Canada's disbursement quota changes could mean billions in extra grants. Why don't smaller charities care?

Overworked staff and the abstract nature of the disbursement quota are some of the reasons why smaller organizations aren’t closely following Canada’s DQ debate.

Why It Matters

The needs of philanthropic organizations with multimillion dollar annual disbursements are very different from a small charity with a handful of staff – yet the former dominates consultation requests, the narrative, and committee meetings on disbursement quota changes.

Gabe Oatley’s journalism on this special report is made possible by the Future of Good editorial fellowship on transforming funding models, supported by United Way Centraide Canada and Community Foundations of Canada.

To many of Canada’s largest charities, the question of whether or not to hike the annual disbursement quota — the amount philanthropic organizations are required to give to charities each year — is an engrossing one.

A recent Finance Canada consultation process for charities, non-profits, and experts to give their two cents on whether or not to bring the disbursement quota up past 3.5 percent resulted in more than 200 submissions. Dozens of prominent Canadian grantmakers signed the Give5 pledge to give at least 5 percent of their assets to charity. Sector lobbyists like Imagine Canada take a more complicated view of the matter by arguing for

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