This is the first study of its kind to assess the untapped research capacity of administrative data on Canadian foundations. More than twenty years of records collected by the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) for the entire population of foundations is publicly accessible to researchers. Canadian data offers greater opportunity for nuanced analysis of the charitable foundation sector than information from the comparatively small sample available for U.S. foundations. Despite the richness of Canadian data and the potential it has to inform grantmaking and administrative practices of foundations, the academic community has paid little attention to this wealth of statistical information.
This article explores some of the questions that this data can potentially answer. Consultations with foundation representatives help illuminate the directions that the foundation sector would like researchers to pursue with this data.