Hamilton’s philanthropy by the numbers

At Hamilton Community Foundation we are in the privileged position of being able to see the positive impact Hamiltonians make in their city through their time, talents and resources every single day. Whether one chooses to support Hamilton Community Foundation or one of the other 85,000 registered charities in Canada there is no doubt that Hamiltonians are both caring and philanthropic.

For some, making a financial contribution is an easy way to support charities. According to 2015 data from Statistics Canada, 124,300 Hamiltonians made charitable donations totalling more than $223 million, up three percent from 2014.  More than one-in-five tax filers in Hamilton claimed charitable donations in 2015, slightly higher than the Canadian average.

Who gives?

In Hamilton, the average donor in 2015 was 56 years old and the median1 donation was $330. Comparatively, the average Canadian donor in the same year was 54 years old and the median donation was $300. Figure 1, further illustrates how different age groups give – as measured by the percent of total donations that each group contributes and the average total donation for each group.

Figure 1: The Hamiltonian Donor

Looking further into the data, 53 percent of Hamilton’s donors were men and 47 percent were female, the same as the national breakdown, with median donations of $360 and $300, respectively. The national median donation for males was $320 and for women it was $270.

What does the Hamilton philanthropist look like?

In Hamilton, though the numbers paint one piece of the picture of who gives in our community it is worth remembering that philanthropy is not just a function of monetary donations. Rather, it is the sum of volunteerism, random acts of kindness and the countless other ways we demonstrate a general love for humankind and promote the welfare of others. Anyone can be a philanthropist!


1Median is the middle number in a group of numbers. Where a median donation, for example, is given as $300, it means that exactly half of the donations reported are greater than or equal to $300, and that the other half is less than or equal to the median amount.

Statistics Canada. Table 111-0001 – Summary of charitable donors, annual, CANSIM (database). Last updated February 21, 2017.
https://www5.statcan.gc.ca/cansim/a26?lang=eng&retrLang=eng&id=1110001&&pattern=&stByVal=1&p1=1&p2=31&tabMode=dataTable&csid (accessed May 3, 2017).

Statistics Canada. Table 111-0002 – Charitable donors, by age and sex, annual, CANSIM (database. Last updated February 21, 2017.
https://www5.statcan.gc.ca/cansim/a26?lang=eng&retrLang=eng&id=1110002&&pattern=&stByVal=1&p1=1&p2=31&tabMode=dataTable&csid (accessed May 3, 2017).