Sun Life Financial Presents $110,000 in Grants and Scholarships to Atlanta Nonprofits and Rising Star Students before a Performance of TOTEM by Cirque du Soleil

Tue Nov 20, 2012 9:29am EST

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Sun Life Financial Presents $110,000 in Grants and Scholarships to Atlanta Nonprofits and Rising Star Students before a Performance of TOTEM by Cirque du Soleil®

Fugees Family and Andrew and Walter Young Family YMCA honored for commitment to education at special pre-show presentation

The U.S. business group of Sun Life Financial Inc. (NYSE: SLF, TSX: SLF) today announced Atlanta’s Sun Life Rising Star Award recipients, providing $110,000 in grants and scholarships to two community organizations, Fugees Family and Andrew and Walter Young Family YMCA as well as an exemplary student nominated by each: Tucker High School’s Lewis Makor, and D.M. Therrell High School’s Ce'Darius Glaze.

Sun Life Regional Group Manager Kevin Kuzon and Sun Life Voluntary Benefits Practice Leader Michael Otis surprised the students with their scholarships at a special pre-show ceremony at TOTEM™ by Cirque du Soleil®. Before taking in the show, the students, their families and nonprofit representatives enjoyed an exclusive experience with VIP ROUGE™*, where they participated in performance workshops led by world-renowned performers from TOTEM™.

The Sun Life Rising Star Awards program recognizes nonprofits that redress low high school graduation rates and honors outstanding students who have overcome significant obstacles to succeed. The program also promotes financial literacy as a means to achieve life-long financial wellness and stability. Each winning organization receives a $50,000 grant and selects an exemplary student they work with to receive a $5,000 college scholarship. Since the program’s inception, Sun Life has granted nearly $3 million to 54 students and 47 nonprofit organizations across the country. This year, Sun Life expanded the program to seven cities from five in 2011, and will award grants and scholarships to students and nonprofits in Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Houston, Philadelphia, Phoenix and South Florida.

“We are making an investment in our youth, our education system and the workforce of tomorrow through our Sun Life Rising Star Awards program,” said Sun Life Financial U.S. President Wes Thompson. “It’s a privilege to reward these incredible students who have persevered in the face of adversity and stayed committed to furthering their education. We believe they need only opportunity and support to realize their full potential.”

In addition to monetary support, the Sun Life Rising Star Awards program will provide winning organizations with educational curriculum and resources to increase financial literacy among students. Sun Life recently partnered with dfree®, a movement developed by Dr. DeForest B. Soaries Jr. to galvanize the public to overcome the culture of debt and attain financial self-sufficiency. Sun Life and dfree® will provide the students and nonprofits with Breaking Free Workbooks, which includes interactive activities and tools to encourage debt-free living.

A six-person judging panel comprised of Atlanta’s foremost community and business leaders selected the Sun Life Rising Star Awards winners based on the following criteria:

  • Nonprofit’s commitment to developing and promoting skills that directly translate to educational engagement and matriculation rates for secondary school youth under the age of 21
  • Nonprofit’s demonstrated partnership with a secondary or post-secondary educational institution
  • Nonprofit’s documented ability to respond to the needs of specific groups of youth in a manner yielding measurable results
  • Student nominee’s plan to pursue post-secondary education, leadership qualities, commitment to his or her community, and a 750-word essay on how financial education contributes to future success

2012 Atlanta Sun Life Rising Stars:

Fugees Family The Fugees Family is devoted to helping child survivors of war rebuild their lives, one step at a time. The organization works to afford refugee youth equal access to educational opportunities with the goal that each Fugee will attend a post-secondary institution, earn a degree, and enter the workforce prepared to provide for their families in a way that will enable them to break free of the generational cycle of poverty.

Student Recipient: Lewis Makor, Tucker High School
Makor has been in the Fugees Family program for seven years and is known as a “big brother” to his peers. He hopes to be the first person in his family to attend college, and is working to save tuition money at Camp Twin Lakes, a Fugees academic summer camp. A talented athlete, Lewis also hopes to play soccer at the collegiate level. He is interested in attending a mid-size university in the southeast to study business and psychology.

Andrew and Walter Young Family YMCA – Andrew and Walter Young Family YMCA is part of the YMCA of Metropolitan Atlanta whose mission statement is: Your YMCA, reflecting its Judeo-Christian heritage, is an association of volunteers, members and staff, open to and serving all, providing programs and services which develop spirit, mind, and body. The YMCA cause nationally and locally is to make a difference in the areas of youth development, healthy living and social responsibility.

Student Recipient: Ce'Darius Glaze, D.M. Therrell High School
Glaze is a dedicated peer leader and volunteer camp counselor at the Andrew and Walter Young Family YMCA. He works (through the Atlanta Workforce Development program) in the nonprofit’s community kitchen every morning, participates in Teen Leadership programs, competes on the varsity track team, and volunteers at a youth after-school program. An avid reader, he is committed to becoming the first college graduate in his family and wants to study electrical engineering.

The judging panel included: The EDMAT Company Founder, President and CEO Linda Burns; Fallon Benefits Group President Stephen Fallon; Integrated Life Center Psychiatrist Dennis O’Brien; City of Atlanta Senior Advisor to the Mayor Michael Sterling; CNN Senior Marketing Manager Keisha Taylor and Round of Applause Executive Director Nieta Wigginton. For more information on the Sun Life Rising Star Awards, please visit www.sunliferisingstar.com.

About Sun Life Financial

Sun Life Financial is a leading international financial services organization providing a diverse range of protection and wealth accumulation products and services to individuals and corporate customers. Chartered in 1865, Sun Life Financial and its partners today have operations in key markets worldwide, including Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom, Ireland, Hong Kong, the Philippines, Japan, Indonesia, India, China and Bermuda. In the United States and elsewhere, insurance products are offered by members of the Sun Life Financial group that are insurance companies. Sun Life Financial Inc., the holding company for the Sun Life Financial group of companies, is a public company. It is not an insurance company and does not offer insurance products for sale in the United States or elsewhere, and does not guarantee the obligations of its insurance company subsidiaries. In the United States, Sun Life Financial provides a range of products and services to employers and their employees, including group and voluntary life, disability, dental and stop-loss insurance products. These products are issued by Sun Life Assurance Company of Canada in all states except New York. In New York, these products are issued by Sun Life Insurance and Annuity Company of New York. Product offerings may not be available in all states and may vary depending on state laws and regulations. For more information please visit www.sunlife.com/us. Sun Life Financial Inc. trades on the Toronto (TSX), New York (NYSE) and Philippine (PSE) stock exchanges under the ticker symbol SLF.

SLPC 24607 appvd: 11/12, exp: 11/17

*VIP Rouge™ is presented by Infiniti®

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Keith Gainsboro, 617-895-7905
kgainsboro@elevatecom.com

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