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Bill Downe Recognized for Commitment to Community

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - July 4, 2011) - United Way Canada recently awarded Bill Downe, President and Chief Executive Officer of BMO Financial Group and 2009 United Way Toronto Campaign Chair, with the Chair's Award of Distinction. This award recognizes volunteers that demonstrate leadership, value community engagement and show sustained dedication to United Way.

"In 2009, as the city was reeling from a recession, United Way raised a remarkable $107.5-million for our community," said Susan McIsaac, President and CEO of United Way Toronto. "It was one of our toughest campaigns and we knew the need was great. Bill led with compassion and was instrumental in our success. As Campaign Chair, he brought community leaders together and encouraged everyone to dig deep in support of our city."

Downe has been a United Way supporter since 1983. Passionate about United Way's efforts to support vital community services and improve social conditions, he worked tirelessly in his role as Campaign Chair. He ensured that his peers understood the importance of not only funding agencies that support people when they need it most, but also investing in long-term strategies to address the root causes of social problems.

Downe was a driving force behind advocating for and attracting investment to Community Hubs in Toronto's priority neighbourhoods — an important part of United Way's Building Strong Neighbourhoods Strategy which aims to bring lasting, positive change to our city.

Established in 1956, United Way Toronto is a registered charity and community impact organization dedicated to improving lives and strengthening neighbourhoods across Toronto. United Way identifies needs and takes action to create a better, safer, stronger city through research, partnerships and support of a network of 200 health and social service agencies.

For further information:
Media contacts:
Kathleen Perchaluk
United Way Toronto
Desk: 416-777-1444 ext. 576
Mobile: 416-557-8508

Paul Deegan
BMO Financial Group