Donald K. Johnson, Edmund C. Bovey Award, 2007

Billie Bridgman, President & CEO, Business for the Arts, is delighted to announce that Donald K. Johnson, C.M., Senior Advisor to BMO Capital Markets and former Vice-Chair, BMO Nesbitt Burns, has been chosen as the 2007 winner of the prestigious Edmund C. Bovey Award. Mr. Johnson was nominated by the Toronto Symphony for the award which will be presented at a gala dinner in Toronto in the Fall.

In May 2006, Don Johnson was finally able to say “Mission accomplished!” That mission — to eliminate the capital gains tax on gifts of publicly listed securities to charities — had had its first success in 1997 when 50% of the tax liability was removed. But Don doggedly pursued the mission until success was fully realized in the May 2006 federal budget.

As Robert Weese, Vice-President, Government & External Relations at General Electric Canada, said in his letter of support for the TSO’s nomination: “Don has seized every conceivable opportunity over the last 12 years to promote this cause… He has built support on this issue with politicians of all political stripes and with Prime Ministers and Ministers from both major parties. Never has there been a more determined and more persistent advocate… And his efforts have brought transformational change to all arts organizations in the country, as well as to other charitable organizations, in their ability to raise funds from private donors.”

From the Toronto Symphony: “Over a four year period, the number of gifts of stock (to the TSO) has doubled from 12% per year to 24% as of March 2007, and the value of the gifts of stock has increased from $300,000 in 2004 to $4M to date in 2007. Wow!”

Although arts organizations across the country are well aware of Don’s magnificent crusade on this matter, as evidenced by the many letters of support, Don has also devoted his personal time, money and expertise to individual arts organizations, including involvement in the governance and fundraising campaigns for the National Ballet of Canada, The National Ballet School, The Royal Winnipeg Ballet and the Canadian Opera House Corporation. Don also demonstrated great leadership as the Chairman of Business for the Arts from 1998-2003.

The Edmund C. Bovey Award recognizes an individual from the business community for outstanding and long-time support of the arts. Named after the founding Chairman of Business for the Arts, its winners personify BFTA’s mission — to increase the quality and quantity of working relationships between business and Canada’s cultural community. Business for the Arts is proud to add Donald K. Johnson to the distinguished list of winners who have followed in Ed Bovey’s footsteps. At the gala event, he will receive a specially-commissioned sculpture and he will be able to direct $20,000 from the Bovey Award fund to the arts organization(s) of his or her choice.

Last year’s winner, Michael Koerner, C.M., President, Canada Investments Overseas Limited, was among the five jurors for this year’s award. He was joined by Nathalie Bondil, Directrice, Musée des beaux-arts de Montréal; Kate Davis, Director, MacKenzie Art Gallery, Regina; Willy Heffner, Vice-President, Heffner Lexus Toyota, Kitchener, and Howard Jang, General Manager, Arts Club Theatre, Vancouver.