Richard (Dick) Macauley Ivey, CC, QC, lawyer, businessperson and philanthropist (born 26 October 1925 in London, ON; died 28 December 2019 in Toronto, ON). Richard M. Ivey had a long career as a corporate lawyer and business executive, but he is best known for his philanthropy. Working through his family’s Ivey Foundation, he supported education, medicine and the arts, in particular. The name of the world-renowned Ivey Business School at Western University recognizes his and his family members’ contributions to the university.
Early Life and Education
Richard Macauley Ivey was one of three children born to Richard G. Ivey and Jean Ivey. To distinguish his name from his father’s, he was given his mother’s maiden name as his middle name.
Ivey attended the private day preparatory school Ridley College in St. Catharines, Ontario, and graduated in 1943. He continued his post-secondary education at Western University (then known as the University of Western Ontario) in his hometown of London. Ivey studied business and obtained an Honours in Business Administration in 1947. Following in his father’s footsteps, he earned a law degree at Osgoode Hall Law School in Toronto in 1950.
Did you know?
The Ivey family’s fortunes date back to the late 1700s in Cornwall, England. At that time, tin-rich lands owned by Richard M. Ivey’s ancestors became valuable assets to the mining industry. The family immigrated to Canada in 1841. Before law became a family trade, the Iveys managed farms and brokered grain.
It was during his undergraduate studies in 1943 that Ivey met his wife, Beryl Nurse. They were married in 1949, during his second year of law school. The couple would have four children: Richard W., Jennifer, Rosamond and Suzanne. They Iveys would remain married for 58 years until Beryl’s passing in 2007.
After law school, Richard M. Ivey returned to London to join Ivey and Dowler, his father’s firm, as a corporate lawyer (see Corporation Law). He became a partner in 1960. He continued to work there until 1980, retiring just before the firm merged with Siskinds Law to become today’s Siskind, Cromarty, Ivey & Dowler.
During this time, Ivey also became involved in the private family holding company his father founded in 1955, Allpak Ltd. (now called Ivest Corporation Inc.). Over its long history, the holding company has operated and invested in various businesses. Richard M. Ivey oversaw Allpak’s operations when he became its president in 1980. He eventually became its chairman.
Ivey sat on various corporate, association and charitable boards over his long career, including those of the Bank of Montreal, World Wide Fund for Nature and St. Joseph’s Hospital in London.
In 1947, Richard M. Ivey and his father incorporated the Richard Ivey Foundation to manage their community donations like a business. This marked the young law student’s formal entry into philanthropy. The Ivey Foundation’s mission is to improve the well-being of Canadians by funding work on key issues. It gives grants in fields such as education, environmental research, energy efficiency and sustainable finance.
Richard M. Ivey and future wife Beryl Nurse at Ivey's graduation from Western University in 1947.
Richard M. Ivey served as a director of the Ivey Foundation from the outset. He was appointed president in 1967, a role he held until he passed management duties to his children in 1997. The fifth oldest family foundation in Canada, the Ivey Foundation has donated $100 million to various causes since its inception. (See also Canadian Foundations.)
Western University was one of the main benefactors of Richard M. Ivey’s leadership and philanthropy. He served on Western’s board of governors (1968–78), including three years as chair. He also served as the university’s chancellor (1980–84). Ivey helped create Foundation Western, an alumni-focused fundraising organization that existed from 1979 to 2014. He served as both director and chair during the formative years. Throughout his lifetime, Richard M. Ivey oversaw personal and Ivey Foundation donations to Western University totalling $50 million.
Included in this amount is the $11 million donated specifically to the Western University Business School in 1995. With this donation, the school was renamed the Richard G. Ivey School of Business after his father. In 2009, Ivey donated $7 million, much of which funded a new LEED-certified green building on the main campus. In 2012, the business school was again renamed, becoming the Ivey Business School to respect the contributions of various family members. Today, the school is known around the world for the quality of its programs. (See also Business Education.)
The Ivey Business School photographed in 2006, when it was called the Richard G. Ivey School of Business.
Another notable cause that Richard M. Ivey supported is the National Ballet of Canada. In the 2010s, he financed the ballet’s new productions of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, The Winter’s Tale, Anna Karenina and Swan Lake. These productions helped to reverse the company’s flagging financial fortunes.
Honours and Awards
Richard M. Ivey was recognized with the honorary title of Queen’s Counsel (QC) given to lawyers in the province of Ontario until 1978. He received an honorary Doctor of Laws from Western University in 1979. Ivey was appointed a Member of the Order of Canada in 1988, promoted to the level of Officer in 1994, and received its highest level of Companion in 2000.