Where every dollar goes

How Heart & Stroke invests donor dollars

Support from donors is the fuel that drives Heart & Stroke’s mission. Your gifts fund critical advances that prevent heart disease and stroke, save lives and enhance recovery. 

But how do we transform your support into impact? Here are answers to the questions we hear most frequently from donors, and people considering a donation to Heart & Stroke.

All figures are from our 2021 fiscal year, Sept. 1, 2020 to Aug. 31, 2021.

How does Heart & Stroke spend my money?
F21 percentage of total spend bar graph 

Of every dollar spent in fiscal 2021, 55.7% went to mission (which includes research, advocacy and health promotion). Here’s how that breaks down:

  • Research: Heart & Stroke invested a total of $25.6 million in research supporting 420 best-in-class researchers from across the country: $10.4 million in new awards and $15.2 million to support existing commitments. Their work will advance science and inform action that will save lives, prevent disability, support recovery and diagnosis, and improve the health of people in Canada.
  • Advocacy and health promotion: We invested $25.6 million in health promotion programs and advocacy. These programs ranged from our school education and fundraising program Jump Rope for Heart to our advocacy campaign to call for legislative changes to protect youth against the harm caused by vaping. 

In 2021, 41% was spent on fundraising, allowing us to manage a range of programs, many of which deliver critical health information. See more details below. 

Finally, 3.3% went to administration, including accounting and information technology for our operations across Canada. 

No donor dollars are spent on Heart & Stroke lottery operations.

How do these numbers compare to the previous year?
F20 percentage of total spend bar graph compared to F19 

Our goal is always to increase funds available to support our mission while continuing to reach out to as many people in Canada as possible and increase both awareness and donations.

As the global pandemic entered its second year, Heart & Stroke continued to transform how we operated our business and supported our communities. Thanks to the generous support of donors and our focus on innovation, collaboration and efficiency, we drove our mission forward by investing in research and advocacy. We delivered health promotion and community programs to support people living with heart disease, stroke and vascular cognitive impairment, as well as those at risk.

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, stroke and vascular cognitive impairment take one life every five minutes in Canada.  

The pandemic has made our cause more urgent than ever. New research has found that people living with heart disease, stroke or vascular cognitive impairment are worse off — both physically and mentally — because they were not always able to access the care they needed. We also learned that COVID-19 has damaged previously healthy hearts, leaving more people at risk. In addition, two years of grinding disruptions has set us back years in life-saving heart and brain research.

As one of Canada’s largest and most effective health charities, we measure our overall effectiveness by our ability to drive change in priority areas related to new knowledge and innovation, health policies, health systems, and support programs for people at risk of or living with our conditions. 

These societal changes ultimately impact health over a long period. Since inception, Heart & Stroke has invested more than $1.63 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. 

Together, heart disease and stroke are the second leading cause of death and a leading cause of disability in Canada. Along with vascular cognitive impairment, these conditions cost the Canadian economy more than $24.8 billion every year. We are working hard to change these statistics and we need help from the people of Canada. 

Why do you spend donations on fundraising?

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

Our fundraising is interconnected with our mission. For example, when we deliver community programs including Ride for Heart, Jump Rope for Heart or the Heart & Stroke Canvass, we are not just asking the public for support for our cause. We are also providing trusted, evidence-based health information to people in Canada such as the signs of stroke or heart attack, and teaching healthy habits for life to vulnerable communities.

Can you give me detailed examples of how my money was used to support research in 2021?

Find our latest results here.

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

NOTE: In 2021, Heart & Stroke changed our research accounting practices to allocate research funds based on what we raised from the previous year rather than rely on forecasted, future fundraising revenue. This approach is an industry best practice and will better support researchers by providing multi-year, predictable funding. To provide an accurate comparison of our year-over-year spending, we have adjusted the figures for fiscal 2020 (in this graphic) to follow the same allocation pattern.

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