MONTREAL, Oct. 2, 2012 /CNW Telbec/ - Today, the Foundation of Greater Montréal released the 6th edition of its annual report entitled: Greater Montréal's Vital Signs 2012. This report presents an overall picture, with supporting statistics, of what is going well - and not so well - in Greater Montréal in regard to the economy, employment, the gap between rich and poor, education, health, housing, safety, as well as the environment. Overall, the Montréal region lags behind other Canadian cities in terms of economic and social development.
"Contrary to what some say, Montréal is doing fine, but could do so much better, " says Marina Boulos, President-CEO of the Foundation of Greater Montréal (FGM). "Our report proves it."
More and more disadvantaged people
The most shocking data in Vital Signs 2012 include: an overall increase for food bank assistance of 32%, and of 65% on behalf of families, regardless of their employment income; nearly half of the 70,000 students in the Montréal School Board need food assistance, but only 18% receive help due to lack of resources; the number of homeless, estimated to be 30,000 today, has doubled since 1996.
On the positive side, the FGM noted a decrease in the number of bankruptcies, an increase in average family income, a younger population than other large Canadian cities, and of course, Montréal's excellent cultural reputation on an international scale.
Business people should contribute more
"Montréal, despite its extraordinary strengths, has not grown to its full potential," said Richard "Dick" Pound, Chairman of the Board of Directors of the FGM, past President of the World Anti-Doping Agency, and a member of the renowned law firm, Stikeman Elliot. Mr. Pound was at the Board of Trade of Metropolitan Montréal early Tuesday morning where he vigorously addressed the business community. The weakness of Montréal's development, he said, is due to a lack of involvement on the part of Montréal business people within their community.
Elsewhere in the country, and in the United States, this participation is extremely valued, or even considered a moral duty. "If you don't do it, you aren't looked upon favorably as a business leader, and your company is also frowned upon," explains Ms. Boulos.
It is high time that business leaders give their time, their energy, their expertise, as well as their company resources to better serve the community of Montréal. "Companies should especially encourage their employees to become involved with causes and projects that are meaningful," suggested Ms. Boulos.
The release on Tuesday was one of several launch events of «Journées du développement régional», sponsored by la Conférence régionale des élus de Montréal. These "Journées" will continue until November 1st.
About the Foundation of Greater Montréal
The Foundation of Greater Montreal (www.fgmtl.org) is a charitable organization dedicated to the well-being of the Greater Montreal community. It establishes and manages permanent endowment funds and distributes their income in the form of grants to charitable organizations working in the areas of health, social services, arts and culture, education, and the environment. The FGM currently manages over 340 funds worth over $120 million. Since its creation, it has distributed grants totalling almost $9 million to non-profit organizations in the Greater Montréal area.
About Vital Signs
Vital Signs is a community check-up conducted by community foundations across Canada that measures the vitality of our communities, identifies significant trends, and assigns grades in a range of areas critical to quality of life. It is coordinated nationally by Community Foundations of Canada. This year, 13 Canadian community foundations will simultaneously publish local reports. For more information about the Greater Montréal's Vital Signs 2012 report, please visit: www.signesvitauxmontreal.ca, and for other reports across Canada, visit: http://www.vitalsignscanada.ca/nr-2011-index-e.html.
SOURCE: FOUNDATION OF GREATER MONTREAL
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