We make a living by what we get, we make a life by what we give.”

-Sir Winston Churchill

Sandra and Jim Pitblado

2003 Ramon John Hnatyshyn Award for Voluntarism in the Performing Arts

Profoundly committed lovers of the arts, determined advocates, zealous fundraisers, and outstanding institutional leaders, Sandra and Jim Pitblado have influenced the growth (sometimes survival) of many institutions and artists. While it is perhaps the performing arts that have captured their hearts above all, their influence and support have benefited institutions and programs in other sectors, notably health care and education.

Born and raised in Winnipeg, the couple met when both were working at the Great West Life Assurance Company.

As Chairman of the National Ballet from 1990 to 1997, Jim was an exemplary leader while the impressive Pitblado contributions affected every aspect of the Ballet's operations. His innovations at the governance level enabled the company to build the Walter Carsen Centre, and his foresight led to the establishment of the Ballet's endowment fund that will help to guarantee the company's future viability.

Sandra's commitment to the world of theatre has been no less impressive. She served as Chair of Toronto's Tarragon Theatre for six years. During her tenure as Chair of the Stratford Festival, the Endowment Foundation was organized, the Conservatory for Classical Theatre Training was established, the Avon Theatre was rebuilt and a new fourth stage was established in part with a significant leading gift from the Pitblados.

Sandra is currently a director of the Stratford Festival Endowment Foundation, Chair of the Canadian Arts Summit, a board member of the Creative Trust, and an honorary member of the Board at Tarragon. Jim remains Chair of the National Ballet's Endowment Foundation and serves on the boards of the Ontario Arts Council Foundation, the Council for Business and the Arts, and Soulpepper Theatre Company.

In encouraging others to follow their example, Sandra and Jim Pitblado have said that they get back far more than they give from their many volunteer and philanthropic contributions.