Suite 111 - 1429 Main St. E.
Hamilton, ON L8K 1C2
CEO: Charles Roberts
Board Chair: Kerry Brandt

Charitable Reg. #:86123 2890 RR0001


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

Unlock Charity Ratings


Audited financial statements available only upon request.



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) 91 cents are available for programs.

My anchor


About Live Different:

Founded in 2000, Live Different helps young people embrace a caring lifestyle. Live Different organizes trips for teens to developing countries. The charity also hosts presentations at Canadian schools.

Live Different Builds were 52% of Live Different’s program spending in F2019. Volunteers spend eight to ten days building homes or schools in Dominican Republic, Mexico, Haiti, or Thailand. Participants are required to pay for their own travel and fundraise a minimum of $1,695 to $2,995, depending on the build location. The money covers most expenses for the build.

Presentations and school assemblies represented 34% of Live Different’s program spending in F2019.  Presentations are an hour long and include a speaker and a live band. Live Different reports that it has presented to 1.6 million students at 3,800 schools since 2000. Live Different has also visited 52 communities as part of its Indigenous Youth Empowerment Tour. The tour inspires indigenous youth through workshops and a community concert.  

Live Different Projects were 12% of Live Different’s program spending in F2019. Live Different Projects improve communities where Live Different Builds take place. Past projects include building schools, playgrounds, and medical clinics. Since 2005, the charity has completed over 500 international projects.

The remaining 2% of program spending went to Live Different Academy. Teens spend 13 weeks in Mexico learning about social justice and Mexican culture. Participants pay $3,245 in tuition and $3,750 in charitable project costs.

My anchor

Results and Impact

According to Live Different, 89% of Live Different Builds volunteers heightened or maintained a high level of self-confidence. 95% of volunteers developed or maintained a sense that they could make a difference. All volunteers surveyed increased or continued their commitment to volunteering.

Live Different collected feedback from 307 students who attended presentations. Of the respondents, 92% (281) reported having a better understanding of empathy, 81% (249) were more aware of how their actions could hurt others, and 83% (256) would be more inclined to listen to a friend who needs help.

Charity Intelligence has given Live Different a Low impact rating based on demonstrated impact per dollar spent.

Impact Rating: Low

My anchor


Live Different is a Medium-sized charity that received donations of $4.1 million in F2019. Total donations include $1.7 million for the Freedom Village construction project in Haiti. 49% of donations came from individuals and companies. Live Different also received $654k in fees for service. 56% of fees came from school programs. 40% came from Live Different Builds and 3% came from Live Different Projects.

Administrative costs are 6% of total revenues, and fundraising costs are 4% of total revenues. For every dollar donated, 91 cents go to the cause, which is within Ci’s reasonable range for overhead spending.

Live Different has funding reserves of $1.6 million, which can cover annual program spending for 7.3 months.

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

Updated on May 22, 2020 by Tenzin Shomar.

Financial Review

Financial Ratios

Fiscal year ending August
Administrative costs as % of revenues 5.6%18.1%15.1%
Fundraising costs as % of donations 3.9%0.4%0.0%
Total overhead spending 9.5%18.5%15.1%
Program cost coverage (%) 60.8%3.9%2.1%

Summary Financial Statements

All figures in $s
Donations 4,081,9532,480,4742,255,974
Government funding 58,55800
Fees for service 654,021549,209510,319
Special events 41,58633,51019,368
Total revenues 4,836,1183,063,1932,785,661
Program costs - International 1,643,9881,665,9841,552,016
Program costs - Canada 989,276681,375514,279
Administrative costs 269,740554,327419,419
Fundraising costs 160,72510,661206
Total spending 3,063,7292,912,3472,485,920
Cash flow from operations 1,772,389150,846299,741
Capital spending 331,63355,92827,144
Funding reserves 1,601,15190,43843,308

Note: Amortization has been removed from Canadian programming, international programming, administrative, and fundraising costs pro-rata.

Salary Information

Full-time staff: 22

Avg. Compensation: $45,105

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 F2019

My anchor

Comments & Contact

Comments added by the Charity:

The comments below were provided with reference to a previous profile. Updated comments from the charity may be forthcoming. 

Live Differently sees itself as a social service charity helping Canadian youth. It may be miscategorized as an international aid charity. Yet the vast majority of its program spend is reported as being spent internationally in developing countries. Charity Intelligence is reviewing which category best fits with Live Differently's mission and program spending.




Teenagers and young adults volunteering abroad is a $2 billion travel industry. Voluntourism is also coming under greater scrutiny, see CBC 2015 documentary Volunteers Unleashed

Charity Contact

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. Tel: (905)777-1662