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2008 News Releases

For Immediate Release

December 19, 2008

Manulife Financial donates $100,000 to 15 charities, $40,000 to Food Banks Canada and $25,000 to Breakfast for Learning to support those in need

Waterloo - In the spirit of the holiday season, Manulife Financial’s Canadian Division is donating $100,000 to charities in four cities where it has major employee locations, $40,000 to Food Banks Canada plus $25,000 to Breakfast for Learning.

Manulife’s Canadian Division established “Spirit of Giving” committees in Halifax, Montreal, Toronto and Kitchener-Waterloo to give employees a chance to direct $25,000 in each centre to charities that they believe can have a positive impact. In total, 15 different groups will receive support in the four cities.

“Our employees take great pride in supporting groups in their local communities through the year,” said Paul Rooney, President and CEO of Manulife Canada. “Our Spirit of Giving donations will help provide those who need it most with companionship, comfort and support through the holidays and into the new year.”

Charities selected by Manulife’s employee Spirit of Giving Committees include:
Halifax: The QEII Foundation, Palliative Care Unit ($10,000); Parker Street Food & Furniture Bank ($7,500) and the Canadian Cancer Society, Relay for Life ($7,500)

Montreal: Fais-un-voeu Canada / Make-a-Wish Foundation Canada ($10,800); Centre de la petite enfance Genesis - Day care in impoverished neighbourhood ($6,200); Centre pour les victims d’agression sexuelle - Centre for victims of sexual abuse ($4,000) and Foundation Auberges du coeur – Helps street youth ($4,000)

Toronto: Bloorview Kids Foundation ($15,000); Society of Saint Vincent de Paul ($5,000) and BOOST Child Abuse Prevention & Intervention ($5,000)

Kitchener-Waterloo: Family & Children’s Services, Tree of Hope ($9,500); Women’s Crisis Services ($9,500); Food Bank of Waterloo Region ($2,000); Planned Lifetime Network ($2,000) and Nutrition for Learning ($2,000).

Along with the city-specific donations, Manulife’s Canadian Division is also donating $40,000 to Food Banks Canada (formerly the Canadian Association of Food Banks) to assist families across the country and $25,000 to Breakfast for Learning, a national organization that provides nourishment programs to school-age children.

“Food banks are helping a growing number of working individuals and families as they face increased economic pressure,” said Katharine Schmidt, Executive Director of Food Banks Canada. “We are very appreciative of Manulife Financial’s support during a time when families and individuals are struggling, as well-paying jobs are either cut or replaced by those with lower wages.”

More than 700,000 people are assisted by food banks every month in this country, she added – 14.5 per cent are employed, 4.8 per cent receive Employment Insurance and 19 per cent receive disability or old age income support.

Founded in 1992, Breakfast for Learning has helped nourish children and youth across Canada through school-based nutrition programs. In 2007-2008, Breakfast for Learning funded more than 3,100 programs, providing millions of healthy breakfasts, lunches and snacks to more than 360,000 students.

Manulife in the community
With more than 7,000 employees in its Canadian Division, Manulife contributes to a wide range of community initiatives and causes. In 2008, Manulife donated more than $9 million to non-profit organizations across Canada.

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Media contact:
Tom Nunn
Assistant Vice President
Manulife Financial