Update to Services in consideration of COVID-19: In consideration of provincial and federal guidelines, Gift Funds Canada will have limited staff and office hours starting in September, 2020. We will continue to provide full services to our donors and the charities that they support, but it may take us longer than usual as we accommodate the current procedures. Please send gift information to gifts@giftfunds.com and grant requests to grants@giftfunds.com

Please send all other general inquiries via email to contactus@giftfunds.com and we'll direct them to the most appropriate staff member who will reply as soon as possible by phone or email. Please know that we will do everything we can to continue to serve you and the organizations that depend on grants from your funds. Take care.

Giving to Environmental Charities in Canada

It seems that every time you turn on the television or read your favourite news source, the topic of the environment is front and centre. From water and air pollution to protecting sensitive habitats to climate change and rising sea levels, it can be difficult (and daunting) to keep track of where the greatest need resides.

For donors wishing to make a positive impact on environmental issues in Canada through their philanthropy, is can be difficult to know where to start and which environmental charities in Canada are making the greatest impact.

In 2010, the Canadian Revenue Agency reported more than 1,150 registered charities in Canada focused on environmental issues, which means there’s plenty of options out there for donors. A quick search online can also produce a list of Canada’s top-rated charities but for most donors, a name is not enough to plan their giving strategy.

Understanding what issues top environmental charities in Canada are focusing on can help donors and their financial advisors have an informed conversation about philanthropic planning. To support these discussions, we’ve summarized five key environmental areas from an in-depth study conducted by Charity Intelligence Canada. These may be a great starting point for donors looking to understand the Canadian environmental charities landscape.

Land conservation

Canada is known for its beautiful landscapes and vast supply of natural habitat, but these resources are vulnerable and can be easily damaged if not protected. The following are registered Canadian organizations focused on land conservation.

The Bruce Trail Conservancy works to protect the Niagara Escarpment, a unique ecosystem and UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve. The Niagara Escarpment is under severe development pressure. 8,800 members of the Bruce Trial Conservancy are dedicated to conservation management activities.

The Nature Conservancy of Canada administers funding for the Natural Areas Conservation Program, the largest land conservation program in Canada. NCC works closely with the Federal Government to prepare natural area conservation plans for all its nature reserves and evaluates its performance in protecting these reserves.

Habitat protection

Unique and diverse habitats exist in many forms across Canada. One charitable organization dedicated to the protection and education around Canadian habitats is the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society.

For more than 50 years, the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society has made significant achievements in helping create parks, nature reserves, and enabling protection for forests, working with both national and provincial governments.

Wildlife protection

The animals that inhabit protected and unprotected land in Canada are susceptible to the same environmental risks that threaten the habitats where they live. Two leading charitable organizations working to combat these negative impacts include the following.

The Wildlife Conservation Society Canada specializes in research into large mammals in Canadian wilderness areas and provides this research to many other conservation groups and governments.

Dedicated to saving species at immediate risk of extinction, Wildlife Preservation Canada is the only charity in Canada focused exclusively on the issue of extinction.

Sustainable building

As communities across Canada continue to grow, opportunities to build and develop in ways that are mindful of the environment grow, too.

Ecotrust Canada is focused on building ecologically sustainable communities. The need for such development in the remote regions of British Columbia, especially in First Nations communities, is large. Ecotrust’s strategy consists of promoting sustainable forestry, fisheries, housing and community development.


Every charitable cause that needs a voice has a need for advocacy, and nature is no different in this regard. Therefore charitable organizations like Nature Canada exist and are always looking for support.

As one of the country’s oldest environmental organizations, Nature Canada draws its unique strength from its 350 member naturalists’ clubs who provide front-line research to inform other research, advocacy campaigns for national parks creation, endangered species legislation and habitat protection, and to support policy change.

How a donor advised fund can help the environment

Having a clear picture of ‘where’ a donor wishes to make their contributions helps to inform ‘how’ that contribution is made. One option is by establishing a Donor Advised Fund (DAF), which can provide several advantages to the donor.

When a donor works with a reputable charitable organization like Gift Funds Canada, they can set up a Donor Advised Fund and donate to any registered charity in Canada they choose and contribute to a better environment for years to come.

A charitable gift fund allows donors to create a low cost, flexible instrument for charitable giving as an alternative to giving directly to a foundation. Donors enjoy administrative convenience, cost savings and tax advantages by conducting their grant making through the fund, and advisors benefit from professional support and expertise every step of the way.

Find out Why Financial Advisors are Looking to Donor Advised Funds.