Centraide hopes to raise as much, even more than last year

A goal of $54 million for the 2009 fundraising campaign

MONTREAL, Oct. 1 /CNW Telbec/ - Centraide of Greater Montreal will strive to raise at least $54 million by December 15, which is the same amount as in 2008. This goal was set taking into account the current economic situation. Rising to the challenge is all the more important in these tough times, when too many families are hard hit. Centraide would therefore like nothing better than to exceed this goal.

That's what was announced at noon today at Centraide's March of 1,000 Umbrellas, which marked the launch of Centraide's 2009 campaign. Over 20,000 company employees and leaders, public personalities and community agency representatives launched a vibrant appeal for generosity towards the neediest. They marched under umbrellas to symbolize the protection that Centraide offers to the most vulnerable.

"More than ever, Centraide will be called upon to play an important role in supporting people who are in a precarious situation," said Réal Raymond, Company Director, who co-chairs Campaign 2009 with Jeffrey Orr, President and Chief Executive Officer of Power Financial Corporation. "We are launching a powerful appeal for generosity, because many people need support."

"Each donation helps to ensure that, despite the economic crisis, the agencies supported by Centraide will be able to continue working every day to help our most vulnerable fellow citizens," added Mr. Orr. "We must therefore pull out all the stops to make sure that compassion and generosity prevail."

The new faces of poverty

The 360 agencies supported by Centraide have observed a significant increase in requests for help. Among other things, they are responding to new client groups, especially middle-class families at grips with hard economic realities - families that, for the first time ever, are asking for help.

"We don't yet know all the impacts of the current crisis, but we must try to make sure that no one is turned away," explained Michèle Thibodeau-DeGuire, Centraide of Greater Montreal's President and Executive Director. "We must give the agencies the means to support those who are hard hit by the crisis and ensure that its consequences don't put even more pressure on those who are already fragile. When people realize the problems being experienced by those we help, and the exceptional work being performed by the agencies we support, they are generous. We will therefore try to make them even more aware."

Centraide plans to organize over 500 presentations by community agency spokespersons and caring activities for company employees, as well as to screen video testimonies about the agencies in the workplaces. It has a new general public advertising campaign, developed free-of-charge by Publicis, which takes account of the current economic situation. Under the theme "Centraide. More than ever," the messages focus on important issues, such as support for families, the fight against school dropout, help for seniors and the integration of new arrivals. Centraide will receive the support of the large radio, television and advertising display networks in conveying these messages.

Centraide Campaign 2009 will run until December 15. Everyone in the workplace is encouraged to give generously through payroll deduction. Persons wishing to make a donation can also call Centraide at 514 288-1261 or visit the "To make your donation" section of its website at www.centraide-mtl.org.

About Centraide

Centraide of Greater Montreal is an independent organization managed by a board of directors which is representative of the community. It serves the Island of Montreal, Laval and communities on the South Shore. Centraide relies on a network of over 73,000 volunteers, 23,000 of whom work on its annual campaign. More than 160,000 people contribute financially to Centraide's campaign, which is supported by some 2,200 businesses and corporations, institutions, and public and parapublic organizations as well as large trade unions. Centraide funds community agencies and projects that help over 500,000 people. There are 18 autonomous Centraides in Quebec, each managed by an independent board of directors which is representative of the community it serves.

SOURCE Centraide of Greater Montreal

For further information: For further information: Annick Gagnon, Public Relations Coordinator, (514) 288-1261, ext. 242, gagnona@centraide-mtl.org; www.centraide-mtl.org

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