David Fountain of Halifax, Nova Scotia, has won national recognition from The Council for Business and the Arts in Canada as the winner of the prestigious Edmund C. Bovey Award for Leadership Support of the Arts.
“David Fountain has personally made Nova Scotia a culturally richer place to live, according to his nominator, Neptune Theatre,” says Sarah Iley, President & CEO of The Council for Business and the Arts in Canada. “Indeed, from the many letters of support we received it seems that there are very few artists in that province who have not been touched by his generosity and support. And that generosity extends beyond provincial borders – he has also been a major supporter of the National Ballet of Canada and the National Arts Centre. Such breadth and depth of support aptly demonstrates the reason that he has been singled out as the 15th winner of the annual Edmund C. Bovey Award.”
The Edmund C. Bovey Award is unique: it honours individuals from the business community for outstanding support of the arts. In so doing, it underscores the mission of The Council for Business and the Arts in Canada (CBAC), which is to encourage increased private sector support of the organizations that create Canadian culture. The annual prize consists of two parts: a specially-commissioned sculpture by the late William McElcheran as well as a $20,000 prize to be given to the winner’s favourite arts organization(s). The prize money is drawn from interest on a fund endowed by 20 Award Founders in 1990, in tribute to Ed Bovey. The founding Chairman of CBAC, Bovey was an entrepreneurial business CEO, effective board volunteer and generous arts patron who exemplified the qualities honoured by the award
David Fountain made the first $1 million dollar gift to the arts in Nova Scotia when he gave the naming gift to top off Neptune Theatre’s capital campaign. That strategic gift, coupled with his dedicated volunteer work as a director, then Treasurer, and then President of the Board of Neptune Theatre, quite simply raised the bar for major gifts in Nova Scotia. But it is his small gestures that often make the difference – one fledgling company remembering him as one of 16 people in their opening night audience, and enjoying it so much that he invited everyone home for an impromptu cast party! Now President of Longwood Investments, a privately held investment firm located in Halifax, David Fountain began his career as a stockbroker with Pitfield McKay Ross and later Brown Brothers Harriman in New York before returning to Halifax to be Managing Director of The Great Eastern Corporation. There, he immersed himself in the arts community, as the Award nomination, seconded by Aliant, made clear. “David Fountain has been unparalleled in his commitment to the arts in Atlantic Canada,” wrote Wendy Paquette, Senior Vice President at Aliant. “His support extends far beyond his generous financial assistance as he continues to give his time, personal expertise and guidance to many different organizations and is able to assist them on many organizational levels.”
Two former winners of The Edmund C. Bovey Award were among the five jurors adjudicating this year’s award: the 2004 winner, Michael Audain, Chairman of Polygon Homes, Vancouver; and the 2003 winner, James Fleck, who is now Chair of The Council for Business and the Arts in Canada, Toronto. Serving with them were: Dean Brinton, Executive Director of The Rooms, St. John’s; Penny Ritco, Managing Director of the Citadel Theatre in Edmonton; and the recipient of the 2004 Governor General’s Award for Voluntarism in the Performing Arts, Constance Pathy of Montreal.
The nominees for this year’s Edmund C. Bovey Award were an extraordinary group of philanthropic leaders. Nevertheless, David Fountain rose quickly to the top of the jury’s list as the obvious winner of the 2005 Award. He is the second arts philanthropist from Nova Scotia to win this prestigious national honour which has, to date, recognized the achievements of fourteen outstanding Canadians and flowed $280,000 in prize money to arts organizations across the country.
The 2005 Edmund C. Bovey Award was presented to Mr. Fountain by the CBAC at a special celebration held at the Neptune Theatre in Halifax on October 11th. Mr. Fountain announced at the awards celebration that he will match the $20,000 prize, which will be donated to Neptune Theatre to set up an endowed annual bursary for a student in the Pre-Professional Training Program of the Neptune Theatre School.