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Gail and David O'Brien.Adrian Shellard

The donors: Gail and David O'Brien

The gift: $1.5-million

The cause: The National Arts Centre

Gail and David O'Brien have been involved in many philanthropic organizations over the years, but the National Arts Centre is among the closest to their hearts.

The couple have worked with the NAC for 15 years. They have made several donations and Ms. O'Brien is past chair of the NAC Foundation and is currently a member of the NAC board of trustees.

"I've come to be really passionate and inspired by the NAC," Ms. O'Brien said from the couple's home in Calgary.

Ms. O'Brien had a long career in the fashion industry, while Mr. O'Brien is former chief executive officer of Canadian Pacific Ltd. and has served on several corporate boards.

When the NAC announced a five-year strategic plan in March, which focuses on performance and learning, the O'Briens were eager to join in and they donated $1.5-million to support the initiative.

"It's exciting," Ms. O'Brien said of the strategic plan. "There's a real buzz there, that's for sure."

pwaldie@globeandmail.com