Policy statement

The David Suzuki Foundation is a non‐profit, charitable organization registered under Canadian law. DSF welcomes donations to fulfil its mission to “protect the diversity of nature and our quality of life, now and into the future.”

The purpose of DSF’s gift acceptance policy is to provide guidance to the board of directors and staff on which gifts can be accepted and how they should be handled. The policy also serves as a source of information for potential donors who are interested in supporting DSF’s activities.

Types of gifts

DSF accepts gifts, donations, grants and funds from individuals, foundations, organizations, associations, employee groups, corporations and other donors. According to the Canada Revenue Agency, a gift is “a voluntary transfer of property without consideration.” The following types of gifts are deemed eligible for acceptance by DSF:

  • Outright gifts of cash, cheques and cash equivalents;
  • Publicly traded securities (including stocks, mutual funds and bonds);
  • Gifts of property (including real estate, art, computer equipment, jewelry);
  • Bequests, life insurance policies, gifts of residual interest and annuities.

In the case of publicly traded securities and gifts of property, DSF’s practice is to sell immediately upon receipt and convert to cash. A charitable tax receipt will be issued for the fair market value at the date of transfer. Gifts of property should be evaluated prior to donation; minimum values may apply. DSF may hold onto gifts in kind that are deemed to be of immediate or future use to the organization. DSF recognizes that donors may occasionally wish to give property that is not readily marketable. DSF will evaluate such gifts to determine whether there are costs or risks associated with acceptance.

Charitable tax receipting

DSF issues charitable tax receipts for all eligible donations, in accordance with Canada Revenue Agency regulations.

Ethical guidelines for gift acceptance

  • Gifts shall support DSF’s mission, vision and long‐term direction.
  • DSF shall not accept gifts from groups or organizations that:
    • Encroach on the organization’s integrity;
    • Restrict its liberty of action;
    • Cause damage to its reputation;
    • Place additional costs or burdens on the organization;
    • Expose it to uncertain risk or possible liability.
  • DSF shall not accept direct donations from Canadian governments except in these following narrow circumstances:
    • Reasonable in the spirit of partnership;
    • Under $10,000 unless it goes for special review by the CEO and development and finance directors.
  • DSF reserves the right to decline any gift.

Corporate partnerships

DSF is a catalyst organization. Our impact and successes can be further achieved through relationships with values-aligned corporate partners. The goal for the DSF corporate partnership strategy is to grow our partnerships with Canadian businesses to increase our funding from this sector and increase engagement with our supporters. All potential partnerships are evaluated by management based on fit with organizational values, programs and brand.

Types of partnerships include:

  • Funding partner: Donation received from corporate foundation or community investment fund specifically for program work
  • Sponsorship: Specific sponsorship of DSF program or event with clear benefits like tickets, signage, etc.
  • Employee engagement partner: Employee group volunteers at DSF event and/or offers donation
  • Third-party fundraiser: Corporate or retail partner that donates part of sales or profits to DSF work
  • Natural program partners: Business partners that support and benefit specific program work with resources

Transparency and reporting

  • Gifts shall be accounted for in a manner that allows donors and the public to develop a fair picture of how DSF conducts its activities.
  • DSF will respect donors’ wishes for anonymity and consult with donors to obtain their permission before public disclosure of their giving.
  • DSF will conduct itself in accordance with all Canada Revenue Agency regulations and U.S. Internal Revenue Service laws applicable to 501(c)(3) organizations.
  • DSF urges prospective donors to seek the assistance of personal legal and financial advisers in matters relating to their gifts and the resulting tax and estate-planning consequences.

Naming opportunities

Authority to accept or decline any proposal to apply a donor’s name to a program within DSF (on a temporary or permanent basis) rests with the CEO, in consultation with the development committee of the board of directors.

Delegation of authority

With the exception of naming rights, the CEO may delegate authority to the development director to evaluate, negotiate and decline gifts, and create and execute gift agreements with prospective donors in keeping with this policy.

CEO’s responsibilities

The CEO will:

  • Ensure that the organization adheres to the Gift Acceptance Policy.
  • Seek guidance from the board development committee for gifts that fall outside of this policy.
  • Report monthly on gift acceptance activities to the board development committee.