Bell Let's Talk receives global AFP award for philanthropic leadership

National mental health initiative earns Bell international recognition as Outstanding Corporation

MONTREAL, Nov. 30, 2011 /CNW Telbec/ - Bell is honoured to be named the recipient of the 2012 Freeman Philanthropic Services Award for Outstanding Corporation for the Bell Let's Talk mental health initiative. The international award by the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP) was announced today by the AFP as Bell also received the 2011 AFP Greater Toronto Chapter Philanthropy Award for Outstanding Corporation.

"On behalf of the entire Bell team, I thank the Association of Fundraising Professionals for its global recognition of the Bell Let's Talk initiative. This prestigious honour highlights the significant impact of mental illness on our society and economy, and underlines that we can all make a significant positive difference in promoting mental health through awareness, acceptance and action," said George Cope, President and CEO of Bell and BCE. "This international spotlight on Bell Let's Talk is sure to get people talking about mental health, and that's what our initiative is all about."

"Bell Canada is to be commended not only for its extraordinary charitable efforts, but also for its courage and compassion in addressing an issue that is neither well-known nor discussed - mental health," said Andrew Watt, FInstF, president and CEO of AFP. "The corporation has shown tremendous philanthropic leadership, and Bell is more than deserving of being our 2012 Outstanding Corporation." Bell will receive the AFP honour on March 31, 2012, at a special Celebration of Philanthropy ceremony during AFP's 49th International Conference on Fundraising in Vancouver.

Launched in September 2010, the Bell Let's Talk initiative is a five-year, $50 million program tackling the pervasive health challenge of mental illness. Built on four key action pillars - anti-stigma, care and access, research, and workplace best practices - Bell Let's Talk is providing significant funding for leading mental health hospitals and grassroots organizations, driving new workplace initiatives across corporate Canada, and reducing the stigma around mental illness through the Bell Let's Talk campaign, led by national spokesperson and Canadian Olympian Clara Hughes.

"I'm absolutely thrilled that Bell Let's Talk is receiving international recognition for all that our team has achieved in the last year," said Ms. Hughes. "I'm very proud to be a part of an effort that is so clearly moving Canadian mental health forward - and I'm really looking forward to taking the conversation further with the upcoming 2012 Bell Let's Talk Day this February 8!"

On Bell Let's Talk Day, Bell contributes five cents to mental health programs for every long distance call made and text message sent by Bell and Bell Aliant customers. The more than 66 million calls and texts sent on the inaugural Bell Let's Talk Day last February 9, 2011 meant Bell contributed an additional $3.3 million to support Canadian mental health initiatives.

A major pillar of the Bell Let's Talk initiative is enhancing Canadian corporate workplace culture and practices regarding mental health. For example, every manager at Bell is being trained in mental health awareness and managing the return to work of team members recovering from mental illness. Bell is also helping lead discussion and research into common national standards for mental health in the workplace with leading Canadian corporations.

"Bell is committed to building a progressive corporate culture around mental health and to leading corporate Canada in changing attitudes and driving action to promote mental health in our workplaces," said Mary Deacon, Chair of the Bell Let's Talk initiative. "The Bell team greatly appreciates the AFP's recognition of the progress we've made in such a short time."

With $15 million committed in the last year alone, Bell Let's Talk has been partnering with mental health organizations large and small from coast to coast to coast. Bell has made significant contributions to care, access and research initiatives at the Royal Ottawa Hospital, Hôpital Louis-H. Lafontaine, Hôpital Charles-LeMoyne, the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) and the University of British Columbia, with more announcements to come.

Bell also launched the Bell Let's Talk Community Fund to distribute $1 million annually to local organizations across Canada that are improving community mental health services and increasing access to care. This year, the Community Fund supported 49 groups all across Canada with grants ranging from $5,000 to $50,000.

To learn more about the Bell Let's Talk mental health initiative, please visit Bell.ca/LetsTalk

About Bell
Bell is Canada's largest communications company, providing consumers and business with solutions to all their communications needs, including Bell Mobility wireless, high-speed Bell Internet, Bell Satellite TV and Bell Fibe TV, Bell Home Phone local and long distance, and Bell Business Markets IP-broadband and information and communications technology (ICT) services. Bell Media is Canada's premier multimedia company with leading assets in television, radio and digital media, including CTV, Canada's #1 television network, and the country's most-watched specialty channels. Bell is wholly owned by BCE Inc. (TSX, NYSE: BCE). For information on Bell products and services, please visit Bell.ca. For BCE corporate information, please visit BCE.ca.

SOURCE BELL CANADA

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