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James Fleck, arts donor

The Story

A heart and a dollar sign balance one another on a scale. That image, scribbled on a napkin, sums up James Fleck's approach to giving to the arts. Fleck, an entrepreneur and business professor, has made giving to the arts a way of life. His generous donations, and his ability to convince others to give, have helped transform the Royal Ontario Museum and the Art Gallery of Ontario into architectural wonders and have enriched cultural organizations across Canada. In this CBC Radio clip, reporter Mary Wiens profiles Fleck and his philosophy of fundraising. 

Medium: Radio
Program: Metro Morning
Broadcast Date: Dec. 16, 2008
Guest(s): Jim Fleck
Host: Jane Hawtin
Reporter: Mary Wiens
Duration: 7:15
Photo: Philanthropist Jim Fleck, in the Fleck Atrium of the Rotman School of Management, University of Toronto. Photo by Tara Walton/Toronto Star

Did You know?

• James D. (Jim) Fleck, born in Toronto in 1931, founded a company that made wiring for electrical appliances, Fleck Manufacturing. It was sold to Noma (best known for Christmas lights) in 1994.

  • Fleck earned a doctorate in business administration from Harvard Business School, and later joined its faculty. In the 1970s he was deputy minister of industry and tourism under Ontario Premier Bill Davis. From 1979 until his retirement in 2008 he was a professor at the University of Toronto's Rotman School of Management.


• In 2009 he was chairman of Business for the Arts, a Canadian association dedicated to fostering private sector funding of arts organizations.


• Among the Toronto-based organizations that have benefited from Fleck's generosity are the Art Gallery of Ontario, Harbourfront Centre, the National Ballet of Canada, the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, The Power Plant contemporary art gallery, Soulpepper Theatre Company, Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra and the Toronto Music Garden. Outside Toronto, the Stratford Shakespeare Festival, the Banff Centre for the Arts and many others have also benefited.


• Fleck is the 2009 recipient of the Ramon John Hnatyshyn (RJH) Award for Voluntarism in the Performing Arts, an award which is nominated by the general public. 




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