Council for Canadian American Relations Announces New Leadership

Ellen Kratzer and Gail O'Brien New Co-Chairs of CCAR and Jessica London Appointed Executive Director

NEW YORK, July 3, 2012 /CNW/ - The Board of Directors of the Council for Canadian American Relations (CCAR) is pleased to announce the appointment of Ellen Kratzer of New York and Gail O'Brien of Toronto as Co-Chairs of the organization, and Jessica London to the position of Executive Director effective July 2, 2012.

The Council for Canadian American Relations, formerly the American Friends of Canada, was established by David Rockefeller, prominent U.S. banker and Canadian Prime Minister Pierre Elliot Trudeau in 1972. Other founding members included Henry Ford II, Robert Sarnoff, Chairman of R.C.A., and noted art collectors Norton Simon and Lila DeWitt Wallace, as well as Canadian philanthropist Bluma Appel. The original mission was to foster and encourage awareness, understanding and appreciation between the peoples of Canada and the United States.

As Prime Minister Trudeau commented at the inauguration, "We are all aware of the incalculable value of friendly relations between Canadians and Americans.  There are many ways in which friendship can be expressed but few would be of such enduring benefit to the people of Canada as the one you have chosen with this initiative."

Over the years, many cultural institutions in Canada and the United States, both large and small, have been recipients of CCAR grants including The National Ballet of Canada, the Banff Centre for the Arts, Opera Atelier, Art Gallery of Ontario, National Gallery of Canada, George Eastman House and Philharmonic Center for the Arts in the U.S.  The total gifts in cash and in kind are valued in excess of CAD $10 million.

With the announcement of the new leadership team at CCAR, the organization is now celebrating its 40th anniversary and heralding its reinvigoration by setting new goals to attract membership and expand its reach.

Ellen Kratzer, CCAR American Co-Chair is a Managing Director of Fiduciary Trust International in New York City.  She and her husband Brian Rose reside in New York and Toronto, where he is a senior partner of the law firm Stikeman Elliott. Ms. Kratzer currently serves as Chair of the Board of USA for the United Nations High Commission for Refugees, and is a member of the board of The Shaw Festival Theatre in Ontario.  She is a former member of the boards of the New York Junior League, where she served as President, and the Association of Junior Leagues International.  Ms. Kratzer is a graduate of Princeton University and holds an M.B.A. from New York University.

"As an American with devoted ties to Canada," Ms. Kratzer said, "it gives me great pleasure to extend the legacy of the organization's founders David Rockefeller and the late Prime Minister of Canada, Pierre Trudeau, by supporting cultural institutions in Canada and America. Our achievements can be seen in the hundreds of works of art gifted and loaned to museums and the establishment of literary and cultural programs that encourage dialogue through the arts between our countries."

Gail O'Brien, Canadian Co-Chair, comes from a high-profile career in fashion, where she was General Manager of Holt Renfrew in Calgary. Her current work in the not-for-profit sector focuses largely on the arts, women, and health organizations across Canada. Ms. O'Brien serves as Chair of the National Arts Centre Foundation and is a member of Sotheby's Canada Advisory Board. She is also a trustee of the Toronto Hospital for Sick Children and a Director of its foundation, and chairs the Dean's Advisory Board, Faculty of Medicine at the University of Calgary, where she received an Honorary Doctor of Laws Degree. Ms. O'Brien is the recipient of numerous honors, including the Women of Distinction Award for Business and Entrepreneurs (2000) and the Eric Harvey Award recognizing contribution to the Arts awarded by the Glenbow Museum (2010). Ms. O'Brien received her Bachelor of Arts in English and Fine Arts from McGill University. She and her husband David reside in Toronto.

"CCAR taps into a vastly exciting pool of talent - intellectual, creative, and cultural -  from both countries," added Ms. O'Brien  citing such examples of cross-border exchange as MASS MoCA's current unprecedented exhibition Oh, Canada, Robert Lepage's recent Ring Cycle at the Metropolitan Opera, and Pulitzer-Prize Winning author Richard Ford's novel Canada.

Jessica London as Executive Director of CCAR completes the new leadership team. Ms. London comes to CCAR with an extensive background in arts-related fundraising, sponsorship, communications, membership development and management experience, including leadership of cultural institutions in the U.S., Canada and France. She is former CEO of SEGD, the Society for environmental Graphic Design in New York and prior to that, the French Heritage Society, an American group that supports arts and educational programs in France and the U.S.  She also served as Vice President, Capital Campaign & External Affairs for the Museum of Arts & Design in New York, and as Vice Director for External Affairs at The Frick Collection. Graduating from Carleton University in Ottawa with distinction, she later became vice-president of Arts & Communications in Toronto, one of Canada's leading sponsorship agencies.

The 40th anniversary will be celebrated with a series of special events including a 'Friendship through the Arts' dinner, scheduled in spring 2013 in New York City.

About CCAR

The Council for Canadian American Relations (CCAR) operates a program that facilitates collectors in each country to make donations to arts and cultural institutions across the border and makes it possible for donors to receive a tax benefit. The Council also encourages programs and activities in Canada and the United States to stimulate dialogue, disseminate information and facilitate cultural exchange between the countries.

Image with caption: "Jessica London appointed Executive Director of Council for Canadian American Relations (CCAR) heads the new leadership team. With an extensive background in arts-related fundraising, sponsorship and communications, Ms. London has held executive positions at SEGD, the French Heritage Society, the Museum of Arts & Design in New York and the Frick Collection, as well as Arts & Communications in Toronto. (CNW Group/Council for Canadian American Relations)". Image available at: http://photos.newswire.ca/images/download/20120703_C5583_PHOTO_EN_15864.jpg

Image with caption: "Ellen Kratzer is the new American Co-Chair of the Canadian Council for Canadian American Relations (CCAR). Ms. Kratzer is a Managing Director of Fiduciary Trust International in New York. She currently serves as Chair of the Board for the United Nations High Commission for Refugees. As a long-time devotee of the arts, she is also a board member of The Shaw Festival, one of Canada's celebrated cultural attractions. (CNW Group/Council for Canadian American Relations)". Image available at: http://photos.newswire.ca/images/download/20120703_C5583_PHOTO_EN_15865.jpg

Image with caption: "Gail O'Brien, Canadian Co-Chair of CCAR, is actively involved in arts and health organizations across Canada. She chairs the National Arts Centre Foundation in Ottawa, is a trustee of Toronto's Hospital for Sick Children, and a chair of the Dean's Advisory Board, University of Calgary, Faculty of Medicine. Her fashion career at Holt Renfrew led to Ms. O'Brien receiving the Women of Distinction Award for Business and Entrepreneurs. (CNW Group/Council for Canadian American Relations)". Image available at: http://photos.newswire.ca/images/download/20120703_C5583_PHOTO_EN_15866.jpg

SOURCE Council for Canadian American Relations

For further information:

Ellen Perecman,
Administrative Director CCAR
(212) 496-0211, info@ccar-nyc.org
www.ccar-nyc.org

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