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Princess Margaret Cancer Foundation

610 University Ave.
Toronto, ON M5G 2M9
President & CEO: Paul Alofs
Board Chair: Glenn Ives

Charitable Reg. #: 88900 7597 RR0001
Sector: Health - Hospital Foundation
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

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

Full-time staff #75

Avg. Compensation $127,063

Top 10 Staff Salary Range

$350k + 2
$300k - $350k 2
$250k - $300k 3
$200k - $250k 0
$160k - $200k 3
$120k - $160k 0
$80k - $120k 0
$40k - $80k 0
< $40k 0
Information from most recent CRA Charities Directorate filings for F2016

About Princess Margaret Cancer Foundation:

Founded in 1982, Princess Margaret Cancer Foundation, formerly known as Princess Margaret Hospital Foundation, is the fundraising arm of Princess Margaret Cancer Centre. Its focus is to conquer cancer in our lifetime.  Princess Margaret claims it is a top 5 cancer research center globally in terms of the percentage of papers published in high-impact oncology journals and the percentage of highly cited papers.  

In 2012, Princess Margaret Cancer Foundation launched the Billion Dollar Challenge, the largest fundraising campaign in the history of Canadian healthcare. The campaign targeted four areas of Personalized Cancer Medicine: detecting cancers earlier, diagnosing cancers more precisely, targeting treatment more specifically, and providing comprehensive physical and emotional support. In January 2017, Princess Margaret Cancer Foundation exceeded its goal and reported $1.05B in funds raised; $532m of which were raised via philanthropy and $520m as research grants.

In F2017, Princess Margaret Cancer Foundation granted $102.5m to Princess Margaret Cancer Centre ($6.8m of which is still payable, resulting in a cash transfer of $95.7m). Of the total granted, 87% was allocated to research, education and patient care. The foundation allocated the remaining grants to equipment (8%) and building (4%). In 2017, Princess Margaret Cancer Centre published 1,312 research papers, gave 37,754 chemotherapy treatments, and cared for 17,751 new cancer patients.

Financial Review:

Princess Margaret Cancer Foundation is a Major 100 charity, receiving $95.2m in donations and special events fundraising in F2017. Lotteries accounted for an additional $25.6m in net revenue. Princess Margaret Cancer Foundation reports administrative and fundraising costs together in its audited financials. In F2016, administrative and fundraising costs were 21% of revenues. For every $1 donated, 79 cents went the cause. This falls within Charity Intelligence’s reasonable range of overhead spending.

The foundation had funding reserves of $606m in F2017, including $136m of donor-endowed funds. Total funding reserves can cover annual grants for 5.3 years excluding donor-endowed funds. 

This charity report is an update that is currently being reviewed by Princess Margaret Cancer Foundation. Changes and edits may be forthcoming.

Updated on July 18, 2017 by Juliana Badovinac.

Financial Ratios

Fiscal year ending March
Fundraising & admin costs as % of revenues 21.4%22.8%22.3%
Program cost coverage (%) 633.6%594.4%659.8%

Summary Financial Statements

All figures in $000s
Donations 69,60268,70466,952
Lotteries (net) 27,69424,79423,754
Special events 25,60027,11127,388
Investment income 45,648(973)48,740
Total revenues 168,544119,636166,834
Grants 95,70494,06985,413
Fundraising & administrative costs 26,27727,51726,345
Other costs 642687711
Cash flow from operations 45,921(2,637)54,365
Funding reserves 606,375559,186563,593
Note: Ci removed grants payable from total grants reported, decreasing grants by $6.8m in F2017, $2.4m in F2016, and $10.1m in F2015. Investment management fees were removed from investment income (loss) and are reported as other costs.

Comments added by the Charity:

The Princess Margaret Cancer Foundation (The PMCF) raises funds to support one of the top 5 cancer research centres in the world.  In April 2012, we embarked on a 5 year challenge to secure $1 billion in funding to create the new gold standard in cancer care: Personalized Cancer Medicine. On January 11, 2017 we announced the successful achievement of the Billion Dollar Challenge ahead of schedule.

 $532M was secured in philanthropic support and $520M was secured in research grants by Princess Margaret Cancer Centre for a total of $1,052B.

Those funds have allowed the Cancer Centre to expand and streamline bio-banks, establish the cancer genomics program, accelerate the epigenetics program, as well amplify the Cancer Clinical Research Unit (CCRU) and expand our research enterprise to the Princess Margaret Research Tower – to name just a few of the many investments that were made with these funds.

We are proud of our top 5 global position and the funds raised by the Foundation through our community of supporters. These funds help advance fundamental cancer discoveries and translation of these findings into the clinic through Canada’s largest clinical trials program. Princess Margaret is a comprehensive Cancer Research Centre committed to research that leads to new innovative therapies across the spectrum of cancer care from detection, diagnosis, targeted therapies and supportive programs for the patients and their families.  This link to our website provides the support for our top 5 position.

The Princess Margaret Cancer Centre prides itself on finding tomorrow’s treatments today and sharing those advances across the province, across Canada and around the globe.  In the words of Medical Director Dr. Mary Gospodarowicz, “Through our interdisciplinary and well integrated clinical-basic science programs The Princess Margaret raises the bar in cancer care. We are uncovering tomorrow’s cures in our laboratories, and moving them into the clinic through our world leading evidence based clinical trials program.” The Princess Margaret embraces the whole person approach to patient care and providing the right treatment, for the right patient, at the right time.

The PMCF is making a sizable impact, as was exhibited in Charity Intelligence’s reporting on Social Results. The PMCF was graded A-, putting us in the top 15% for all charities. The PMCF received a perfect score of   20 out of 20 on Financial Transparency.

Our administrative and fundraising costs were 21% of revenues so for every dollar donated 79 cents went to the cause which falls within the reasonable range. Of note, this includes our general fundraising and administrative costs, as well as costs for of our strategic events and annual giving programs.

Overall, The PMCF received a 2-star rating out of a possible 4 stars. While this is disappointing in one way, it is actually very good news in another.

The key reason that The PMCF received less than the 4-star rating was the level of grant giving compared to fund balances.  According to Charity Intelligence calculations The PMCF has 4.6 years of reserves in fund balances. According to CI’s analysis, only Charities with a reserve balances under 3 times coverage receive full points. It is important to point out that, Charity Intelligence does not take into account the future long-term commitments made by The PMCF.

It is the view of PMCF management that the calculation of Program Cost Coverage ought to reduce funding reserves by Total Endowments (the principle which must be invested permanently).  If Total Endowment funds are reduced from funding reserve then Funds Available of $606M minus Total Endowments of $250M result in a $356M Funding Reserve. Dividing this reserve by  the $102.5 granted in FY17  results in a 3.5 year program cost coverage and would have PMCF qualify for a 3 Star rating.

Importantly, The PMCF is holding funds for three primary reasons:

  • Funds are reserved to finance initiatives in Personalized Cancer Medicine that are being developed. Included is a major research recruitment drive for The Princess Margaret. The fund balance is crucial for multiple-year research commitments. This extends beyond the salaries of newly-hired scientists, fellows and students as they continue to work on multi-year projects, many of which are already in progress, but also to the infrastructure: space and equipment required to deliver Personalized Cancer Medicine.
  • Long-term support of the Princess Margaret Cancer Centre research and clinical programs that require multi-year commitments for research initiatives. The Princess Margaret Cancer Centre is the largest cancer research organization in Canada, and one of the top 5 cancer research centres in the world. The cancer centre employs over a thousand people doing research. The Foundation is the primary funder of the research enterprise through philanthropy and our social enterprise programs. In order to ensure sustainability of our leading scientists and innovative programs, we must maintain a fund balance to fund these individuals and their research initiatives over their multi-year timeframes. This differs from many other foundations who are primarily granting organizations that have the flexibility to turn up or down their grants depending on the funds available in any given year.
  • Transformation of the Cancer Centre. Over the next 10 years we will be embarking on an ambitious multi-phased project to transform cancer care. The first phase of this was announced in the late spring of 2017 and will include a total transformation of the main floor including a revamped  therapeutically designed  outpatient pharmacy and blood collection centre,  and several new clinics on the 5th floor with our first-ever Outpatient Palliative Care Clinic and a new Gynecologic Oncology Clinic.                                                                         * * *

We urge you read our FY 2017 annual report and audited financial statements in full at Our financial summary pages are on Pages 68 and 69 of the report. If you have questions, we encourage you to contact one of our staff at 416-946-6560, toll-free at 1-866-224-6560 or at In doing so, we hope you will understand what efficiency and effectiveness in the social enterprise sector truly is and we hope you will continue to support the outstanding work of the Princess Margaret Cancer Centre.

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