Volunteering and helping others helps you. It’s enriched my life, and my family’s.”

-– Jenny Belzberg

Jenny Belzberg

2024 Ramon John Hnatyshyn Award for Voluntarism in the Performing Arts

Jenny Belzberg is known across Canada as a passionate community activist and philanthropist. An enthusiastic advocate for the arts and education, and an outstanding volunteer, she has shown exemplary leadership in her involvement in a range of cultural and social action organizations, particularly Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity. With her late husband, Hyman (Hy) Belzberg, she helped promote and develop the arts in her home town of Calgary, and has been a prominent force in her community for over 50 years.
Jenny Lavin Belzberg was born in 1928 in Calgary, Alberta, and was introduced to the arts, particularly classical music, by her mother.
She has chaired and served on the boards of many cultural organizations, including Banff Centre, the National Arts Centre, the Royal Conservatory of Music, the Calgary Philharmonic Society, and Calgary Opera. She is a founding member of the Honens International Piano Competition and served on the committee that established the Lieutenant Governor of Alberta Arts Awards.
Banff Centre is particularly close to Mrs. Belzberg’s heart. She was instrumental in establishing the Midsummer Ball, which raises scholarship funds for deserving artists to attend the Centre’s professional development programs. In 1992, Banff Centre’s board of governors established the Jenny Belzberg Scholarship Endowment in honour of her dedication to supporting artist training in Canada. In November 2020, after a year-long renovation project funded by a transformational gift from the Belzberg family, the Centre’s Eric Harvie Theatre reopened as the Jenny Belzberg Theatre.
Mrs. Belzberg is the founder and first chair of the Calgary Arts Partnership in Education Society (CAPES), part of a national program originating with the Royal Conservatory of Music. The organization worked with artists and teachers to apply the concept of “Learning Through the Arts” to the regular school curriculum. The program was adopted by more than 60 Calgary schools.
“Volunteering is really good for your mind, for your health. And when you’re caring for others, you gain so much yourself,” she says.
Jenny Belzberg is a Member of the Order of Canada and of the Alberta Order of Excellence. Her other awards and honours include the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal, Business for the Arts Edmund C. Bovey Award, Alberta Centennial Medal, and an honorary doctorate from the University of Calgary.