1280 Main Street West
Hamilton, ON L8S 4L8
President: David Farrar
Board Chair: Bradley Merkel

Charitable Reg. #:11903 5988 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) 94 cents are available for programs.

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About McMaster University:

Founded in 1887, McMaster University (McMaster) is a public university in Hamilton. The school is named after Senator William McMaster, founding president of the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce, who funded its creation through a $900k bequest. Today, McMaster is a research-intensive university with six main faculties: business, engineering, health sciences, humanities, science, and social sciences. Its main programs are education and research, for which it does not provide a spending breakdown.

In fall 2020, McMaster University had 36,450 enrolled students, including 31,533 undergraduates and 4,917 graduates. Around 16% of its student population consists of international students. McMaster has 1,050 faculty members, of which 32% teach health sciences, 20% teach science, and 17% teach engineering.

McMaster University is home to 88 Canada Research Chairs. Its researchers also include 118 endowed research chairs, two Ontario Research Chairs, and a Canada 150 Research Chair. McMaster states that it ranks first across universities in Canada for faculty research intensity, based on research spending per faculty member. In F2020, it spent $404k per faculty member and $75k per graduate researcher.

McMaster publishes an annual Community Engagement Report to highlight local projects that it funds across Greater Hamilton. The McMaster Access Program works with local school boards to help underrepresented students plan for their postsecondary education. In F2020, it reached more than 400 local students through recruiting events and hosted 70 one-on-one academic advising sessions.

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Results and Impact

In April 2019, McMaster University completed an impact evaluation with KPMG. Its impact assessment found McMaster contributes around $1.6 billion in GDP and 14,000 full-time jobs to Ontario’s economy each year through its spending. Including the indirect effects of spending, KPMG estimated that McMaster’s total economic impact is around $9.2 billion each year.

While Ci highlights these key results, they may not be a complete representation of McMaster University’s results and impact. This charity is not yet rated on impact (n/r).

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McMaster University is a Major 100 charity, one of Canada’s largest charities in terms of donations. It received donations of $113.6m in F2020. During the year, it also received $479.5m in tuition and other fees (43% of revenues) and $429.9m in government funding (39% of revenues). Administrative costs are 2% of revenues (less investment income) and fundraising costs are 5% of donations. This results in total overhead spending of 6%. For every dollar donated, 94 cents go to the cause. This is within Ci’s reasonable range for overhead spending.

McMaster has $1.3 billion in net funding reserves, of which $476.0m is donor-endowed. Excluding donor-endowed funds, McMaster can cover 87% or around ten months of annual program costs with its reserves.

Charity Intelligence has sent this update to McMaster University for review. Changes and edits may be forthcoming.

Updated on August 30, 2021 by Eric Zhao.

Financial Review

Financial Ratios

Fiscal year ending April
Administrative costs as % of revenues 1.9%1.8%1.7%
Fundraising costs as % of donations 4.5%4.1%4.2%
Total overhead spending 6.4%5.9%6.0%
Program cost coverage (%) 86.8%90.3%86.6%

Summary Financial Statements

All figures in $000s
Donations 113,640119,576110,868
Government funding 429,859425,547415,126
Fees for service 479,465469,275425,724
Business activities (net) 75,95978,20277,112
Investment income 15,10496,03373,290
Total revenues 1,114,0271,188,6331,102,120
Program costs 950,931925,111877,749
Administrative costs 21,35919,97717,817
Fundraising costs 5,0934,8624,681
Other costs 13,25713,30013,340
Total spending 990,640963,249913,587
Cash flow from operations 123,387225,384188,533
Capital spending 127,922148,010156,500
Funding reserves 1,280,9031,313,6521,222,128

Note: Ci reported government funding from the charity’s T3010 filings and removed the amounts from donations. Ci excluded amortization of deferred capital contributions, as McMaster’s audited financials do not disclose the source of this funding. This affected revenues by ($40.8m) in F2020, ($38.8m) in F2019, and ($40.2m) in F2018. Ci included external endowment contributions in donations and investment gains (losses) from external endowments in investment income. This affected revenues by ($6.2m) in F2020, $34.5m in F2019, and $32.8m in F2018. McMaster does not report administrative and fundraising costs in its audited financial statements. Ci gathered administrative and fundraising costs from the charity’s T3010 filings, removing the amounts from program costs. Ci removed amortization on a pro-rata basis from program, administrative, and fundraising costs.

Salary Information

Full-time staff: 4,504

Avg. compensation: $103,996

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 F2020

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Comments & Contact

Comments added by the Charity:

No comments have been added by the charity.

Charity Contact

Website: www.mcmaster.ca
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. Tel: 905-525-9140


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Charitable Registration Number: 80340 7956 RR0001