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Where every dollar goes

How Heart & Stroke invests donor dollars

The support of donors makes it possible for Heart & Stroke to achieve our mission of preventing disease, saving lives and promoting recovery. Together we are funding medical breakthroughs that tangibly improve the health of Canadians.

How do we use your money to reach these goals? Here are answers to the questions we hear most frequently from donors and people considering making a donation. All figures are from fiscal year 2017.

How does Heart & Stroke spend my money?
Percentage of total expenditures - 3 per cent admin, 41 fundraising, 56 per cent mission

Of every dollar spent 56 cents goes to our mission.

Here’s how that breaks down:

  • 26 cents goes to research, to fund more than 800 researchers across Canada, whose work saves lives, prevents disability and improves health. In 2017 this amounted to $32.6 million to research.
    • Projects are diverse, from groundbreaking work on understanding and one day preventing  SCAD, a mysterious condition that causes heart attacks in young women, to research that could help restore sensation and movement after a stroke by reactivating brain circuits with light therapy. Heart & Stroke researchers worked to accelerate the delivery of a drug that can help prevent brain damage in the hours after stroke, and we furthered our commitment to Indigenous health by co-funding the BC First Nations Health Authority Chair in Heart Health and Wellness. 
  • 30 cents goes to support advocacy and health promotion programs. In 2017 this amounted to $38.0 million.
    • This investment led to significant milestone successes including measures by Health Canada to ban artificial trans fats in all food sold in Canada, as well as progress toward restriction of unhealthy food and beverage marketing to children. We commissioned new research that shows Canadians are the second largest buyers of ultra-processed foods and drinks in the world, to support our call for stronger food policies and guidelines, including mandatory front-of-package nutrition labelling, 
    • In 2017, we launched our online Community of Survivors support group with 300 members and distributed more than 34,800 copies of Your Stroke Journey and 48,000 copies of Living Well with Heart Disease.

As for the rest of that dollar:

  • 41 cents is invested in fundraising, allowing us to manage a wide range of programs, many of which deliver critical health information or include healthy activities for participants.
  • 3 cents goes to administration, including accounting and information technology for our operations across Canada.
  • No donor dollars are spent on Heart & Stroke lottery operations.
Where can I find your annual report?

Download our latest Report to Donors.

Where can I find more in-depth financial information?

Find our detailed financial statements here.

If you still have questions, please click here to request information.

How do your numbers compare to the previous year?

Percentage of total spend:

Percentage of total expenditures - 3 per cent admin, 41 per cent fundraising and 56 per cent mission

These numbers show the result of careful management of our spending. Our goal is a steady increase in the funds available to support our mission while continuing to reach out to as many Canadians as possible and increase both awareness and donations.

Why do you spend so much on fundraising?

Heart & Stroke’s spend on fundraising is watched closely by our management and board of directors and we strive to be efficient.

What numbers don’t show is that many of our fundraising programs are intrinsically linked with providing health information and activities that can improve and extend the lives of Canadians.

Heart&Stroke Big Bike and Jump Rope for Heart, for example, are more costly to operate, but they are programs that enable us to engage participants in healthy activities and share health information and resources. As a grassroots organization, we are committed to these community-based fundraising and education activities.

Why should I donate to Heart & Stroke?

Heart & Stroke’s critical priority is to invest in life-saving research that leads to medical breakthroughs. Heart disease and stroke are leading causes of death, taking the lives of more than 66,000 Canadians every year, one every seven minutes. 

We are one of Canada’s largest and most effective health charities, and we measure our overall effectiveness by our ability to make a distinctive health impact over a long period. Since inception, Heart & Stroke has invested more than $1.52 billion in heart and stroke research, making us the largest contributor in Canada after the federal government. The death rate from heart disease and stroke has declined by more than 75%. Our programs across the country are saving lives every day.

Heart disease and stroke are leading causes of hospitalization and the second and third leading causes of death in Canada. They are the biggest driver of prescription drug use and a leading cause of disability, costing the Canadian economy more than $20.9 billion every year. We are working hard to change these statistics and we need help from Canadians. 

Can you give me detailed examples of how my money was used in 2017?

Click here to see our latest results.

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