According to The Globe and Mail, two of Canada’s largest cancer charities officially merged on February 1, 2017, being the Canadian Cancer Society and the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation.  This merger was reported to be a result of decreasing donations which threatened the continuation of decades-long research funding to hospitals and universities.  The merger is designed to cut costs by eliminating overlapping operations between the two charities.

Since the merger, the new charity will operate under the name of the Canadian Cancer Society, and subsequent mergers with additional charities of similar purpose are already on the horizon.  To paraphrase the Chairman of the Canadian Cancer Society, Robert Lawrie, a Toronto-based mergers and acquisitions specialist, informed The Globe and Mail that there are about 300 cancer charities in Canada with the similar cost and revenue challenges.

It turns out that more than 10% of the total annual funding for all cancer research in Canada comes from the Canadian Cancer Society and the Canadian
Breast Cancer Foundation.  Decreasing donations to the Canadian Cancer Society have led the charity to dip into its reserve funds in order to cover program spending and operating expenses.  Accordingly, it’s reserve fell from $151 million to $76.1 million between 2012 and 2016.  Similarly, the reserve of the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation fell from $36.1 million to $22.3 million between 2012 and 2016.

Donor fatigue and other competing causes (such as the Fort McMurray fire) were cited as possible reasons for the decrease in donations.

As an estate planning tip, it is always prudent to review Wills that were drawn up in the past to ensure that gifts to a charitable organization are properly named and that the intention of the testator remains the same notwithstanding the possibility that the operations of the named charity may have change over time.  Otherwise, consideration should be given to whether the Will should be changed.

Check out the #TogetherWeAreStronger merger on twitter by following @cancersociety here.  While you are at it, check us out @HullandHullLLP.

To donate to the new Canadian Cancer Society click here.

Thanks for reading this week!

Doreen So