Brenda Cardillo - Patron Exemplar

Brenda Cardillo

“No question — dull and colourless!” 

That’s how National Arts Centre patron and donor Brenda Cardillo describes what her life would be without the arts.  And she should know.  Brenda has been an avid attendee and supporter of the NAC for almost 50 years.  She simply cannot imagine what her life would have been like without it, and when you hear her speak about the National Arts Centre, you could not ask for a better advocate.  

Brenda was born and raised in Ottawa.  She graduated from Carleton University with an Honours BA in Criminology and Statistics and thoroughly enjoyed a career with Statistics Canada until poor health forced an early retirement.  Throughout her adult life, the National Arts Centre has been a vibrant and enriching constant. 

She vividly remembers the first performance she saw at the NAC — the ballet Swan Lake – in1969, shortly after the Centre opened.  Attending with two girlfriends, Brenda found the experience “unforgettable and enthralling — almost magical.”  She particularly remembers the shimmering panels of the “stunningly magnificent” stage curtain. To this day, she and her friends reminisce about their first visit, which she says was the beginning of her “love affair” with the NAC.

Today, Brenda subscribes to three series — the English theatre main stage and studio series in addition to Broadway Across Canada.  She also attends a variety of other performances and events and in total visits the NAC approximately twenty times a year.  In her experience, there is “something for every for every age and interest at the National Arts Centre.  It has wide-spread, enduring appeal and is such a vital part of our capital city.”

In many ways, the NAC is a key part of her social life as well.  All her close friends love to attend, and they usually dine at the Centre’s le café restaurant before each performance.  Between the NAC, music (she plays classical piano), volunteering at a long-term care facility, running a literacy programme and attending Senators’ games, Brenda leads a full and satisfying life. 

Brenda has financially supported the National Arts Centre Foundation annually for many years.  She has also chosen to support the Foundation in another way —with a charitable gift in her Will.  To do so was an easy decision for her to make.  She wanted to say thank you for her years of enjoyment and she wanted to give back.  Moreover, she is determined that the NAC retains its high-calibre staff and its diverse programming recognized across Canada and around the world.  Brenda is clear.  The NAC “has nurtured my soul and I want it to do the same for others long into the future.”  

She has left her future gift undesignated, knowing that the Foundation will use it wisely where the need is greatest.  If she has one wish it would be that a portion of her gift be used to expose young people to music, theatre and dance so they can develop an appreciation and a love for the arts — as she has — that will last a lifetime.

Won’t you join Brenda and remember the National Arts Centre Foundation with a gift in your own estate plans?  A gift of any amount can help to make a real difference in Canada’s premier cultural centre.  As Brenda says, “Taken together, small amounts can make beautiful things happen.  What better way to leave the world a nicer, more enjoyable place”?

Join more than 6,500 champions of performance, creation and learning by supporting Canadian artists, educators and students through the NAC Foundation.


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