Reliance Properties’ $7-million gift launches THE BIG IDEA

Posted: Fri, 2014-05-02 00:00

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Reliance Properties’ $7-million gift launches Emily Carr University’s capital campaign

 Vancouver, CAN, May 2, 2014 | Real estate developer Reliance Properties announces a $7-million donation which publicly launches Emily Carr University’s capital campaign, THE BIG IDEA. This contribution sets a new standard for philanthropy – it is the largest gift ever given to an arts-only University in Canada. It represents the largest financial donation ever given to Emily Carr University. The donation will help build the Libby Leshgold Gallery and the Reliance Lecture Theatre at Emily Carr’s new campus at Great Northern Way. 

Both the Reliance Lecture Theatre and the Libby Leshgold Gallery will be spaces that contribute to expanding Emily Carr’s tradition of opening the institution to the public. These spaces will facilitate events, programs and exhibitions that serve to enhance academic curriculum, strengthen the city’s social fabric and shape its residents’ urban experience. Future generations of artists, designers, and media practitioners will enjoy new facilities in which to observe, learn, dialogue and present. The Libby Leshgold Gallery and the Reliance Lecture Theatre will be unique cultural intersections that attract exciting exhibitions and facilitate collaborations from local, national and international visionaries.

“Like Reliance Properties, Emily Carr is growing because they take a creative and transformative approach to building their legacy,” says Jon Stovell, President of Reliance Properties. “Both organizations accomplish big things that others their size might not because they courageously challenge themselves to think more creatively. It’s this emphasis on the value of creativity that sets this institution and their graduates apart.”

“We are grateful to Reliance Properties for this remarkable commitment. This gift demonstrates our shared belief in the transformative power of creativity, and it signals an historic moment,” says Dr. Ron Burnett, President + Vice Chancellor of Emily Carr University. “The arts and industry are coming into alignment – we are collaborating precisely at this intersection – where creativity and business innovation meet in service of community, culture and economy.”

At the heart of THE BIG IDEA capital campaign is the belief that creativity is our greatest natural resource. The campaign launches publicly today and will raise $25 million for Emily Carr University to build a new state-of-the-art campus for 21st century learning in art, design and media at Great Northern Way. The Campaign Cabinet consists of the following distinguished group of philanthropists, innovators and industry leaders:


  • Michael Audain, Chairman, Polygon Homes Ltd.
  • Peter Brown, Founder + Honorary Chairman, Canaccord Financial
  • Simon Chang, Founder, Simon Chang Fashion, Alumnus


  • Dylan Brown, Animator
  • Miro Cernetig, Owner, Catalytico — ideas in motion
  • Douglas Coupland, Author + Artist, Alumnus
  • Glenn Entis, Co–Founder + Former Senior Advisor, Vanedge Capital
  • Harry Jaako, President, Discovery Capital Management Corporation
  • Rick Mischel, Senior Vice–President, Satellite Production, Sony Pictures Imageworks
  • John S. Montalbano, CEO, RBC Global Asset Management
  • Michael O’Brian, President, Nairbo Investments Inc.
  • Bob Rennie, Founder + CEO, Rennie Marketing Systems
  • Sheree Waterson, President + Chief Product Officer, Nasty Gal


  • John C. Kerr, Chancellor, Emily Carr University
  • Evaleen Jaager Roy, Chair of the Board of Governors, Emily Carr University
  • Dr. Ron Burnett, President + Vice Chancellor, Emily Carr University
  • George Pedersen, Former Chair of the Board of Governors, Emily Carr University
  • Donald Shumka, President, Emily Carr Foundation Board
  • Broek Bosma, Associate Vice-President, Advancement + Alumni Affairs, Emily Carr University