Our Work

There are currently no FAQs in this category.

Donations

Q. How much of my donation will go to those who need it?

 

We work very hard to keep our administrative costs as low as possible. Please click here to read a letter from Stephen Lewis as well as an accompanying explanation of how we calculate our administrative costs and how to understand our Canada Revenue Agency reports.

Q. How can I donate the pens/books/clothing I’ve collected?

 

Shipping goods to Africa is expensive and often costs more than the value of the goods you are donating. For this reason, most NGOs recommend that you donate money and let local organizations in Africa purchase the goods they need. In fact, here's a quote from one of the organizations we support in South Africa:

When a donation of goods gets shipped we have endless problems getting it out of customs and the costs involved are too horrendous for us to cover. We wait at least 3-6 months to get the donation released and then we have to wait a further month or so to get the goods released for collection.

Q. How can I make sure that my donation goes to projects in a specific country? Or that it goes to one of your areas of focus?

 

Our areas of focus are children affected by AIDS, grandmothers, survivors of sexual violence, home-based care providers or people living with HIV and AIDS. If you are donating by cheque, please make it payable to 'Stephen Lewis Foundation' and write your request on the reference line. If you are making your donation online, please use the drop-down menu to designate your gift to a specific area of focus. If you are donating by phone or email, please let us know how you would like us to allocate your gift, and we will be sure to designate your donation as indicated.

Online Donations

Q. I’m having trouble making a donation online. How can I get help or find out what happened to my donation?

 

If you encounter any problems when donating online, please email us at info@stephenlewisfoundation.org or call 416-533-9292 or 1-888-203-9990 ext.0, and we will be happy to assist you.

Q. I see that I can make a donation through the Stephen Lewis Foundation’s website. Can I still donate online through CanadaHelps?

 

Yes, it is still possible to donate to the Stephen Lewis Foundation through CanadaHelps.org using a credit card or PayPal account. However, we have our own online donation system that allows donors to give directly and securely to the Foundation. By donating via our website, you also have the option to personalize your donation and to send tribute cards and letters in memory. To give online, please click here or on the Donate button at the top of the page.

Monthly Donations

Q. I give a monthly gift to the Stephen Lewis Foundation. How do I change the amount or billing information for my pre-authorized monthly withdrawal?

 

To change your monthly donation amount or update your credit card or banking information, please contact info@stephenlewisfoundation.org or call 416-533-9292 or 1-888-203-9990 ext.0. Please note that it may take up to two weeks for the changes to take effect.

Fundraising

Q. Where can I find more information on the Grandmothers to Grandmothers Campaign? How do I start or join a grandmother group?

 

Please visit the Grandmothers Campaign section to read more about the Campaign and how you can get involved. In this section, you can also download information kits and other resources to help you get started.

Q. I have never organized an event or fundraising initiative before. Where do I start?

 

We’re happy to help you make your fundraising event as successful as possible. Please visit the Plan an Event section for tips, tools, and materials. You can also register your event online or contact us at 416-533-9292 or 1-888-203-9990 ext.224 or community@stephenlewisfoundation.org.

We have many materials available online for download and printing. We encourage use of our online materials, as this helps to keep our administration costs as low as possible. Available materials include:

  • Flyers
  • Newsletters
  • Donor forms
  • Logos and photos
  • Fact sheets

Q. Can Stephen Lewis speak at my event? Or is someone else available from the Stephen Lewis Foundation?

 

Stephen’s schedule is normally packed – please call Janet Solberg at 416-533-9292 or 1-888-203-9990 ext.224 or send an email to community@stephenlewisfoundation.org to discuss your request. We also have some terrific speakers available from the Stephen Lewis Foundation and volunteers with the Foundation’s Grandmothers Campaign who may be available to speak at your event. To enquire about this possibility, please provide us with as much information as possible about your event when you get in touch.

Q. We'd like to organize a walkathon/bikeathon/swimathon in our community/school. Is it possible to provide official donation receipts to everyone who donates?

 

We would be pleased to provide an official donation receipt to every donor who makes a donation of $20 or more. In order to issue the receipt, we will need the full name, address, and amount given by each donor. We have developed a Sponsorship Form and an Excel spreadsheet to track donations for this type of event. You can also set up an online fundraising page and encourage your friends and family to donate to your event. They’ll receive a tax receipt by email immediately after making their donation. Please email us at community@stephenlewisfoundation.org or call 416-533-9292 or 1-888-203-9990 ext.224 for more information.

Q. I am organizing a lottery/raffle/draw at my school/church to raise funds for the Stephen Lewis Foundation. Is it possible for those who buy tickets to receive an official donation receipt?

 

It is against the law to organize a lottery to raise funds for the Stephen Lewis Foundation. Such an event requires a lottery licence, and you cannot obtain one if the money raised is going out of province.

Q. My birthday/anniversary/graduation is coming up and I’ve asked friends and family to donate to the Stephen Lewis Foundation in lieu of gifts. Can you provide me with a list of who has made a donation?

 

Unfortunately, this is not possible. Due to privacy laws, we are not permitted to release any donor’s personal information to an event organizer, unless the donor gives express consent at the time of making the donation. When possible, we do ask the donor if they would be comfortable with their information (i.e. name, address or phone number) being shared with the family.

Q. A relative of mine died and I asked friends to donate to the Stephen Lewis Foundation in her memory. Can you provide me with a list of who has made a donation?

 

Unfortunately, this is not possible. Due to privacy laws, we are not permitted to release any donor’s personal information to an event organizer, unless the donor gives express consent at the time of making the donation. When possible, we do ask the donor if they would be comfortable with their information (i.e. name, address or phone number) being shared with the family.

Q. We would like to donate to the Stephen Lewis Foundation on behalf of our wedding guests in lieu of bonbonnieres. How can we inform them of our donation?

 

Thank you! Many couples have told us that they inform their guests of their donation by making an announcement at their wedding reception or placing a Stephen Lewis Foundation brochure at the place setting of each of their guests. If you would like these materials for your reception, please email us at community@stephenlewisfoundation.org or call 416-533-9292 or 1-888-203-9990 ext.224.

Q. Where can I find up-to-date information about HIV/AIDS in Africa for distribution at my event?

 

Please visit the News & Resources section for information about HIV/AIDS in Africa and the work of the Stephen Lewis Foundation.  We also recommend that you visit the websites of UNAIDS (unaids.org), UNICEF (unicef.org) and the World Health Organization (who.int) for current information.

Q. How can I find out how much money my event raised?

 

 In order to provide you with this information, we will need to know about your event inadvance. Please register your event online. If you are not collecting all the donations at the event itself, please be sure to tell your supporters to include your name or the name of your event with their donation, so that we can keep track of all the money raised.

Q. If I live in Alberta, what do I need to know about the Alberta Fundraising Act (AFA)?

 

The AFA is a piece of legislation that governs fundraising activities within the province of Alberta. This act was developed with the commendable intent of increasing transparency and accountability on the part of charities soliciting donations in Alberta and protecting Albertans from fraudulent or misleading solicitation materials.

The AFA requires that Albertans must be provided with specific information about the charitable organization at the time a donation is being solicited, so an informed giving decision can be made. The required information is:

  1. Our charitable purpose for which the contributions will be used.
  2. Our current fiscal year revenue budget AND fundraising expense budget (the AFA prescribes providing budget information specifically) 
  3. Our physical address.
  4. A contact person and a phone number where inquires can be directed.
  5. Where we are incorporated.
  6. Our Canada Revenue Agency charitable registration number.


We have put together a statement from the Foundation that provides all required information. This paragraph is found below and must be provided either verbally or in writing at the time a donation is being solicited.

The Stephen Lewis Foundation (SLF) works with community-level organizations which are turning the tide of HIV/AIDS in Africa by providing care and support to women, orphaned children, grandmothers and people living with HIV and AIDS. Since 2003, we have funded over 700 initiatives, partnering with 300 community-based organizations in the 15 African countries hardest hit by the pandemic. In F2012/2013 the Stephen Lewis Foundation is planning to raise $10,000,000 through all of our fundraising campaigns. It will cost our organization an estimated $998,782 to raise this. For further information, please contact Kellie James, Director of Finance, or Alexis MacDonald, Director of External Relations at 1 888 203 9990. Our address is 260 Spadina Avenue, Suite 501, Toronto, Ontario, M5T 2E4. The Stephen Lewis Foundation is incorporated in the Province of British Columbia and is also registered extra-provincially in the Province of Ontario. The SLF Charitable Registration number with the Canada Revenue Agency is 896354008 RR0001.

This paragraph should be posted at events, sales tables and included on pledge forms.

If you have any questions about how to ensure compliance with the Alberta Fundraising Act, please don’t hesitate to contact us.

 

Official Donation Receipts

Q. Does the Stephen Lewis Foundation issue official donation receipts?

 

Yes, the Stephen Lewis Foundation is a registered Canadian charity. You will receive an official donation receipt for income tax purposes on donations of $20 or more.

  • We try to issue receipts for one-time donations within six to eight weeks.
  • If you make monthly donations through your bank account or by credit card, the Foundation issues an annual official donation receipt in February of the following year.
  • If you make an online donation, you will receive your official donation receipt immediately via email.


Our charitable registration number is 89635 4008 RR0001.

For any other questions about official donation receipts, please call us at 416-533-9292 pr 1-888-203-9990 ext.0 or email us info@stephenlewisfoundation.org.

Q. Can you send my official donation receipt to someone else?

 

According to the Income Tax Act, we may only send official donation receipts to the person making the donation. This means that we will send a receipt to:

  • the person or people whose names are on a pre-printed cheque
  • the person who signed the money order
  • the person whose name is on the credit card
     

NOTE: An important exception to this general rule occurs with cash donations. Please see the following question.

Q. I made my donation online, but am unable to open the file for my official donation e-receipt. I do not have a printer to print my official donation e-receipt. I have lost my official donation receipt. How can I obtain a hard copy of my official donation receipt?

 

We would be happy to mail you a duplicate copy of your official donation receipt. To request a printed copy, please call us at 416-533-9292 or 1-888-203-9990 ext.0 or email us at donorcare@stephenlewisfoundation.org.

Q. I want to write a cheque to cover cash donations that I’ve collected for the Stephen Lewis Foundation. How can the people who made cash donations get an official donation receipt?

 

If someone gave you cash to donate on their behalf and you sent that money to the Stephen Lewis Foundation using a personal cheque, we can issue an official donation receipt to the cash donor as long as you provide us with their name, address, postal code, phone number, email (if possible) and the amount of their cash donation.

Q. I'm making a donation in lieu of a gift. Can you send the official donation receipt to the person that the donation is in honour of?

 

The Income Tax Act does not allow this. We must issue the official donation receipt to the person making the donation.

Q. I’m making a donation by cheque, but I want the official donation receipt to go to my partner.

 

We can send the official donation receipt to anyone whose name is pre-printed on your cheque. If your partner's name is not on the cheque, you should check with the Canada Revenue Agency about sharing your tax credit with your partner when you file your income tax return.

Q. We’re selling tickets to our event. Can we issue official donation receipts – or partial receipts – for the cost of the ticket? We’re charging a minimum donation as an entrance fee to our event. Can we issue official donation receipts for these donations?

 

The Stephen Lewis Foundation cannot issue official donation receipts for the cost of a ticket, the partial cost of a ticket, or a suggested minimum donation to an event. According to the Income Tax Act, these contributions are not freely given (since they are required in order to attend the event) and are therefore not eligible for official donation receipts.

Any donations of $20 or more received at the event can be forwarded to the Stephen Lewis Foundation and will be eligible for an official donation receipt. We will need the donor’s name, address, phone number, and email address (if possible) to issue the receipt to them directly.

If you have any questions pertaining to event tickets and official donation receipts, please call us at 416-533-9292 or 1-888-203-9990 ext. 224 or email us at community@stephenlewisfoundation.org.

Q. Someone will be performing/catering/providing a service at our event for free. Can the Stephen Lewis Foundation provide them with an official donation receipt for the equivalent of the cost of their service?

 

The Income Tax Act does not permit the Foundation to issue official donation receipts for services rendered or donated time.

Q. We have received many donations for our silent auction from local businesses and artists. Can the Stephen Lewis Foundation issue official donation receipts to people who have donated items?

 

The Stephen Lewis Foundation does not issue official donation receipts for donated items. The Canada Revenue Agency requirements are too onerous. Event organizers have told us that, in their experience, many businesses are happy to deduct the donation as a business expense, without requiring an official donation receipt. They were delighted to know that their contribution would go to a worthy cause.

Volunteering and Visiting Africa

Q. I would like to volunteer or do an internship in Africa. Can the Stephen Lewis Foundation facilitate this?

 

The Foundation does not provide opportunities for Canadians to volunteer or intern in Africa. Below is a list of Canadian organizations that assist Canadians who want to volunteer abroad. While we cannot specifically recommend them, most are members of the Canadian Council for International Cooperation (CCIC):

Q. I am planning to travel in Africa and would love to visit the projects that the Stephen Lewis Foundation works with. Could you advise me on where I should go?

 

The Foundation does not encourage visits to the projects we fund, which are small, grassroots organizations that often operate in a very lean fashion. We always take our lead from our partner organizations, who have communicated to us that visitors often pose a serious strain to their daily operations and consume precious time and resources.

Awareness and Education

Q. I am a teacher. Do you have any curriculum documents or educational material for my students? Is there anything else I can do to raise funds and awareness in my classroom?

 

You can find curriculum ideas and recommended readings on our Grandmothers’ Campaign website at grandmotherscampaign.org. You can also visit our News & Resources section to see which films, flyers, and handouts are available for your use. There are many additional things you can do to move your students from awareness to action. Take a look at our 'Feature Stories' page for a wide range of examples of what Canadians have done to support the Stephen Lewis Foundation. For more information, please call Janet Solberg at 416-533-9292 or 1-888-203-9990 ext.224 or email her at jsolberg@stephenlewisfoundation.org.

Q. I am doing a project on HIV/AIDS in Africa. Can you help me or tell me where I can find information on the issue?

 

For the latest information on the AIDS pandemic in Africa, we recommend that you visit the websites of UNAIDS (unaids.org), UNICEF (unicef.org) and the World Health Organization (who.int). To learn more about the projects we fund, visit the What We Do section.

Q. I would like to interview Stephen Lewis for my thesis on HIV/AIDS. When is he available?

 

Stephen's schedule does not allow time for a lot of interviews. Since he seeks to reach as many people as possible when he accepts an interview, he is not able to accept individual student requests. However, some of Stephen's recent speeches and interviews are available in our News & Resources section.

Q. I’d like to have my school twin with a school in Africa and become pen pals with students there. Can you help me?

 

The Stephen Lewis Foundation does not facilitate twinning. What we do and how we do it is always informed by the grassroots organizations we fund, and they have told us that twinning is onerous and time-consuming, and is not an undertaking in which they can participate.

Q. My daughter wants to set up a club in her school to adopt a village or sponsor a child. Can she do this through the Stephen Lewis Foundation?

 

The Foundation does not facilitate the adoption of villages or the sponsorship of individual children. We have found that the best way to offer support is to work with local African community-based organizations that are respected and established in their villages or communities. These organizations often have a ‘catchment’ area where they focus their efforts, and they collaborate with the government, schools, and clinics (if they exist) to provide the most comprehensive care to people in the community.

Foundation Policies

Q. Does the Stephen Lewis Foundation provide antiretroviral drug treatment (ARVs)?

 

Stephen Lewis has advocated tirelessly for the urgent need to make generic ARVs available for export to Africa and for international funding so that African countries and organizations can purchase these life-prolonging drugs.

Many Canadians who want to contribute to the Stephen Lewis Foundation ask that their donation go towards treatment. We understand this. Keeping people alive is a powerful motive for giving.

However, the Stephen Lewis Foundation does not currently direct money towards ARV treatment. Here are four points underpinning our decision:

  • First, we fund a great deal of what’s needed to support ARV treatment: nutritious food, decent shelter, psychosocial support, treatment, counselling, anti-stigma work, home-based care, and skills training. By covering these costs, the organizations we support have more money for antiretroviral treatment.
  • Second, while the focus on treatment is critical, it is equally critical to respond to the countless people who are HIV positive and face opportunistic infections that desperately require medication. We provide these medicines, particularly through our support for home-based care.
  • Third, it's a question of sustainability. If treatment is interrupted for any reason during the course of a client's life, the client is almost certain to die – and the Foundation simply can’t guarantee a flow of money for the many years that individuals receive ARV treatment. We would never want someone's life to hang on whether or not we can get the money to them in perpetuity.
  • Fourth, treatment must fundamentally be the responsibility of national governments. Because it’s not just about the cost of the drugs. There has to be a public health system in place to train, deliver, monitor, and follow up on treatment – and this requires huge amounts of money, ranging into the billions.


Despite all of these reasons, this is a desperately difficult decision with which we continue to struggle. The rationale still seems persuasive to us, but there may come exceptional occasions when we depart from our present practice.