Manulife Volunteer Awards support charities with $130,000 for Canada's Champions of Change

More than 115,000 Canadians voted to choose top volunteers


TORONTO, Jan. 17 /CNW/ - Canadians have voted and chosen the country's top two volunteers in CBC News/Outpost Magazine's groundbreaking search for Canada's Champions of Change, a national program promoting volunteerism and sustainable change, presented by Manulife Financial.

Bob Davisson of Medicine Hat, Alta., who founded Lifeline Haiti with his wife in 2007, plus Bobby Hayes, founder of The Joshua Group in Saint John, N.B., were named the top two volunteers based on votes by Canadians for 10 finalists nominated across the country.

The two winners were announced last evening during a national broadcast at 10:30 p.m. (11 NT), on CBC Television, and 9:30 p.m. ET/PT, on CBC News Network.

Both grand prize winners received $25,000 each for their charities and the eight other finalists $10,000 each for their charities, courtesy of Manulife Financial, the presenting sponsor for Canada's Champions of Change.

"Congratulations and thank you for sharing your tremendous volunteer stories with Canadians from coast to coast," said Paul Rooney, president and CEO, Manulife Canada.

"Not only have you inspired Canadians through what you do but, as a finalist, you will receive a Manulife Volunteer Award and the right to direct a significant donation from Manulife Financial ($25,000 or $10,000) to your charity of choice. That will help your valuable volunteer efforts be felt by far more people."

More than 115,000 Canadians voted for their favourites among the 10 finalists, who were chosen by a panel of judges from 2,000 nominations submitted from across the country.

The Top 10 finalists honoured are:

Medicine Hat, Alta.
Lifeline Haiti
Bobby Hayes, 51
Saint John, N.B.
The Joshua Group
ENVIRONMENT Eliza Olson, 71
Delta, B.C.
Burns Bog Conservation Society
Jeff Schnurr, 25
Sackville, N.B.
Community Forests International
Saskatoon, Sask.
Habitat for Humanity Canada
Victor Fernandez, 54
St. Albert, Alta.
Canadian Association for
Fire Services Abroad
SOCIAL JUSTICE Jorge de Guzman, 61
Sarnia, Ont.
YMCA School of Self Defence
Gladys Radek, 55
Vancouver, B.C.
HEALTH & WELLNESS Dr. Christopher Opio, 56
Prince George, B.C.
Northern Uganda
Development Foundation
Lindsay Willms, 28
Vancouver, B.C.
Camp Good Times

"The stories shared by each of our finalists have been truly inspiring," added Mr. Rooney. "I encourage all Canadians to visit the CBC Champions of Change website to learn more and read about these amazing volunteers."

For more information and to view videos about Manulife's signature cause of volunteerism, please visit

Media who require high-resolution video clips of the awards event, please contact:

Manulife's Commitment to Volunteerism
Every volunteer, every volunteer act, and every hour given back helps Canadians build a stronger future. And preparing for the future is something Manulife gets behind every day. To learn more about the Manulife Volunteer Commitment, visit

About CBC/Radio-Canada
CBC/Radio-Canada is Canada's national public broadcaster and one of its largest cultural institutions. The Corporation is a leader in reaching Canadians on new platforms and delivers a comprehensive range of radio, television, Internet, and satellite-based services. Deeply rooted in the regions, CBC/Radio-Canada is the only domestic broadcaster to offer diverse regional and cultural perspectives in English, French and eight Aboriginal languages. For more information, visit

About Manulife Financial
Manulife Financial is a leading Canadian-based financial services group operating in 22 countries and territories worldwide. For more than 120 years, clients have looked to Manulife for strong, reliable, trustworthy and forward-thinking solutions for their most significant financial decisions. Our international network of employees, agents and distribution partners offers financial protection and wealth management products and services to millions of clients around the world. We provide asset management services to institutional customers worldwide as well as reinsurance solutions, specializing in life and property and casualty retrocession. Funds under management by Manulife Financial and its subsidiaries were Cdn$474 billion (US$460 billion) as at September 30, 2010.

The Company operates as Manulife Financial in Canada and Asia and primarily as John Hancock in the United States. Manulife Financial Corporation trades as 'MFC' on the TSX, NYSE and PSE, and under '945' on the SEHK. Manulife Financial can be found on the Internet at

SOURCE Manulife Financial

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Media contact:
Tom Nunn
Manulife Financial

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