MTS launches new community investment initiative 'Future First': Connecting today's youth to tomorrow

Will award $100,000 in grants each year to youth-serving organizations

Stock Symbol:  MBT     

WINNIPEG, Dec. 9, 2013 /CNW/ - MTS has been contributing to Manitoba's social and economic growth and development for more than a century. Today the Company unveiled a new community investment program focused on Manitoba youth, to help them build a better, brighter future. The plan, called Future First, articulates a clear vision for continuing MTS's long-standing contribution to a thriving economy and support of Manitoba communities with a strong new focus on providing opportunity and optimism for young people.

The goal of the MTS Future First strategy is to achieve positive social change through annual grants and community event support focused on the advancement of Manitoba youth, post-secondary educational scholarships, sponsorships, and an annual company-wide United Way campaign. It will also encourage and support MTS employee and retiree volunteerism and fundraising at other community-building events throughout the province. Proceeds from the MTS cell phone recycling program will also be channeled towards Future First. 

A wide range of Manitobans will have direct input into how Future First resources are allocated and will be part of the process of selecting 10 youth-serving organizations that will each receive a $10,000 grant towards its work in the community. Details about the application process and how Manitobans will help in the selection of Future First grants will be announced early in the New Year. The annual infusion of $100,000 in direct funding will be presented in celebration of Manitoba Day, May 12th, marking the anniversary of the date in 1870 when The Manitoba Act, which created the Province of Manitoba, received Royal Assent.

"Future First grants will put funds in the hands of organizations that are truly making the province a vibrant place for young people to pursue their goals," said Pierre Blouin, MTS Allstream Chief Executive Officer. "It will be a privilege to support these organizations and help them continue their important work."

The challenges facing many of Manitoba's youth are varied and complex -- issues ranging from poverty, lack of access to education and healthcare support, and accessibility challenges. Manitoba's level of child poverty continues to rank among the highest in Canada. There are many organizations in the community working to remove these barriers, as well as providing growth and development opportunities through education, the arts, recreation and sport. MTS intends to support the work of these organizations and help provide the means to create new initiatives.

While the strong new focus on youth is new, MTS has had a long-standing history of community investment in Manitoba. Millions of dollars and more than one million volunteer hours have flowed back to the community, channeled by corporate community investment initiatives and the tireless individual commitment of MTS staff and retirees who take pride in the impact of MTS in our communities.

"Few organizations in the province have roots that run as deep or as wide as MTS," said Blouin. "That's why our corporate commitment to strengthening our community has always been so strong -- Manitoba is our home. And to help make it as strong and sustainable as possible, it's clear that our corporate emphasis must remain on investing in community initiatives that deliver results, right here at home. We are dedicated to making Manitoba a better place, for ourselves and for our children."

For more information about Future First, please visit www.mts.ca/futurefirst.

About MTS
MTS is the leading full-service communications provider for residential and business customers in Manitoba. The company's suite of products and services include the latest in wireless technology, high-speed Internet, an award-winning IPTV service, voice services, home security, and an extensive range of business solutions.  A technology leader, MTS operates advanced wireless networks delivering the best coverage for Manitobans with its 4G, CDMA and Wi-Fi wireless networks and is investing to build out its extensive fibre-to-the-home network in over 20 Manitoba communities. MTS's momentum is fuelled by the knowledge, skills and spirit of its 3,000 Manitoba-based employees. With over 100 years of operations, MTS is rooted firmly in the community and is a proud sponsor of the MTS Centre, home to the NHL's Winnipeg Jets. MTS is wholly owned by Manitoba Telecom Services Inc. which is listed on the TSX (trading symbol: MBT). For information on MTS's products and services, please visit www.mts.ca.

Forward-looking Statements Disclaimer
This news release includes forward-looking statements and information (collectively, the "statements") about the Company's corporate direction, business opportunities, operations, financial objectives and future financial results and performance that are subject to risks, uncertainties and assumptions. As a consequence, actual results in the future may differ materially from any conclusion, forecast or projection in such forward-looking statements. Therefore, forward-looking statements should be considered carefully and undue reliance should not be placed on them. Examples of statements that constitute forward-looking information may be identified by words such as "believe", "expect", "project", "should", "anticipate", "could", "target", "forecast", "intend", "plan", "outlook", "see", "set", "pending", and other similar terms. 

Factors that could cause anticipated opportunities and actual results to differ materially include, but are not limited to, matters identified in the "Material assumptions" section, and the "Risks and uncertainties" section, in the Company's 2012 Annual MD&A and 2012 Annual Information Form, all of which are available on SEDAR at www.sedar.com

Please note that forward-looking statements reflect Management's expectations as at the date hereof. The Company disclaims any intention or obligation to update or revise any forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise, except as required by law.

SOURCE MTS Allstream

For further information:

Media:  
Jessica Poitras
Corporate Communications
204-958-3230
media.relations@mtsallstream.com