Siddhesh Joshi (Editor)

Jenny Belzberg

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Occupation  philanthropist

Name  Jenny Belzberg
Jenny Belzberg iytimgcomvii9W9jOttInohqdefaultjpg
Born  January 7, 1928 (age 87) (1928-01-07) Calgary, Alberta
Awards  Order of Canada, Alberta Order of Excellence

Jenny Belzberg CM AOE LLD (born Jenny Laven on January 7, 1928) is a Canadian community activist and philanthropist. A Member of the Order of Canada, she was married to Hyman Belzberg (deceased) and together they were a prominent force in community and cultural affairs. Despite a very hectic schedule, they managed to raise a large, close-knit, family of three children: Brent (Lynn), Murray (Cathy) and Leslie...seven grandchildren: Bram (Ilana), Casey (Eric), Kate (David), Lee (Melissa), Zack (Torey), Betsy (Ryan) and Sophie...plus eight great-grandchildren: Brody, Brooklyn, Reid, Xander, Eddie, Liv, Rory and Isabella.

Contents

Jenny Belzberg Jenny Belzberg The Alberta Order of Excellence

Personal life

Jenny Belzberg was born in Calgary. Her father, Abraham Laven, was an immigrant from a small village in Russia and came to Canada in 1911 and established a farm in the Springbank area. His first wife died in childbirth, leaving him with a baby daughter, who he raised with his widowed sister. Six years later he moved back into Calgary and established several different small businesses, including a flour/feed store and service station. Belzberg's mother was Sonia Rinansky. She immigrated from the eastern regions of Poland during the Russian Revolution of 1917, joining relatives in Calgary. She met Laven in the city and the two were soon married. After attending Western Canada high school, Belzberg was dissuaded from attending University, since her father believed women did not belong there. So, she worked as a clerk and stenographer for the military, the Cunard Shipping Line in Vancouver, and the Dominion Department of Immigration in Calgary. She had known Hyman "Hy" Belzberg’s younger brothers, Samuel and William, through school, especially since Samuel Belzberg used to cut the grass at the family home, but she never really knew Hy himself even though the two families lived only two blocks apart. She and Hy were set up on a “blind date” and were married in 1948.

Hy was well known in Calgary as the proprietor of Cristy’s Arcade Furniture and for his involvement in First City, a financial company started by his younger brothers that, along with their personal holdings, at one time controlled assets in excess of $5 billion, before debts ultimately swamped the corporation and led to its fall. The company was acquired by its Swiss bondholders; however, the Belzberg family salvaged a minority stake (15%) via Harrowston Inc., a holding company overseen by Brent Belzberg, the couple’s oldest son. Hy probably is most famous for having been kidnapped in 1982 near his furniture store, then ultimately freed by his captors. Hy passed away in 2017.

Achievements

  • Chairwoman, Banff Centre (1987-1991)
  • Founder and Chairwoman, Calgary Arts Partnership in Education Society (CAPES)
  • Founder, Lieutenant Governor of Alberta Arts Award Foundation (2003)
  • Founder, Esther Honens International Piano Competition (Calgary)
  • Founder, Canadian Cancer Society’s Daffodil Gala
  • Trustee, National Arts Centre (2000)
  • Councilor, Judicial Council for Provincial Court Judges
  • Vice President, Special Events, Calgary Philharmonic Society
  • Advisor, Calgary City Hall restoration
  • Advisor, Community and Partners Advisory Committee, Libin Cardiovascular Institute of Alberta
  • Advisor, Dean’s Committee, University of Calgary, Faculty of Social Work.
  • It should be noted that Jenny and her husband were integral in securing the Mordechai Richler papers for the university.

    Over the years, as a proud Jewess, Belzberg has held many important positions with the Beth Israel Sisterhood in Calgary, the National Council of Jewish Women, the Jewish National Fund, and the Calgary Jewish Community Council. Moreover, as strong supporters of Israel, the Belzbergs were honored in 1993 at the Calgary Negev Dinner

    Philanthropy

    Jenny Belzberg Endowment, Banff Centre

    Awards

  • Member of the Order of Canada (1996)
  • Alberta Order of Excellence (2000)
  • Honorary doctorate, University of Calgary (2002)
  • Alberta Centennial Medal (2006)
  • Diamond Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II Medal (2012)
  • Paul Harris Fellow, Rotary Club International
  • References

    Jenny Belzberg Wikipedia


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