” line (i.e. donations of shares) in the “Donations” line under Summary of Financial Statements, would then reduce the DMRF fundraising costs as % of donations to be: 15% for 2012,   6.7% for 2011 and   6.5% for 2010.

Estate bequests are a large portion of the Foundation’s donations and these gifts can come quite unexpectedly and vary greatly from year to year.  Therefore to smooth out these unpredictable ups and downs, DMRF normally looks at a three-year rolling average fundraising cost %.  Using such a rolling average formula, the latest DMRF fundraising cost as a % of donations would be 9.4%.

  • ENDOWMENTS – As of June 2013, the Foundation had an endowment portfolio value of $60 million which is overseen by a DMRF Board Investment Committee and managed professionally by external investment expertise. It is incredibly important to the DMRF Board that as much funding as possible goes to support medical research.  Administrative and fundraising expenses at DMRF are covered by a portion of investment income while 5% of endowed income goes directly to support research grants and awards at Dalhousie University Medical School and its affiliated health institutions.


  • IMPACT – The autumn Philanthropist newsletter of DMRF lists all research grants awarded in the previous fiscal year.  Philanthropist copies can be requested from the Foundation or found on the DMRF website (  In addition, DMRF is currently in the process of establishing an on-going process to identify the impacts of donor support on advances in medical research.  The autumn 2013 Philanthropist newsletter will be devoted to the topic of “impact”.
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