321 Chapel Street
Ottawa, ON K1N 7Z2
Executive Director: Scott Walter
Board Chair: Jacques Bérubé

Charitable Reg. #:11883 4878 RR0001


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

[Charity Rating: 5/5]



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 CODE:

Founded in 1959, CODE (Canadian Organization for Development through Education) promotes reading and learning in poor communities, particularly in Africa. CODE reports that 274 million primary school-age students in low- and middle-income countries aren’t learning basic skills like reading and writing. Moreover, the United Nations reports that 171 million people could escape poverty if schools taught basic reading skills to all kids. CODE aims to improve students’ education, improving their future income, health, and community engagement by developing partnerships that provide resources for learning, promoting awareness and understanding, and encouraging self-reliance. In F2018, CODE reports 597,998 young people benefitted from its programs. 

A Charity Intelligence 2020 Top 10 International Aid Impact Charity

In F2018, the Reading CODE was CODE’s primary program. CODE works with local organizations to increase students’ access to culturally relevant books and to improve the skills of teachers. In F2018, CODE supported training for 6,449 educators, 99 librarians, 251 authors, illustrators and publishers, and provided 101,767 copies of relevant books to students across 1,395 schools. Reading CODE operates in Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Liberia, Mali, Mozambique, Sierra Leone, and Tanzania. 

CODE’s Burt Literary Awards program helps kids to access books that they can relate to, with characters, settings, or plot lines that reflect local culture. The awards are given to authors in Africa, the Caribbean, and Canadian First Nations, Inuit, and Métis communities. Authors of winning books receive a cash award, and CODE agrees to buy 2,500 to 12,000 copies of the book. In F2018, 7,464 copies of Burt Award-winning books were delivered to 512 schools and libraries, and 388 community literacy programs in Trinidad and Tobago, Guyana, Barbados and Jamaica, reaching over 62,000 young people. 

CODE’s BETTER (Better Education through Teacher Training and Empowerment for Results) project is intended to improve quality of education for young people in Mozambique by improving the quality of teacher education. The goal is that these improvements will promote gender equality, literacy and language skills. CODE also delivered a successful pilot program designed to increase girls’ access to education. The Girls Accelerated Learning Initiative provided after-school mentoring to 173 over-age girls in five project schools, increasing their chances of completing primary education, and supplying them with the skills and confidence they need to continue to secondary school. 

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Results and Impact

In a study completed in 2017, CODE reports that, before starting CODE programming in Tanzania, students in grades 1-3 could identify less than 20% of letters. After implementing CODE, 95% of teachers reported improved literacy skills of their students and 87% estimated that most of their students were reading library books. When formally evaluated, grade students from schools with CODE had twice the reading comprehension and three times the language fluency of students without CODE. 

In addition, grade 1 students in CODE’s Reading Kenya outperformed non-CODE students by 80% in English, Kiswahili, and Maa literacy testing. 

Charity Intelligence has given CODE a High impact rating based on demonstrated impact per dollar spent.

A Charity Intelligence 2020 Top 10 International Aid Impact Charity

Impact Rating: High

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Ci has consolidated the audited financial statements of CODE with the statements of CODE Foundation. 

CODE is a medium-sized charity with donations of $2.4m in F2018. The charity received $2.8m in government funding, representing 51% of total income. In F2018, administrative costs are 6% of revenues and fundraising costs are 19% of donations. For every dollar donated, 75 cents go to the cause, which is within Ci’s reasonable range for overhead spending. 

CODE has funding reserves of $20.2m, of which $8.3m is donor-endowed. Excluding donor-endowed funds, the charity’s reserves could cover program costs for almost 2.5 years. 

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

Updated on June 27, 2019 by Parker Thomlinson.

Financial Review

Financial Ratios

Fiscal year ending March
Administrative costs as % of revenues 5.7%10.3%9.2%
Fundraising costs as % of donations 19.0%20.9%24.5%
Program cost coverage (%) 244.0%0.0%0.0%

Summary Financial Statements

All figures in $000s
Donations 2,4032,5121,815
Government funding 2,7782,5102,965
Investment income 1481,987233
Other income 282515
Total revenues 5,3577,0345,029
Program costs 5,3064,8654,475
Administrative costs 295518442
Fundraising costs 456526445
Cash flow from operations (699)1,126(333)
Funding reserves 20,22720,51120,023

Note: Ci has consolidated the audited financial statements of CODE and CODE Foundation. Ci has adjusted for donations paid to CODE by the foundation, affecting revenues by ($900k) in F2018, ($775k) in F2017, and ($630k) in F2016. Ci adjusted for the amount paid to CODE by the foundation for administration, affecting revenues and expenses by ($20k) in F2018, ($20k) in F2017, and ($20k) in F2016. Investment income is reported as income less portfolio management fees, affecting revenue and expenses by ($82k) in F2018, ($82k) in F2017, and ($80k) in F2016.

Salary Information

Full-time staff: 19

Avg. Compensation: $59,725

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:

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Charity Contact

Website: www.codecan.org
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