Business for the Arts was founded in 1974 by a group of leading business CEOs in Canada. Our founding directors, including Fredrik S. Eaton, R.M Ivey, St. Clair Balfour, Edmund C. Bovey and Smiley Raborn Jr.,  were “dedicated to the proposition that any nation lives by its creative minds, that such creativity has to be carefully nurtured.

They saw a need to encourage strong relationships between business and the arts in order to strengthen our cultural institutions, support our artists and improve quality of life for all.  Forty top businesses in Canada were brought on board to launch the organization as founding members over 30 years ago, including GWL, CIBC, RBC, BMO and TD, who remain with the organization today.

Business for the Arts continues the vision of our founding members and pushing through important tax incentives, developing innovative programming and conducting ground-breaking research that has stimulated increased private sector support of the arts and culture sector across Canada.