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MTS provides grants to help kids

Manitobans voted for winning organizations

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Joey Bernard (from left), Michael Duggan, Bradey Brown, Ila Wilson, Desiree Klassen and Carissa McKernan make a music video with Paul James of Just TV.

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MTS Allstream has rewarded 10 youth-oriented organizations with financial grants to further their programming.

The Winnipeg-based telco will officially announce the recipients of its MTS Future First grants today, which also happens to be Manitoba Day. (The Manitoba Act received royal assent on May 12, 1870, making the province 144 years old.)

Applications were received from more than 100 youth-oriented organizations hoping to receive the $10,000 grant.

"We recognize that we're the home team in Manitoba, and we have an obligation to step up and support our community," said Paul Beauregard, MTS's chief corporate officer. "The grants (are designed) to help youth overcome barriers."

The successful ones are Art City, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Portage la Prairie, the Broadway Neighbourhood Centre, Conseil jeunesse provincial, DASCH Inc., Ecole Opasquia School, FortWhyte Alive, Making Waves Winnipeg, Manitoba School Improvement Program and the Manitoba Wheelchair Sport Association.

"The number of people in this province who volunteer their time and passions to supporting Manitoba youth is quite humbling," Beauregard said.

While most Manitobans are doing very well, Beauregard said not everybody is so fortunate. For example, the province's child-poverty rates are among the highest in the country.

As well, some young people don't have the access to education they should, some are victims of bullying while others aren't able to develop much-needed life skills.

There are no strings attached to the grants -- applicants didn't need to be MTS customers to apply -- and Beauregard said he's not looking to see an uptick in any of its business lines as a result.

"It's hoped we're going to make Manitoba stronger. MTS and its employees and retired employees have been active in this community for 100 years. This is about MTS's commitment to the future of the province and supporting our youth," he said.

MTS donates more than one per cent of its pre-tax profits to a wide variety of causes throughout the province.

Twenty of the organizations were shortlisted and MTS asked Manitobans to select the top 15. Nearly 50,000 people voted and then a panel of business people selected the successful 10.

geoff.kirbyson@freepress.mb.ca

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition May 12, 2014 A4

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Updated on Monday, May 12, 2014 at 6:21 AM CDT: Formats sidebars, replaces photo

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