What kind of a charitable foundations spends more on office expenses, salaries, consultants and "other expenses" than on grants to support charitable causes? That's the question that comes to mind as I have been analyzing the expenditures of the Endswell Foundation.
Co-founded, as the story goes, by Joel Solomon and Carol Newell, the Endswell Foundation says that during the 1990s, it was the the largest B.C.-based charitable foundation funding environmental causes in British Columbia.
According to my analysis of Canadian tax returns, the Endswell Foundation is the single largest "Canadian" donor to Tides Canada. I use the term "Canadian" in quotes because I note that Endswell files U.S. tax returns and I have questions about whether the assets of the Endswell Foundation may have originated from the U.S.
For the purposes of these figures, the terms "overhead expenses" and "overhead" refer to all expenditures except grants to other organizations ("gifts to qualified donees").
According to my calculations, between 2003 and 2010, grants to other organizations accounted for only 43 percent of Endswell's total expenditures while overhead accounted for 57 percent, more than half of total expenditures.
From 2000 to 2009, annual overhead doubled from roughly $1 million to $2 million. In 2003, from 2005 to 2006 and again in 2009, total overhead exceeded grants.
Source: Compiled on the basis of on-line tax returns filed by with Revenue Canada by the Endswell Foundation.
Updated October 31, 2011
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