James D. Fleck, Edmund C. Bovey Award, 2003

James D. Fleck, O.C., D.B.A., LL.D., entrepreneur and business professor, philanthropist and art collector, is the winner of the 2003 Edmund C. Bovey Award for leadership support of the arts.

Since he founded Fleck Manufacturing Inc. in 1954, Jim Fleck has been a successful businessman, scholar, teacher and public servant. – and thoughout his varied career he has been an active art collector, patron and volunteer. From Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra to the Power Plant gallery of contemporary art at Harbourfront; from cellist Yo-Yo Ma to ballerina Veronica Tennant; Jim Fleck’s support has been broad and deep. Wrote nominator Matthew Teitelbaum, Director of the Art Gallery of Ontario, “His dedication has strengthened Canadian music, theatre, dance, visual arts and literature, and several individuals attribute the furthering of their lives as artists to his encouragement and support.”

Philip Lind, Vice-Chairman of Rogers Communications Inc., seconded the nomination stating, “During all the periods I have known him – as a terrific business professor, Deputy Minister for the Premier of Ontario and an inspiring volunteer board chair – he has been a superb business entrepreneur and investor.”

Jim Fleck’s extraordinary leadership support of the arts was recognized by CBAC at a dinner at the Art Gallery of Ontario, where he is Past President of the Board. The evening was generously sponsored by AGF, BMO Financial Group, Etherington’s, Financial Models Company, KPMG, Mediflow and Rogers. Guests were treated to a Tribute Performance by tenor Mark DuBois, and by a duet featuring Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra’s Music Director Jeanne Lamon, on violin, and harpsichordist Charlotte Nediger. Such eminent Canadians as Governor-General Adrienne Clarkson, National Ballet Artistic Associate Karen Kain and Blake Goldring, President of AGF, paid tribute to Jim Fleck in a video produced by Teamwork.

At the dinner, Dr. Fleck announced that he would leverage his prize money by a six times factor to endow a scholarship that will enable arts administrators to pursue an MBA at the University of Toronto’s Rotman School of Management. He personally matched his $20,000 Bovey prize, and that $40,000 will, in turn, be matched by the University of Toronto as well as by the Government of Ontario. The resulting $120,000 total will be added to the Fleck scholarship endowment, designed to support MBA students from the arts sector.

It’s yet another creative extension of CBAC’s prestigious Edmund C. Bovey Award. The dozen winners to date have been very imaginative – using the prize as a fund raising challenge to others and as a lever for matching gifts, contributing it to lasting endowments, using it to commission new work and to create awards. Since 1990, when the prize was created, over $400,000 in prize money and matching funds has been distributed to arts organizations across Canada through this annual award.

Instrumental in the creation of the Music Garden and of The Power Plant Gallery at Harbourfront Centre, Dr. Fleck has also been a visionary donor to the Stratford Festival, Banff Centre and National Ballet, an early champion of Soulpepper Theatre and Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra and the provider of constant encouragement to individual artists such as ballerina Veronica Tennant and tenor Mark DuBois. With an academic background that includes a Harvard DBA and teaching in the MBA programs of both York University and the Rotman School, Dr. Fleck’s provision of access to an MBA for an arts manager is a fitting gift to the arts.

Please see Dr. Fleck’s speech, which was excerpted for pubication in the Financial Post.