Thank you, sir.
Good morning. My name is Kate Bahen. As managing director of Charity Intelligence, I prepared the two most recent updates on WE Charity, which were on August 28, 2019, and July 10, 2020.
Before answering your questions, I would like to speak to some of the issues that have been raised during your proceedings and on social media about Charity Intelligence and the motives behind our reporting. Let me address these in order.
Yes, Charity Intelligence is a small charity. Our annual revenues of $435,000 support a team of three full-time staff, supported by exceptional university summer students. This April we hired another charity impact analyst, so our full-time roster increased by 33%, to four. Charity Intelligence's team answers Canadians' questions about giving, and we update our popular website. Despite our small size, we have demonstrated a significant impact on Canada's charitable giving.
Yes, Charity Intelligence lost its charitable status for one day, in September 2012, because I was late in filing the annual return. I am solely to blame for falling behind in this essential paperwork. It was a hard lesson, learned well. Ci has filed before the deadline in the last eight years.
As to the motivation for our work, it is simply to give Canadian donors the best independent and objective advice we are capable of. Charity Intelligence is not partisan. I do not know the political affiliations of our staff. These matters simply do not come up in our research and analysis of charities. I find partisanship toxic. As you may notice from my accent, like many new Canadians I came from away to Canada. I am deeply indebted to this amazing country. To some, partisanship may be a sport or a game, but as a child I saw the Troubles, I learned of the Orangemen's march and I heard the bombs. I want no part of that ever again.
All of that brings me to the Canada summer service grant. This is a sorry mess. There is one simple solution to help charities at this time of critical need that I would like to bring to your attention for consideration. One leg of the three-pronged CSSG initiative was to help Canadian charities through student volunteers. For many charities, volunteers can be essential in program delivery, but with the COVID shutdown, front-line charities need money. Our biggest concern is about individual giving. Imagine Canada estimates that individual giving will drop by between $4.2 billion and $6.2 billion this year. For context, last year giving was approximately $17 billion.
One quick way to address this gap is for our government to increase the disbursement quota of charity foundations and endowments. The disbursement quota is a little-known charity regulation. It sets the minimum amount foundations must distribute of their assets to charities each year. Canada's disbursement quota is 3.5%, the lowest disbursement quota in the world. In the U.S., foundations are required to pay out 5% each year, with people calling for it to be raised to 10% for the COVID response. Over the last 15 years, Canadian foundations have averaged investment returns well above 8%. Today the investments at private foundations, community foundations, public foundations and endowments exceed $100 billion.
This quota can be changed to 5% by the stroke of our finance minister's pen. It can be just temporary, just enough to help charities through this pandemic. The change between the current 3.5% and 5% may seem small, a 1.5% difference, but mathematically it's a 43% increase, which would result in an additional $700 million more flowing from foundations to charities this year. The money that foundations hold is already tax-receipted.
This change wouldn't cost the government any additional revenue but would meaningfully support thousands of front-line charities. More information on this initiative is available at Give5.ca.