76ers Star Lavoy Allen and Sun Life Financial Recognize Philadelphia Nonprofits and Exceptional High School Seniors as Sun Life Rising Stars; Present $110,000 in Grants and Scholarships at Surprise Presentation at City Hall

Steppingstone Scholars and Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship (NFTE) honored for commitment to education

WELLESLEY, Mass.--()--The U.S. business group of Sun Life Financial Inc. (NYSE: SLF, TSX: SLF) today announced Philadelphia’s Sun Life Rising Star Awards program winners, awarding a total of $110,000 in grants and scholarships to two local youth-oriented community organizations including Steppingstone Scholars and Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship (NFTE) Philadelphia as well as exemplary students nominated by each nonprofit: Samuel Fels High School’s Saaiba Newton, and The Episcopal Academy’s Anthony Thai. Philadelphia 76ers star Lavoy Allen helped Sun Life Regional Sales Manager Bob Pyskadlo and Sun Life Voluntary Practice Leader Dave Sherman surprise the winning students with their scholarships at a special presentation at Philadelphia City Hall.

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.

Pyskadlo and Sherman joined Allen, Exude Benefits President and CEO Marcos Lopez, who served on this year’s Rising Star judging panel, and prominent local business and community members to present the winning students with $5,000 scholarships. The winners, their families and friends were treated to an exclusive Q&A session with Allen before he challenged the two scholarship winners to a basketball shooting competition inside City Hall.

“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. As part of the partnership, Sun Life and dfree® will provide Sun Life Rising Star Awards students and organizations with the Breaking Free Workbook, which includes interactive activities and evaluation tools to encourage debt-free living using the program’s core principles and financial strategies. Soaries will also address winning organizations and students at a series of educational seminars in select Sun Life Rising Star cities this fall.

A nine-person judging panel comprised of Philadelphia’s foremost community and business leaders and philanthropists 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 Philadelphia Sun Life Rising Stars:

Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship (NFTE) Philadelphia The Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship's mission is to provide programs that inspire young people from low-income communities to stay in school, to recognize business opportunities and to plan for successful futures. Since 1987, NFTE has improved the lives of more than 280,000 young people and currently has programs in 21 states and 11 countries outside the U.S.

Student Recipient: Saaiba Newton, Samuel Fels High School HS

Saaiba is an active volunteer at her school and in her community, volunteering over the past two summers with Camp 2000 – an organization that offers academic and outdoor activities for inner city children. Within the NFTE program Saaiba passed the required course and placed first in the NFTE classroom competition. In addition to her studies, Saaiba is a young entrepreneur who launched her own business - Ebony’s Beauty Line.

Steppingstone Scholars Steppingstone Scholars is dedicated to helping educationally underserved students in the Greater Philadelphia region achieve academic success. Steppingstone prepares students with the potential and a community of support for admission to the best public, non-public and independent college preparatory schools through a program of academics, mentoring and support. Steppingstone Scholars works with partner schools to create opportunities that lead to college.

Student Recipient: Anthony Thai, The Episcopal Academy

Anthony is a member of Episcopal Academy’s Student Council, writes for the school newspaper, participates in Key Club as a School Host and is a two sport high school athlete. In addition to his extracurricular activities at Episcopal, Anthony volunteers as a student tutor in the Steppingstone Scholars’ program, was accepted into the Global Youth Leadership Institute to participate in a leadership program and is a member of Model United Nations.

In addition to Lopez, the judging panel included: Operations/Program Consultant Nicole Anderson; School District of Philadelphia Deputy Chief of Administration to the Superintendent Claudia Averette; Sun Life Financial U.S. former Senior Vice President, Head of Marketing and Strategy Priscilla Sims Brown; Impacto Latin Newspaper Publisher Napoleon Garcia; Exude Benefits President and CEO Marcos Lopez; Perfection Events, Inc. President Mazda Miles; Commonwealth of Pennsylvania's Court of Common Pleas Judge Honorable Lisette Shirdan-Harris; Capital Management Enterprises Chairman and CEO Manny Stamatakis; Comcast Cable Program Management Director Dionne Vernon. 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 24561 10/2012 (Exp. 10/2017)


Keith Gainsboro, 857-234-1481


Keith Gainsboro, 857-234-1481