WINDSOR, Conn.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Voya Financial, Inc. (NYSE:VOYA), a leading provider of retirement plans for educators, announced today that Bryan Haecker, a teacher at Earl Warren High School, a school in the Northside Independent School District in San Antonio, Texas, won the second-place grant award in the company’s annual Voya Unsung Heroes program.
Through the Voya Unsung Heroes program, Voya awards $2,000 grants to 100 K-12 educators across the country each year to support their innovative and creative teaching ideas. Voya also selects three top winners to receive additional funds. In its 20-plus years, the program has awarded more than $5 million in grants to approximately 2,260 educators across the U.S.
As the second-place winner, Haecker will receive $10,000 in addition to the $2,000 grant — bringing his total financial award to $12,000. This money will be used to help bring “Sleep in Heavenly Peace” to life at Earl Warren High School.
“At Voya, we believe that education is key to healthy communities, which in turn foster the sustainability and growth of the economy — so we’re thrilled to recognize our nation’s teachers who go above and beyond to inspire today’s students and tomorrow’s leaders,” said Heather Lavallee, president of Tax-Exempt Markets for Voya’s Retirement business. “For more than 20 years, Voya’s Unsung Heroes program has empowered educators, like Bryan, to help bring their innovative ideas to life. We are honored to recognize him as our 2019 second-place winner.”
Haecker’s innovative teaching idea, “Sleep in Heavenly Peace,” involves supporting a local volunteer organization that is dedicated to building, assembling and delivering top-notch bunkbeds to children and families in need. Haecker believes all children deserve a safe, comfortable place to lay their heads. In his project description, Haecker says that in San Antonio, Texas and across the country, boys and girls too often go without a bed or even a pillow to sleep on. These children end up sleeping on couches, blankets and even floors. Haecker believes that not being able to sleep in a bed can affect a child’s happiness and their health.
“Bryan Haecker possesses a steadfast determination to give all those who are fortunate enough to work with him the foundation for a productive life,” said Valerie Sisk, principal of Earl Warren High School. “He literally builds the doors with students and stands beside them as they enter their future with the tools and experiences that will serve them throughout their lives. Whether it’s constructing Little Free Libraries or helping our students to build homes for Habitat for Humanity, Bryan leads his students both literally and figuratively in building their future.”
With the Voya grant, Haecker and his high school students from wood shop will be able to help the local volunteer organization, Sleep in Heavenly Peace, by building bunkbeds with his students and providing not only the labor to build the beds, but also helping to deliver and assemble the beds at the houses for the families. Ultimately, the students will be giving back to families in need, while using skills they learned in class.
To learn more about this year’s winning projects, as well as those from previous years, visit Unsung Heroes (unsungheroes.com). Applications for the 2020 Voya Unsung Heroes awards are currently being accepted through the website until April 30, 3020.
Unsung Heroes is part of Voya Foundation’s signature program, Voya Teacher Voices. Voya Teacher Voices focuses on empowering teachers to become leaders by promoting the teaching career, recognizing high-achieving accomplishments, providing training opportunities and offering financial support to achieve their goals.
About Voya Foundation
Voya Foundation's mission is to improve the quality of life in communities where Voya Financial operates and its employees and customers live. Voya Foundation provides grants and establishes signature partnerships in the areas of financial literacy and children's education and fosters employee engagement to deepen our positive impact on the community. For more information, visit www.VoyaFoundation.com
About Voya Financial®
Voya Financial, Inc. (NYSE: VOYA), helps Americans plan, invest and protect their savings — to get ready to retire better. Serving the financial needs of approximately 13.8 million individual and institutional customers in the United States, Voya is a Fortune 500 company that had $8.5 billion in revenue in 2018. The company had $560 billion in total assets under management and administration as of June 30, 2019. With a clear mission to make a secure financial future possible — one person, one family, one institution at a time — Voya’s vision is to be America’s Retirement Company®. Certified as a “Great Place to Work” by the Great Place to Work® Institute, Voya is equally committed to conducting business in a way that is socially, environmentally, economically and ethically responsible. Voya has been recognized as one of the 2019 World’s Most Ethical Companies® by the Ethisphere Institute; as a member of the Bloomberg Gender Equality Index; and as a “Best Place to Work for Disability Inclusion” on the Disability Equality Index by Disability:IN. For more information, visit voya.com. Follow Voya Financial on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter @Voya.