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RBC Joins Forces with Free The Children to Spread the 'We Movement' to Youth Across Canada

Youth empowerment event, We Day, goes coast to coast, reaching more youth than ever before with RBC as National Co-Title Sponsor

Toronto, ON (May 28, 2012) - Today, Free The Children, international children's charity and educational partner, and RBC, the largest financial institution in Canada, announced a multi-million dollar, long-term partnership elevating Free The Children's youth-led movement to new heights. The sponsorship will bring Free The Children's signature youth empowerment event, We Day, to eight cities across Canada - from Vancouver to Halifax - making this season its largest to date. RBC has signed on as the National Co-Title Sponsor of We Day and We Schools in Action, the organization's youth programming initiative, engaging thousands of educators and their students year-round through curriculum, campaigns and We Day.

"Free The Children was founded by my classmates and me when I was 12 years old. We've grown from a small group of passionate kids to a network of almost two million youth leaders worldwide," said Craig Kielburger, co-founder, Free The Children. "We are humbled and honoured to be working alongside RBC as we continue to grow and expand our reach. Through its philanthropic ideologies, RBC is truly committed to providing a positive impact on today's society, and we are grateful for the company's support and dedication towards helping youth become active local and global citizens."

Throughout its 17 year history, Free The Children has consistently recognized the importance and the desire of youth to be more involved and engaged in society. According to the 2012 Canadian Survey of Giving, young Canadians between the ages of 15 and 24, have consistently participated in volunteering more than any other age group for over a decade. Together, Free The Children and RBC have made a long term commitment to continue to empower these youth with the tools, resources and support needed to change the world.

"We believe in the impact that Free The Children's programming has on educating and empowering youth both domestically and globally," said Dave McKay, group head, Canadian Banking at RBC. "We are committed to providing the foundation, resources and guidance to help children believe in themselves, become leaders and get inspired to take action to make the world a better place. On behalf of RBC and its employees, we are thrilled to team up with Free The Children to help expand its growing movement."

As part of a five year partnership, RBC will become the National Co-Title Sponsor of We Day, Free The Children's signature youth empowerment event, which kicks off the organization's year-long We Schools in Action program. The 2012/2013 We Day season will reach more youth than ever before with three new cities - Calgary, Ottawa and Halifax - bringing the event count to eight, truly making this remarkable social change event and movement, a cross-Canada experience. We Day events will be held on the following dates:

  • We Day Toronto: September 28, 2012, Air Canada Centre (20,000 expected attendees)
  • We Day Vancouver: October 18, 2012, Rogers Arena (20,000 expected attendees)
  • We Day Alberta: October 24, 2012, Scotiabank Saddledome in Calgary (18,000 expected attendees)
  • We Day Manitoba: October 30, 2012, MTS Centre in Winnipeg (18,000 expected attendees)
  • We Day Waterloo Region (generously supported by title sponsor, Research In Motion (RIM): November 14, 2012, Kitchener Memorial Auditorium Complex (6,000 expected attendees)
  • We Day Montreal: November 20, 2012, Theatre St Denis (2,000 expected attendees)
  • National We Day (taking place in Ottawa): April 29, 2013, Robert Guertin Arena (4,000 expected attendees)
  • We Day Halifax: Fall of 2013

Throughout all events, 100,000 in attendance, and millions watching online and via the national CTV and MuchMusic broadcasts, will hear powerful messages from world leaders, performers and special guests, inspiring them to make a commitment to create positive change in the world.

RBC will also support Free The Children's We Schools in Action, a dedicated program that engages thousands of educators and their students year-round through curriculum, campaigns and We Day. The program provides free guidance, resources and tools to educators, enabling hundreds of thousands of youth to engage in social justice learning's, actions, and commitments 365 days a year.

The RBC Foundation has supported a wide range of Free The Children's local and global programs since 2009, and today announced a further commitment to the organization's We Schools in Action program.

Based on the data received to date, preliminary results from schools and youth participating in the We Schools in Action program has already resulted in the following impacts:

  • $2.5 million raised for more than 500 causes and organizations supporting local and global initiatives
  • Nearly 2 million volunteer hours logged by youth involved in the We Schools in Action program
  • More than 700,000 lbs of food collected for local food banks as part of Free The Children's Halloween for Hunger campaign.
  • 153,213 students in Canada went silent for approximately 1.1 million combined total hours, standing up for children's rights around the world as part of Free The Children's Vow of Silence campaign
  • Through Free The Children's Local Spotlight: Aboriginal Education campaign, 35,000 students spread the message of the successes and challenges of Aboriginal education in Canada to 712,000 of their peers

About Free The Children

Free The Children is the world's largest network of children helping children through education, with more than one million youth involved in our innovative education and development programs in 45 countries. Founded in 1995 by international child rights activist Craig Kielburger, we are a charity and educational partner that believes in a world where all young people are free to achieve their fullest potential as agents of change. Our domestic programs educate, engage and empower hundreds of thousands of youth in North America, the UK and around the world. Our international projects have brought over 650 schools and school rooms to youth and provided clean water, health care and sanitation to one million people around the world.

Free The Children has a proven track record of success. The organization has received the World's Children's Prize for the Rights of the Child (also known as the Children's Nobel Prize), the Human Rights Award from the World Association of Non-Governmental Organizations, and has formed successful partnerships with leading school boards and Oprah's Angel Network. For additional information, please visit www.freethechildren.com.

About RBC
Royal Bank of Canada (RY on TSX and NYSE) and its subsidiaries operate under the master brand name RBC. We are Canada's largest bank as measured by assets and market capitalization, and are among the largest banks in the world, based on market capitalization. We are one of North America's leading diversified financial services companies, and provide personal and commercial banking, wealth management services, insurance, corporate and investment banking and transaction processing services on a global basis. We employ approximately 74,000 full- and part-time employees who serve more than 15 million personal, business, public sector and institutional clients through offices in Canada, the U.S. and 51 other countries. For more information, please visit rbc.com.

For more information, please contact:

Lauren Stasila, Free The Children, T: 416-558-9310
lauren.stasila@freethechildren.com

Suzanne Willers, RBC, T: 416-974-2727
suzanne.willers@rbc.com