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MTS opens its wallet for youth

Pledges $100,000 to help young reach their potential

MTS Allstream CEO Pierre Blouin launches Future First, a new community-investment initiative.

MIKE DEAL / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS Enlarge Image

MTS Allstream CEO Pierre Blouin launches Future First, a new community-investment initiative.

MTS is investing in the community by giving $10,000 grants to 10 organizations working specifically for youth advancement and positive social change. Each grant will fund youth programming in the arts, education, recreation and sports.

On Monday, MTS Allstream CEO Pierre Blouin launched Future First, a community-investment program, with a short speech, a promo video and an explosion of confetti to top it off.

"Manitoba's youth face many challenges. Issues ranging from lack of access to education, to work and government," said Blouin during the launch. "There are many organizations in the community working to improve these barriers.

"It's our intention with Future First to provide support to these organizations and help provide the means to create new initiatives," he said.

Future First and the $100,000 in funding will be a welcome relief for many non-profits operating within tight budgets and relying on donor dollars to fund programs.

Ian McArton of Special Olympics Manitoba hopes his non-profit will be selected for a grant in 2014.

"The more funding we get, the more opportunities that we can provide," said McArton, manager of athlete development. "There are cuts from time to time and we make up for it in other ways, and this way will be a really good opportunity for us."

The telecommunications company chose to support youth-oriented organizations specifically, after surveying employees and community leaders.

"We all have children and we all see the need," said Blouin. "MTS has decided to take a stand and help out the province."

The Future First strategy also incorporates post-secondary scholarships, sponsorships, employee volunteerism and a corporate United Way campaign. Recipients of the Future First grants will be presented with the $10,000 on May 12, Manitoba Day.

MTS will release more details about applying for Future First grants and the selection process in early 2014.

Blouin said MTS provides up to $1 million in community investment each year.

danielle.dasilva@freepress.mb.ca

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