Support and Budget
Christian Horizons is a non-profit organization operating as five companies, each of which contributes to the organization’s mission under its own mandate. The organization as a whole receives most of its funding from provincial governments, residents, and donations, but the funding structure is different for each constituent company. Christian Horizons International, incorporated in 2011, is the umbrella organization over the other four companies. Christian Horizons funding comes from provincial governments—the Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services in Ontario, and the Ministry of Social Services in Saskatchewan. Domestic work not funded by the government, including leadership development and services for purchase, is carried out by Christian Horizons (Canada), incorporated separately in 1977. Christian Horizons Global delivers international services and is funded by donations from and partnerships with individuals, churches, businesses, and foundations. Xeorixs Homes, incorporated as a non-profit organization in 1985, leases homes to Christian Horizons (and to other developmental-services agencies) and is responsible for purchasing and maintaining the properties used by the organization.
Much of Christian Horizons’ work is made possible by the efforts of dedicated volunteers. Members of the organization’s board of directors serve on a volunteer basis. Volunteers keep family camps affordable for participants by offering their time and support to campers while covering their own camp expenses. Christian Horizons benefits from the service of volunteers throughout the rest of the year as well, in activities such as home visits, participation in various activities and excursions, and maintenance projects at community residences.
From 2017 to 2020, Christian Horizons’ revenue grew from $174.4 million to $188.8 million—an increase of 8.6 percent. A large majority of this revenue comes from provincial subsidies: Christian Horizons received approximately $165 million in government funding in 2019, representing 87 percent of its revenue. Most of the remaining revenue comes from residents, who contributed just over $12 million (6.5 percent of total revenue) in 2019–20. Another $3 million came from donations and grants, with the final $9 million generated by miscellaneous other sources.
The organization’s total expenses last year were $189.2 million, an increase of 7.8 percent since 2017. Its most substantial annual expense is salaries and benefits for its staff, which totalled $149.0 million (79 percent of total expenses) in 2019–20. The organization has more than 3,500 employees; while many of these are full-time positions, more than half of its employees work on a part-time or casual basis. Almost all the remaining expenses are for physical facilities ($19.0 million) and other operating costs ($18.0 million), each of which takes up about 10 percent of the annual budget. A relatively small portion is used for amortization ($3.0 million) and interest on long-term debt ($0.3 million).
Christian Horizons has contributed hope and belonging to the lives of people who experience disability, from families in Canada to communities around the world. Deep cracks in the disability support system, however, present ongoing challenges. Inequities abound—the typical person with a developmental disability on the Ontario Disability Support Plan receives around $1,100 per month to live on, yet the Canada Emergency Response Benefit provided $2,000 per month to those out of work because of COVID-19 shutdowns. All Canadians are entitled to health care and education, but not all Canadians with disabilities have been able to access the developmental supports they need. Governments have provided essential support and have taken steps to improve the situation, but “it’s often only through crises or pure luck that people have access to the system.”2
The devaluation of care work and low government funding for the wages of care workers have come under intense public scrutiny in long-term-care homes, but the same problems have received far less attention in the developmental-services sector. And despite significant gains in the last few decades, discrimination against people with disabilities persists. More funding would improve the financial security of care workers, the quality of life of families who access respite care, and the well-being of people with disabilities. With stable funding for basic physical needs, developmental-services organizations may also be able to devote resources to meeting other important needs—intellectual, emotional, and spiritual—and helping their clients thrive as whole persons.
Yet while government has an important role to play as both funder and provider of some support services, it cannot meet all needs of all people. Christian Horizons insists that no individual, organization, or institution can create a society of true belonging on its own. The organization believes it is critical that individuals and non-government organizations of all stripes, including those openly motivated by faith, be able to serve in this sector of the public sphere, since different groups are uniquely equipped to meet different needs. Christian Horizons itself “does not pretend to be all things to one person, but connects them and builds relationships beyond [the organization itself] and informs the wider community.”7 Its role is not to be the only community for those who use its services but to nurture and provide connections to diverse communities of belonging, from families and schools to churches and workplaces. Christian Horizons believes that every member of these communities—each one of us—shares in the responsibility of building communities in which everyone belongs.
The Greek word 'diakonia' expresses the act of being called to serve. The Cardus Religious Freedom Institute's Diakonia Project presents a series of eight different initiatives in which Canadians of faith serve their community. This highlights a core aspect of religious freedom: the freedom to live out one's deepest held beliefs through concrete actions that serve the common good.