Fondation Desjardins Honours Six Organizations for Outstanding Commitment to Social Causes

    MONTREAL, Oct. 16 /CNW Telbec/ - To mark Cooperation Week 2008, Fondation
Desjardins awarded Desjardins Annual Prizes to six not-for-profit
organizations, highlighting their outstanding commitment to social causes.
    The names of the organizations were unveiled in the presence of
Ms. Monique F. Leroux, Chair of the Board, President and CEO of Desjardins
Group, and the Québec Minister of Immigration and Cultural Communities,
Ms. Yolande James. The winners are:

    Youth Assistance: Conseil du loisir scientifique de l'Estrie (CLSE),

    Since 1980, this organization has led numerous activities to raise
interest in science, such as the Club des Débrouillards and the Défi apprenti
genie, to challenge elementary school science whizzes and, for high school
students, the Expo-sciences science fair and the Innovateurs à l'école club,
as well as regional round tables. The program rewarded by this year's jury,
Les filles et les sciences, un duo électrisant, is aimed at encouraging young
girls from Secondary II and III (Grades 8 and 9) to look into science as a
career by increasing their knowledge in scientific fields. Over 130 people
participated in this activity, which was developed in collaboration with
schools at all levels as well as with parents and teachers.

    Senior Citizen Assistance - Joint winners

    "La Voix des aînés" choir, Alma
    Since 1992, the members of this choir have been blending their love of
singing with their desire to share joy and happy memories with other seniors,
many of whom have difficulty getting around. And interest just keeps growing.
The choir receives many invitations and travels considerably, taking care to
respect sustainable development criteria when it does so. So far, more than
1,500 people have enjoyed their concerts.

    Conseil des organismes francophones de la région de Durham (COFRD),
    The council's mission is to offer diversified community, social and
artistic programming in French as part of its efforts to promote the
development, growth and vitality of the French-speaking population of the
Durham area. The initiative that caught the panel's attention was the
council's establishment of a community theatre troupe, called "Le Trait
d'Union." The actors are mainly seniors and their plays have already reached
an audience of over 600 people of all generations.

    Cultural Services: Ecole de musique Denys Arcand music school,

    Since 1994, Ecole de musique Denys Arcand has been offering music lessons
to the residents of Deschambault-Grondines, as well as in and around the
county of Portneuf. Through individual or group classes, its 400 students -
made up of children, teenagers, adults and seniors - are introduced to music,
express their identity, explore their creativity and get together in a spirit
of teamwork. By offering several types of professional music lessons as well
as high-quality musical shows and activities, the school has shown that
cultural development in rural areas contributes to the vitality of the region
as well as to individual growth.

    Community Development: Lettres en main, Montréal

    For 25 years, Lettres en main has offered reading, writing, basic
arithmetic and computer workshops to illiterate adults in the Rosemont area.
The organization produces and distributes free educational material for
illiterate adults. The project chosen by the Desjardins Annual Prize jury
concerns the collection "Les nouvelles connaissances usuelles" - a series of
11 publications, each with a print run of 15,000 copies distributed free of
charge to close to 400 centres and organizations who promote literacy in
Québec and across French Canada.

    Sustainable Development: Coopérative de solidarité en développement
    durable de Bellechasse La Mauve, St-Vallier

    Established in 2002, Coopérative La Mauve is a social economy business
whose mission is to promote sustainable development in agriculture, food and
the environment. La Mauve weaves direct ties between consumers and more than
30 local producers by processing and distributing their products. It also
offers the possibility of leasing land to microproducers and product testers.
The cooperative also develops awareness and grassroots public education
activities related to its mission. In all, some 5,000 people benefit from
these regional initiatives in sustainable development.
    Finally, the following four organizations received honourable mentions
for their achievements: Centre d'Action Bénévole de Bedford & environs inc. of
Bedford, Corporation Augustin-Chénier Théâtre du Rift of Ville-Marie, Les
ateliers cinq épices of Montréal and Plan Nagua of Québec City.
    Since 1975, the Desjardins Annual Prizes, worth $5,000 each, reward and
support the actions of organizations that make a difference in their
communities through their innovative and original programs. To date, nearly
$890,000 has been distributed among 157 organizations.

    About Fondation Desjardins

    As a component of Desjardins Group, the largest cooperative financial
group in Canada, Fondation Desjardins fulfils its mission to provide
educational support by distributing university scholarships and bursaries
throughout Québec and Ontario for training, skills development and cooperative
spirit. The foundation also hands out awards in recognition of volunteer
activities and to support entrepreneurship and employment. In 2008, Fondation
Desjardins will distribute more than $700,000. In Québec, it is well known for
distributing more university scholarships than any other private foundation in
the province. Since its inception, the foundation has given away more of
$10 million dollars to support over 8,700 young people. To find out more,

For further information:

For further information: (for journalists only): André Chapleau,
Director, Information and Media Relations, Desjardins Group, (514) 281-7229,
1-866-866-7000, ext. 7229,; Eliane Didier,
Coordinator, Fondation Desjardins, (514) 281-7170, 1-800-443-8611, ext. 3,

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