WATERLOO, ON, Sept. 28, 2011 – Manulife Financial has launched a 12-week series of online conversations designed to engage Canadians on the challenges, issues and rewards associated with volunteerism. These online conversations, which are being hosted in partnership with Volunteer Canada and are powered by The Mark News, will provide a forum for volunteers, community members, not-for-profit organizations and notable Canadians to gather, debate and exchange experiences on a series of topics relevant to the Canadian volunteer sector.
Each of the 12 online conversations are open to the general public and are accessible by anyone who follows the Facebook page “Get Volunteering” at www.facebook.com/getvolunteering.
“We are extremely excited to begin this important online dialogue with Canadians,” said Nicole Boivin, Senior Vice President, HR and Communications at Manulife Financial. “Volunteerism is essential to the well-being and health of our communities, which is why Manulife Financial’s commitment to supporting the volunteer sector is a critical part of our vision to help build a better future for all Canadians – one hour at a time. We are hoping to spark a thoughtful dialogue about the issues facing individuals and organizations in the volunteer sector that will ultimately help to identify ways to grow volunteerism across the country.”
This series of online conversations began on September 21 with a discussion entitled, “Is Volunteerism in Our DNA?” The discussion was moderated by Lawrence Scanlan, whose 2010 book, A Year of Living Generously, examined the nature of charity and the evolution of the Canadian volunteer sector. The discussion also attracted participation from notable Canadians Gillian Hewitt Smith, Jeff Schnurr and Bobby Hayes as well as various representatives from volunteer organizations across the country such as M�dicins Sans Fronti�res and LiveWorkPlay Community Living.
This week’s conversation – which is scheduled for Wednesday, September 28 – will focus on volun-tourism and consider the question of Canada as a destination for training international volunteers who travel with the purpose of giving back to underprivileged communities. Future online conversations in this series will happen weekly until December 5 and each conversation will be moderated by a notable Canadian contributor and the general public is encouraged to participate in the discussion. Topics of future conversations include:
- Volunteers in politics
- Volunteerism and New Canadians
- Engaging youth in Volunteerism
- Volunteerism and Retirement planning
- The role of the Private Sector in Volunteerism
“Volunteerism – and the continuing significance it has in Canadian society and our future – is an important issue for us to discuss openly and publicly,” said Jeronimo De Miguel, Assistant Vice-President, External Relations at Manulife “We’re extremely excited to bring this discussion online where increasing numbers of Canadians go to share their thoughts and ideas, and to meet and engage with communities of shared interests. Almost half our population volunteers and have experiences to share; by using social media to engage in this important dialogue, we are hopeful many Canadians will take the time to join us and participate in the dialogue.”
Canada has an exceptionally active volunteer sector. According to Statistics Canada most recent data on charitable activity and volunteerism, close to half of Canadians over the age of 15 volunteer approximately 2.1 billion hours.
About Manulife Financial
Manulife Financial is a leading Canadian-based financial services group operating in 21 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. We provide asset management services to institutional customers worldwide as well as reinsurance solutions, specializing in property and casualty retrocession. Funds under management by Manulife Financial and its subsidiaries were Cdn$481billion (US$498 billion) as at June 30, 2011. 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 www.manulife.com.
About Manulife’s Commitment to Volunteerism
Preparing for the future is something Manulife (www.manulife.ca) gets behind every day. The Manulife Volunteer Commitment focuses on helping Canadians build a better future on three important levels: by inspiring Canadians to want to get involved and give back; by supporting initiatives that help Canadians match their unique skills and talents with meaningful volunteer opportunities; and by engaging Canadians in the idea of volunteerism and its value to the future of our country.