ARLINGTON, VA, Nov. 30, 2011 /CNW Telbec/ - The Association of
Fundraising Professionals (AFP) will honor Bell Canada as the year's
most exemplary philanthropic company with the 2012 Freeman
Philanthropic Services Award for Outstanding Corporation for its Bell
Let's Talk Initiative in support of mental health.
The award honors a corporation that demonstrates outstanding commitment
to important causes through financial support and encouragement, as
well as the company's ability to motivate others to take on leadership
roles in their communities. Bell Canada will receive the honor on March
31, 2012, at a special Celebration of Philanthropy ceremony during
AFP's 49th International Conference on Fundraising in Vancouver, the
largest gathering of fundraisers in the world.
"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."
While Bell Canada, the country's largest communications company, has a
long history of charitable giving, it recently took an extraordinary
leadership role in addressing one of the most pervasive yet underfunded
health issues facing Canada by launching that country's largest
corporate support program for mental health.
The Bell Let's Talk Initiative is a five-year, $50 million program in
support of mental health. The initiative is based on four key pillars:
anti-stigma, care and access, research, and workplace best practices.
In addition to significant funding for hospitals, universities and
community groups across the country, the company is supporting its
mental health initiative through workplace leadership, employee
engagement and encouraging other organizations and the public to get
"Bell Let's Talk is dedicated to growing the national conversation about
mental illness, reducing the pervasive stigma around the disease as we
fund the leading care and research organizations that are making real
progress in promoting Canadian mental health," said George Cope,
President and CEO of Bell Canada. "The Bell team is grateful for an
international honour of this calibre, one that helps highlight and
further de-stigmatize a health concern too long misunderstood and
marginalized. The AFP's recognition is another important step in
raising awareness about the impact of mental illness on our society and
economy, and how we can all make a positive difference."
Through its national Let's Talk anti-stigma campaign, Bell Canada
contributed five cents for every long distance calls and text message
its customers made on Bell Let's Talk Day on Feb. 9, 2011 to further
fund mental health initiatives. The campaign featured Canadian Olympian
Clara Hughes, who spoke about her own experience with depression. More
than 66 million calls and texts that day resulted in more than $3
million in additional funds for Canadian mental health. The next Bell
Let's Talk Day is scheduled for February 8, 2012.
As part of its program to support leading care and research hospitals
across Canada, Bell Canada made the largest corporate gift to mental
health ever in Canada last May, a $10 million contribution to the
Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) Foundation. The donation
is funding new care and research initiatives and redevelopment of
facilities, including a new Bell Gateway Building that will serve as a
central hub at the hospital's campus. In addition, the $1 million Bell
Let's Talk Community Fund recently distributed grants from $5,000 to
$50,000 to 49 community-based groups across the country.
"Bell Canada has gone beyond just giving and has created a comprehensive
campaign that brings to bear so many resources to address this
important issue," said Gail Freeman, president of Freeman Philanthropic
Services, which sponsors the honor. "That's what being an outstanding
corporate philanthropic role model is all about, and we're proud to
join with AFP in honoring Bell with this award."
Bell Canada is also working with corporations across Canada and the
health care community to develop and adopt mental health best practices
in the workplace. In July, the company pledged to help fund the
creation of the first national standards to help improve the
psychological health and safety of employees at corporations across the
For information about AFP's other international award honorees, go to
the National Philanthropy Day® website.
The Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP) represents 30,000
members in 227 chapters throughout the world, working to advance
philanthropy through advocacy, research, education and certification
programs. The association fosters development and growth of
fundraising professionals and promotes high ethical standards in the
fundraising profession. For more information, go to www.afpnet.org.
Freeman Philanthropic Services, LLC (FPS) with offices in New York City
and Boston, is a full-service retained executive recruitment firm
specializing in recruitment for not-for-profit institutions and
organizations. FPS has a distinguished history of successful
partnerships with a variety of clients including hospitals, academic
medical centers, universities, cultural organizations, advocacy and
social service agencies, and relief aid organizations. For more
information about FPS, please visit its website at www.glfreeman.com.
SOURCE ASSOCIATION OF FUNDRAISING PROFESSIONALS
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