The Award, sponsored by BMO Financial Group, highlights the tenets of good governance, celebrates models of volunteer excellence, and raises the bar for board director commitment.
O’Brian, a BC-based investor/businessman and arts philanthropist, is actively involved in community affairs. His legacy of philanthropic support and investment in numerous aspects of Vancouver Opera’s operations has spanned several years and two separate Board terms.
A $1-million naming contribution from The Michael and Inna O’Brian Family Foundation to support a new multi-purpose facility for VO precipitated a board-led philanthropic campaign which, within 18 months, attracted an additional $1.5-million in support from the public and private sectors. The Michael and Inna O’Brian Centre for VO opened summer 2011, enhancing VO’s capacity for effective and meaningful community engagement on a logistical and geographic scale.
O'Brian's work on the VO board also played a role in the success of the organization’s annual Overture fundraising gala; funds raised were instrumental in VO’s ability to retire its accrued deficit at the close of the 2012-13 fiscal year. Beyond his philanthropic contributions, his collaboration with VO leadership led to the development of a new role to address the organization’s needs during a period of significant growth.
James Wright, general director of VO, said, "Michael O’Brian is a visionary philanthropist, a committed community builder and a tireless arts advocate. His exemplary leadership has supported and raised the artistry and reach of Vancouver Opera to new levels, leaving an indelible mark on audiences in this province and this country."
O’Brian’s involvement in the arts has included positions on the boards of the Vancouver Art Gallery Foundation, Museum of Anthropology, and the Dean’s Advisory Board of the UBC Faculty of Arts. He is the founder and a director of the Satellite Gallery in Vancouver.
For more about Vancouver Opera, visit http://www.vancouveropera.ca/.