Foundations are registered charities. There are three types of charities in Canada:

  1. Private foundation;
  2. Public foundation or;
  3. Charitable organization. Canadian foundations are a diverse group of funders, dispersed across the country, that contribute close to 6 billion dollars to qualified donees annually..

Overview of the Foundation Sector

Source: Canada Revenue Agency (list of charities, online data as of March 2021).

Assets and Grants (2018) All Private and Public Foundations*

Public and private foundations held about $91.9 billion in assets and made $7.0 billion in grants in 2018. Source: Imagine Canada, February 2021. *Includes Mastercard Foundation which is Canada’s largest foundation (private) with $23.7 billion in assets.

Foundation Assets 2008-2018

Source: Imagine Canada and Ajah (2015).

Foundation Grants 2008-2018

Public foundations make close to double the dollar amount of grants annually. Many such foundations are attached to specific institutions (e.g. hospitals). Source: Imagine Canada (2021).

Growth in Number of Foundations 2005-2021

Source: Canada Revenue Agency (charities listings online as of March 2021).

Geographic Distribution All Foundations (February 2021)

Source: Canada Revenue Agency (charities listings online as of February 2021).