Cancer Research Society

402 - 625 President-Kennedy Avenue
Montreal, QC H3A 3S5
President & CEO: Max Fehlmann
Board Chair: Martin Thibodeau

Charitable Reg. #: 11915 3229 RR0001
Sector: Health - Cancer
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 #22

Avg. Compensation $85,632

Top 10 Staff Salary Range

$350k + 0
$300k - $350k 0
$250k - $300k 0
$200k - $250k 0
$160k - $200k 1
$120k - $160k 0
$80k - $120k 6
$40k - $80k 3
< $40k 0
Information from most recent CRA Charities Directorate filings for F2017

About Cancer Research Society:

Founded in 1945, Cancer Research Society (CRS) has a sole mission of funding research on cancer prevention, detection and treatment. It works closely with academics and principal investigators, supporting scientific research at the academic level. In F2017, CRS selected 59 out of 384 grant applications. CRS granted $11.3m to 149 research projects of which 59 were newly selected and 90 were already in progress. The charity spent 37% of its grants on cancer causes and prevention, 37% on cancer detection, and 26% on cancer treatment research. CRS is transparent with its grants, hosting a publicly-available grant database on its website. Cancer remains the leading cause of death in Canada; however, research has led to improvements. CRS reports that 40 years ago, cancer survival rates were 25%, but they now exceed 60%.

In F2017, Cancer Research Society budgeted $8.4m to 70 new operational grant projects, consisting of 42 fully funded by CRS and 28 funded alongside partner organizations or families. Each operational grant is $120k given to a researcher for salary and research funding disbursed over a period of two years. Collectively, supported grant projects explore cancer prevention, detection, and treatment for a variety of cancer types.

In F2017, Cancer Research Society provided three scholarships of $160k dispersed over three years to postdoctoral students to support the last year of their postdoctoral internship and then their research over the next two years. A fourth scholarship was granted in partnership with BMO Bank of Montreal.

Cancer Research Society provides grants in partnership with other organizations toward strategic projects. These projects include the CIHR initiative for studying the late effects of childhood cancer treatments, PROCURE/Cancer Research Society Prostate Cancer Biobank, and the Exactis Innovation “Personalize My Treatment” Initiative. For the past 20 years, CRS supported and continues to support research exploring environmental causes of cancer. Additionally, CRS launched a funding program toward repositioning drugs in which existing drugs are reoriented to be used in a different way.

In F2017, there were multiple changes in CRS’s top management. Max Fehlmann became the new President and CEO, Martin Thibodeau was newly elected as Chairman of the Board, and senior managers left.

Results and Impact: In 2016, CRS supported 172 cancer research projects, 20 of which studied underfunded cancers. CRS reports significant overall research progress; patients with cancers that previously resulted in poor outcomes now have a 70%, 80%, and sometimes over 90% chance of surviving five years after diagnosis.

Financial Review:

Cancer Research Society is one of Canada's Major 100 charities. It received donations of $19.4m in F2017. Administrative costs are 9% of revenues and fundraising costs are 36% of donations. The charity’s administrative and fundraising costs have consistently increased since F2015, respectively up 3% and 9%. For every dollar donated, 55 cents go to the cause, which falls below Ci’s reasonable range. CRS has $16.6m in future commitments to multi-year research grants and fellowships, a recommended practice for scientific research grants. CRS has total funding reserves of $31.3m, including $4.4m in donor-endowed funds. Excluding donor-endowed funds, funding reserves can cover program costs for 2.3 years.

This charity report is an update that is being reviewed by Cancer Research Society. Changes and edits may be forthcoming.

Updated on May 18, 2018 by Joeyanne Cheung.

Financial Ratios

Fiscal year ending August
Administrative costs as % of revenues 8.7%7.1%6.3%
Fundraising costs as % of donations 36.4%32.0%26.9%
Program cost coverage (%) 267.6%221.7%244.6%

Summary Financial Statements

All figures in $000s
Donations 19,40719,49622,018
Investment income 1,0581,8132,224
Total revenues 20,46521,30824,242
Grants 11,70814,12112,926
Administrative costs 1,6951,3851,394
Fundraising costs 7,0586,2285,931
Cash flow from operations 5(425)3,991
Funding reserves 31,32631,29831,619

Comments added by the Charity:

October 28, 2016: Cancer Research Society provided these comments to a previous report. New comments may be submitted.

"The mission of the Cancer Research Society is to fund research on all types of cancer throughout Canada. Through its operating grant program, the Society primarily supports fundamental or basic research. Fundamental research answers the why, what and how of cancer. It leads to essential knowledge that serves as the cornerstone for innovative discoveries. The Society also funds translational research, which takes discoveries from the laboratory and brings them to the patient in the form of better diagnostic tools and treatments. Last but not least, the Society, finances projects aimed at understanding the environmental causes of cancer, a field in which it is considered to have played a pioneering role in Canada.

With the goal of expanding its research portfolio and leveraging donor funds, the Cancer Research Society partners with individuals, families, groups, and other cancer organizations by creating scientific alliances and targeted Research Funds. These partnerships allow enhanced funding of research on:

  • various types of cancer (prostate, breast, pancreas, lung, ovary, myeloma, non-Hodgkin lymphoma, etc.);
  • late effects of childhood cancer treatments;
  • personalized medicine; and the
  • environmental causes of cancer.

In addition to operating grants, and through its Scholarships for the Next Generation of Scientists program, the Society provides young researchers with the opportunity to pursue their careers in Canada. This unique and innovative funding initiative serves to prevent an exodus of our best scientific minds.

During the past five years, the Society has invested $62.3 million in research and has funded 335 new research projects on cancer throughout Canada.

The Cancer Research Society has been funding research since 1945. Since its creation, there have been many advances in cancer detection, prevention and treatment. Guided by the highest standards and an uncompromising commitment, the Society aims to exceed expectations in research. 

For more information:"

May 25, 2018: For more information on how funding reserves, among others, is calculated:

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