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Dalhousie Medical Research Foundation

5743 University Avenue, Suite 98
Halifax, NS B3H 4R2
CEO: Brian Thompson
Board Chair: Allan Shaw

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

Results Reporting

Grade: B-

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

2015 2016 2017
For a dollar donated, cents funding the cause after fundraising and admin costs, excluding surplus.

Full-time staff #5

Avg. Compensation $105,617

Top 10 Staff Salary Range

$350k + 0
$300k - $350k 0
$250k - $300k 0
$200k - $250k 0
$160k - $200k 0
$120k - $160k 1
$80k - $120k 2
$40k - $80k 2
< $40k 0
Information from most recent CRA Charities Directorate filings for F2017

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 key areas: cancer, cardiology, neuroscience and mental health, and inflammation, inflection and immunity. The foundation’s office is in Halifax, Nova Scotia.

DMRF spent $1.5m on research grants (54% of total grants) in F2017. In addition, the foundation granted $837k (30% of total grants) to the Beatrice Hunter Cancer Research Institute (BHCRI) which is also based in Halifax. DMRF states that it directs all funding for cancer research to the BHCRI. On the BHCRI’s website, it states that “the institute provides a meeting place for researchers to share ideas and forge new collaborations at universities, hospitals and research institutes across Atlantic Canada and beyond.” Additionally, in 2018 Dalhousie researchers were awarded a total of 11 grants, representing a combined value of $7.7 million from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research.

DMRF provides grants to graduate students and postdoctoral fellows to encourage medical students to pursue research-oriented careers. In F2017, DMRF granted $220k (8% of total grants) to students in the Research in Medicine (RIM) Program at Dalhousie University. Each undergraduate student is provided with $5,000 to complete independent research projects. DMRF also granted $40k to graduate students (1% of total grants) and $54k in other prizes and awards (2%) in F2017.

DMRF also distributes equipment grants to Dalhousie medical researchers to set up and equip their laboratories. In F2017, DMRF provided $128k (5% of total grants) in equipment grants. The foundation has not provided a breakdown of its studentship, fellowship or equipment grant recipients since F2015.

Results and Impact: In Dalhousie Medical Research Foundation’s 2017 fall magazine, it reports that Dalhousie researchers have led the discovery and development of a variety of cancer-fighting viruses. Termed “oncolytic viruses”, these viruses can be used to selectively kill cancer cells and teach the immune system to mount an anti-cancer fight. With the support of DMRF, Dalhousie’s International Genetically Engineered Machine (iGEM) team received a bronze medal for their research in harnessing microbial genes to improve the human planet in 2017.

Financial Review:

Dalhousie Medical Research Foundation is a medium-sized charity with donations of $3.5m in F2017, a 21% decrease compared to F2016. Investment income, mostly relating to the foundation’s endowment fund, totalled $10.4m in F2017. This accounts for 75% of DMRF’s F2017 total revenue and represents an annual return on investment of 14%. DMRF reports an unrealized loss on its investments of $7.2m in F2016 which led to a significantly lower total revenue. As of F2017, the foundation holds $84.6m in investments, of which 79% are stocks.

Administration costs are 15% of total donations, and fundraising costs are 24% of donations. DMRF's overhead costs are 39%. For every dollar donated to the foundation, $0.61 goes towards grants and its cause, which is outside Ci’s reasonable range for overhead spending. However, in 2013, DMRF "adopted a policy of funding operating expenditures through investment income", as noted in Financial Note 2, see audited financial statements link above. This covers administrative costs on donations, see charity's comment below.

DMRF has total funding reserves of $85.1m, which include $77.2m (91%) of endowed funds. Assuming a 5% annual return on DMRF’s endowment fund, annual granting activities can be covered indefinitely. DMRF's current payout policy is lower at 3.5%.

This charity report is an update that has been sent to Dalhousie Medical Research Foundation for review. Charity Intelligence and DMRF management have discussed this report. Additional changes and edits may be forthcoming.

Updated on August 3, 2018 by Derek Houlberg. Edited on May 24, 2019 by Kate Bahen.

Financial Ratios

Fiscal year ending March
Administrative costs as % of revenues 14.8%11.4%9.0%
Fundraising costs as % of donations 24.0%16.5%15.1%
Program cost coverage (%) 3,073.0%2,440.6%2,616.7%

Summary Financial Statements

All figures in $000s
Donations 3,4644,4084,279
Government funding 0025
Investment income 10,359(2,035)7,337
Total revenues 13,8242,37411,641
Grants 2,7683,0752,940
Administrative costs 512502385
Fundraising costs 832728644
Cash flow from operations 9,711(1,932)7,671
Funding reserves 85,06775,05376,936
Note: Ci has backed out government funding of $25k in F2015, gathered from the charity’s T3010 CRA filings, from donations. Ci has backed out amortization from administrative and fundraising costs on a pro-rated basis.

Comments added by the Charity:

100% of donations to our annual programs, such as the Molly Appeal, In Memoriam, and other fundraising initiatives are directed to research projects in Medicine, Health and Dentistry at Dalhousie University.

The statement above that only $.61 of every dollar donated to DMRF is directed toward research grants is based on a generic calculation and is incorrect. Ci has assumed that donations are directed first toward administration and fundraising costs, with the remaining balance going to grants. The impact of investment income, a significant source of funding for us and other similar foundations, has been omitted.

Owing to the foresight of our founding members and careful investment management, the Foundation’s endowment has grown significantly over the past 40 years. Investment income on these endowed funds not only supports an increasing amount of research funding, a portion also covers our operating costs. This spending policy is articulated in Note 2 to our audited financial statements.

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