Health charities hit with historic loss in revenue during COVID-19

The pandemic has led to the cancellation of many in-person events that charities rely on for fundraising, and the financial hit means delays in disease research and fewer supports for people with a variety of illnesses.

The Health Charities Coalition of Canada is an umbrella group of national health charities that typically host walkathons, galas and other major fundraising events which raise around $650 million a year. Its members report that revenues have fallen more than 50 per cent as physical distancing requirements during the COVID-19 crisis curtailed those events.

Tammy Moore chairs the board of directors of Health Charities Coalition of Canada and is CEO of ALS Canada, where she says the decline in donations has delayed getting mobility chairs, hospital beds and ceiling lifts to help people with ALS, who can experience progressive paralysis over the span of two to five years before death. 

Grassroot efforts stifled

Andrea Seale, CEO of the Canadian Cancer Society, said the group delivers support to people going through cancer and to their caregivers, runs summer camps for children living with cancer, and advocates on health policies. All of those areas have been hit by what Seale said is likely the greatest financial challenge in the organization's 80-plus-year history.