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Press release from CNW Group

Winner of Mackenzie Investments' 2011 Top Teen Philanthropy Search Announced

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Winner of Mackenzie Investments' 2011 Top Teen Philanthropy Search Announced08:15 EST Tuesday, January 31, 2012Working tirelessly to educate young women in Afghanistan, BC teen Alaina Podmorow stands out from inspiring group of teen philanthropistsTORONTO, Jan. 31, 2012 /CNW/ - Alaina Podmorow, only 14 years old, is a teen who wants to change the world, and she has taken one more step in that direction by donating $5,000 to a registered charity after being named "Canada's Top Teen Philanthropist" in Mackenzie Investments' fourth annual national search.As Canada's Top Teen Philanthropist of 2011, Alaina receives a $5,000 donation, directed in her name, to Little Women for Little Women in Afghanistan. She also personally receives $2,500. The five runners-up will also be rewarded with a $500 donation to the charity of their choice, as well as $500 cash."We were once again overwhelmed with the impressive charitable work being done by students across Canada" says Brad Offman, Vice President, Strategic Philanthropy, Mackenzie Investments. "This contest is a great way to recognize this important work and to encourage these philanthropic teens to continue giving back."Background on teen winner/charityFor more than five years, Alaina has worked on her grassroots charity, Little Women for Little Women in Afghanistan, which supports the education of women and girls in Afghanistan. The charity raises money to pay for teachers' salaries, train teachers and provide libraries for rural villages. Alaina believes education is the stepping stone towards peace and has donated more than 2,000 hours to her cause. Her efforts to date have raised more than $350,000.Canada's teen philanthropists are changing the worldAccording to a poll done in support of the fourth annual search for Canada's Top Teen Philanthropist, the majority of teen respondents are involved in charitable giving. 79 per cent donate to at least one charitable cause and spend at least one hour per month volunteering. In fact, while many teens are on a budget, it was found that 42 per cent of respondents donate 20 dollars per year or more.While the teens polled seem quite active in terms of charitable giving, they believe that Canadians should be doing more in terms of charitable work. Over half (51 per cent) believe that Canadians do not give enough to charitable causes.When it came to the respondents' outlook on the future, 61 per cent believe that social problems will be more prevalent in 50 years. This number is up 12 per cent from 2010 polling.Interestingly, many teens are also incorporating digital tools and social media into their charitable pursuits. 72 per cent of teen respondents have participated in a charity's online activities and 60 per cent have joined an organization's Facebook page.For an infographic of these poll results, please click here.Finding Canada's Top Teen PhilanthropistCandidates were judged on a number of factors, including: the breadth of their volunteering and fundraising efforts, their leadership and creativity, their hands-on involvement in their philanthropic pursuits, the length and level of their involvement and the impact on their community and their charity.Mackenzie also recognized the fine efforts of five additional teens with $500 each to be directed to the charity of their choice, as well as $500 cash:Perri Tutelman, 18, Richmond, BC: Perri is thefounder of Cures for Kids Foundation, a registered charity dedicated to raising funds and awareness for children's immunological disorders. More than $100,000 dollars has been raised through Perri's efforts which were supported by the foundation's signature fundraising event, the "Making Magic Show".Achan Akwai Chaam, 18, Ottawa, ON: Achan has stopped keeping track of the amount of hours he volunteers for his local Boys and Girls club because they helped him so much and in his words, "they deserve my time". A new Canadian who was born in Sudan, he found solace in the club that offered a place to learn and grow. He is now an active volunteer, member and Junior Youth worker with the organization.Laura Wallace, 19, Devon, AB: Volunteering for her sister's charity, the Olive Tree Foundation, Laura lived for a year in Haiti where she helped the organization with its work serving the women and children of Jacmel, Haiti, by providing maternity care at a fully functioning birthing centre. Before she travelled there, Laura also helped fundraise for this worthy cause.Peter Gatti, 17, Toronto, ON: As a leukemia survivor, Peter supports the charity Tour for Kids Atlantic - an organization that raises money to support camps for childhood cancer patients through cycling events such as rides across Canada, weekend provincial rides and in-school stationary bike rides. These camps are free, and fully medically staffed and are often the only camps that cancer patients can attend. Along with volunteering, Peter also completed a 2000 kilometer bike ride from Vancouver to Austin, Texas to help raise money for this cause.Leena Bourne, 17, Petrolia, ON: Creator of Love Beads for Leukemia, Leena developed this fundraising program to help her cope with the stress of having a father diagnosed with the disease. Her main goal of making the beaded bracelets is to spread hope, and with more than $30,000 raised going directly towards Cancer Research, and to children's cancer programs at the London Regional Cancer Clinic, she is doing just that.Along with Jane Wu (2008 winner), a panel of high profile individuals selected this year's winner and finalists. They included: Craig Keilberger, founder of Free The Children; Danielle Bedasse, Executive Director, Jays Care Foundation; Carlos Bustamante, Host, YTV's The Zone; and Brad Offman, Vice President, Strategic Philanthropy, Mackenzie Investments.For more information about the search and finalists, go to www.mackenziefinancial.com/teen.About the survey:The Mackenzie survey results are based on a Student awards national online survey conducted from November 21st to November 29th 2011. The final sample consisted of 265 respondents, between the ages of 13 and 19. The average length of the survey was estimated at 5 minutes.More information on charitable giving and the Mackenzie Charitable Giving Fund, which allows you to leave a legacy of giving, can be found at www.mackenziefinancial.com/giving.Mackenzie Investments: Mackenzie Investments was founded in 1967, and is a leading investment management firm providing investment advisory and related services. With $61.6 billion in assets under management as of December 31, 2011, Mackenzie Investments distributes its investment services through multiple distribution channels to both retail and institutional investors. Mackenzie Investments is a member of the IGM Financial Inc. (TSX: IGM) group of companies. IGM Financial is one of Canada's premier financial services companies with over $118 billion in total assets under management as of December 31, 2011.For further information: Trish Tervit Environics Communications 416-969-2809ttervit@environicspr.com