15599 Warden Avenue
Stouffville, ON L4A 2M9
President: Melissa Millward
Board Chair: Greig Clark

Charitable Reg. #:13505 0755 RR0001


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

[Charity Rating: 3/5]



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) 72 cents are available for programs.

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About Trails Youth Initiatives:

Trails is a 3-star charity with average impact. The charity has an average results reporting grade and $7.8m in reserves that can cover charity programs for almost seven years.

Founded in 1992, Trails Youth Initiatives (Trails) works with at-risk youth in Toronto. The charity aims to support and challenge youth to become contributing members of their community. It provides outdoor skill development, mentorship, high school credits, bursaries and job opportunities through a multi-year multi-step program called Four years, Four seasons.  

Teachers from schools in Toronto’s most vulnerable neighbourhoods refer students to Trails. The students selected are chosen because they have the potential but not the support to overcome challenges facing them. Trails selects roughly 40 new at-risk youth to join its program each summer. Kids participate in the program from age 12 to 16 with a two-week stay at Trails’ camp each summer and a weekend visit once a month throughout the school year.  

Students do physically challenging activities including high ropes, yoga, skiing, and canoe trips. There is also training on conflict resolution, problem solving, resume writing, career planning, communication, and First Aid. Students can receive credit for up to three high school health and fitness courses. In F2022, 128 students were part of the Four years, Four seasons program. 

Trails Youth Initiatives also offers fifth- and sixth-year programming for select students. As a fifth-year leader in training, students work with a younger group of students. A sixth-year facilitator in training is a paid intern who receives job skills and leadership training.  

After completing the Four Years, Four Seasons program, alumni can participate in the For Life program which provides mentorship, bursaries, networking and learning opportunities. In F2022, Trails distributed $186k in bursaries to help 39 program graduates pay for post-secondary tuition. In total, Trails supported 72 people through its alumni support. 

Trails is aiming to expand its programming. By 2026, it hopes to have 176 kids enrolled in its 4-year program.

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Results and Impact

Trails states in its most recent annual report that 99% of Trails participants graduate from high school, compared to just 50% graduation rate for peers in low-income communities. In F2022, 95% of participants said that Trails improved their communication skills and 97% reported improved leadership.

While Ci highlights these key results, they may not be a complete representation of Trails Youth Initiatives’ results and impact. 

Charity Intelligence has rated Trails Youth Initiatives as Average on demonstrated impact per dollar spent. 

Impact Rating: Average

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In F2022, Trails Youth Initiatives received $1.4m in cash donations and special event fundraising revenues.

Administrative costs are 9% of total revenue excluding investment income. Fundraising costs are 18% of donations. This results in total overhead spending of 28%. For every dollar donated to the charity 72 cents go to the cause. This is within Ci’s reasonable range for overhead spending. 

Trails has $7.8m million in reserve funds. These reserve funds are its cash and investments and can cover program costs for almost seven years.

Trails funding reserves earned investment income of ($502k) in F2022. This includes $498k in investment income and $1m in unrealized investment losses. In F2022, the annual return on investment was -0.6%, compared with investment returns of 16% in F2021.

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

Updated on May 23th 2023 by Brenleigh Jebb.

Financial Review

Financial Ratios

Fiscal year ending September
Administrative costs as % of revenues 9.3%5.6%4.4%
Fundraising costs as % of donations 18.2%9.8%5.8%
Total overhead spending 27.5%15.4%10.2%
Program cost coverage (%) 689.3%984.9%830.2%

Summary Financial Statements

All figures in $s
Donations 1,028,4782,120,3852,218,027
Business activities (net) 12,00012,00012,000
Special events 325,571193,764138,629
Investment income (502,390)1,050,650256,712
Other income 41,7178,8114,558
Total revenues 905,3763,385,6102,629,926
Program costs 942,711745,354658,757
Grants 185,580120,868118,197
Administrative costs 131,453131,468104,464
Fundraising costs 246,517225,548135,834
Other costs 33,42227,22721,909
Total spending 1,539,6831,250,4651,039,161
Cash flow from operations (634,307)2,135,1451,590,765
Capital spending 38,61763,90328,151
Funding reserves 7,777,1748,531,0316,450,365

Note: To report on a cash basis, Ci removed donations received in past years that are reported in this year. This adjustment for deferred donations affects total revenue by ($1k) in F2022, ($8k) in F2021, and ($22k) in F2020.

Salary Information

Full-time staff: 12

Avg. compensation: $47,338

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 F2022

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Comments & Contact

Comments added by the Charity:

Comments from a previous profile update:

In 2017, a Vision Fundraising Campaign was established with the goal of raising $10 million to develop infrastructure and recruit and additional 20 youth annual for their four-year journey. To accommodate the increase in participants, our 143-acre natural environment site experienced infrastructure additions including a lodge mudroom extension, verandah enhancement and kitchen updates; two classroom/10-sleeper prospector tents and a 2,000 square foot, 40-sleeper cabin. In addition, we developed an Alumni Association, recruited three full-time staff, expanded our Mentorship Programme and added a 6th year Facilitator in Training (FIT) programme as a paid internship. 

It is imperative to continue to grow funding reserves to ensure that when each participant is accepted, they are guaranteed full support for the full four years and beyond. Through this process and into the future, we remain a committed as always to the quality and integrity of our programming and the developmental success of our youth in our "Four Seasons, Four Years, For Life" outdoor programme. We are continuing to position ourselves to meet tomorrow's challenges, relying on the investment of our supporters as we strive to make a difference.

Charity Contact

Website: www.trails.ca
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. Tel: 1-877-836-0285


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Charitable Registration Number: 80340 7956 RR0001