Sun Life Financial Recognizes Philadelphia Nonprofits and Three College-bound High School Seniors as Sun Life Rising Stars

October 5, 2011

Sun Life Financial Inc. (NYSE: SLF, TSX: SLF) today announced Philadelphia’s Sun Life Rising Star Awards program winners. The financial services company awarded a total of $165,000 in grants and scholarships to three youth-oriented nonprofits and to an exemplary student nominated by each organization. The Sun Life Rising Star Awards program aims to address low high school graduation rates in large urban school districts by providing financial and educational resources to students and nonprofit organizations committed to increasing success in high school and beyond. The program, now in its second year, also seeks to promote financial literacy as a means to achieve life-long financial wellness and stability.

Each winning organization will receive a $50,000 grant, while each student nominee will receive a $5,000 Sun Life Rising Star scholarship towards financing a college education. In addition to monetary support, Sun Life will collaborate with the organizations to increase financial literacy through curriculum and educational resources. In 2011, Sun Life will invest more than $1 million to outstanding students and nonprofit organizations affiliated with large urban school districts across the country, including Boston, Detroit, Los Angeles, Philadelphia and South Florida.

 “Access to quality education for all is critical to our country’s future, and that’s why it’s a priority for Sun Life to continue investing in and improving the lives of students who are committed to furthering their education,” said Sun Life Financial U.S. President Wes Thompson. “We are proud to reward our amazing Rising Star students for their perseverance in the face of adversity. It is our firm belief that they need only opportunity and a little support to rise to their potential.”

Sun Life surprised winning students with their $5,000 scholarships at an award presentation held at the Philadelphia Museum of Art where the students and their peers enjoyed an exclusive behind-the-scenes museum tour and a guest lecture by motivational speaker and local artist Damon Reaves. Reaves shared his artistic works and a story about his personal road to success from a disadvantaged childhood to encourage attendees to continue achieving and working towards their educational goals and aspirations.

The winning Sun Life Rising Star organizations were selected by a nine-person judging panel comprised of some of Philadelphia’s foremost education and community leaders, philanthropists, financial advisors, city officials and local activists based on the following criteria:

  • Nonprofit’s commitment to developing and promoting skills that directly translate to educational success for students 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

 The 2011 Philadelphia Sun Life Rising Star Awards program winners include:

 Philadelphia Youth Network, Inc. - The Philadelphia Youth Network makes connections between individuals, organizations and systems to provide the preparation needed for city's youth to thrive in a regional and global economy through two citywide strategies: WorkReady Philadelphia and Project U-Turn.

 Student Recipient: Ramean Clowney, Fairhill Community HS

  • Ramean distinguished himself as a passionate, vocal leader admired by his peers while interning for the Student Success Center Leadership Academy, a team of youth leaders from neighborhood high schools who bring college and career support to their respective communities. 
  •  Within months of completing his internship, Ramean joined the PYN Youth Ambassadors’ program, serving as the first formerly disengaged youth among a cohort of otherwise in-school youth.
  • As a Youth Ambassador, Ramean has worked tirelessly on his public speaking skills, becoming one of the more charismatic spokespeople in the program. 
  • The program provides what he describes as a positive social outlet while allowing him to “speak up” for the youth of Philadelphia.

 Urban Affairs Coalition – The Urban Affairs Coalition unites government, business, neighborhoods, and individual initiatives to improve the quality of life in the region, build wealth in urban communities, and solve emerging issues.

 Student Recipient: Tiffany Collins, Arise Academy Charter HS

  • Tiffany has been an active member at her high school and has proven her determination to excel academically as well as plan for a successful professional future in medicine.
  • She consistently earned high grades during her junior year and received a much deserved designation as an honor roll student.
  • She is a revered leader by both her peers and the faculty; she is also a respected mentor and exceptionally caring friend to her peers. She maintains an excellent attendance record and continues to push herself beyond what is expected of her academically.
  • Tiffany is interested in becoming a nurse. She says it’s a “spiritual calling” and she is determined to prove to the world that “nurses are just as smart as doctors.”

 Philadelphia Futures – Philadelphia Futures prepares students from low-income families to enter and succeed in college by providing mentoring, academic enrichment, college guidance, and financial incentives.

 Student Recipient: Jamal Robinson, Abraham Lincoln HS

  • Jamal is enrolled in honors classes and maintains a 3.7 GPA, and participates in weekly classes through the Sponsor-a-Scholar program (SAS) at Philadelphia Futures.
  • Through his participation in Philadelphia Futures, Jamal has found an outlet to engage a cohort of like-minded college-bound peers, to reach out to students at Abraham Lincoln, and to explore ways he can contribute to the broader community at large.
  • He participated in the Sponsor-a-Scholar Sea Perch Robotics Club and the Haverford College Admissions Marathon, where Jamal was an asset to his teams and strived to be a positive force in these undertakings.
  • Jamal has expressed interest in studying criminal justice, and hopes to serve his community in law enforcement. He dreams of some day working with the FBI.

The judging panel included: the School District of Philadelphia Deputy Chief of Administration to the Superintendent Claudia Averette; Impacto Latin Newspaper Publisher Napoleon Garcia; Premier Financial Group, Inc. President Brian Grant; Philadelphia Multicultural Affairs Congress (MAC) Executive Director Tanya Hall; Kemp & Associates Retirement Services President Mark Kemp; Citizens Bank of Philadelphia Senior Vice President, Director of Public Affairs Henri Moore; Janney Montgomery Scott, LLC Senior Vice President, Head of Marketing & Corporate Communications Karen Shakoske; Philadelphia Museum of Art Senior Curator of Education Marla Shoemaker; and Janney Montgomery Scott, LLC Senior Vice President, Head of Annuity and Insurance Products Bob Steinke. For more information on the Sun Life Rising Star Awards, please visit

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. Product offerings may not be available in all states and may vary depending on state laws and regulations. As of June 30, 2011, the Sun Life Financial group of companies had total assets under management of US $492 billion. For more information, please visit  Sun Life Financial Inc. trades on the Toronto (TSX), New York (NYSE) and Philippine (PSE) stock exchanges under the ticker symbol SLF.