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August 02, 2012

Prominent Houston Community & Education Leaders to Serve as Sun Life Rising Star Awards Program Judges

Distinguished panel of experts help award $110,000 in grants and scholarships to outstanding students & nonprofit organizations in Greater Houston

Wellesley, Mass (August 2, 2012) –The U.S. business group of Sun Life Financial Inc. (NYSE:SLF, TSX:SLF) today announced that six prominent Houston community and education leaders will serve as judges for the Sun Life Rising Star Awards program, the financial services company’s signature national philanthropic initiative, now in its third year.

The judges will help Sun Life award $110,000 in grants and scholarships to Greater Houston youth and nonprofit organizations committed to increasing success in high school and beyond. This year, Sun Life Financial expanded the program to seven cities from five in 2011, and will award grants and scholarships to outstanding students and nonprofit organizations in Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Houston, Philadelphia, Phoenix and South Florida. Since 2010, Sun Life Financial has committed nearly $3 million to the program.

The distinguished panel is comprised of some of Houston’s foremost education, community and business leaders, government officials, philanthropists and other local activists including:

  • Audrey Hainey-Owens, Publishing Consultant
  • John Mann, Vice President & Practice Leader, Willis of Houston Employee Benefits Practice
  • Rob Schanen, Managing Director, Alliant
  • Kae Shakir, Principal, Chellae Consulting
  • Cameron Waldner, Chief Service Officer, City of Houston
  • Robert White, Houston Area President, Gallagher Benefit Services

“We are thrilled to have some of Houston’s foremost community and education leaders help us shape the Sun Life Rising Star Awards program,” said Sun Life Financial U.S. President Wes Thompson. “Their keen understanding of the local education landscape will be invaluable as we continue to create sustainable programming to promote financial literacy and help these incredibly talented and deserving students and organizations embark on a path to a sound financial future.”

The Sun Life Rising Star Awards program addresses low high school graduation rates in large urban school districts by providing financial resources and education to students and nonprofit organizations, as well as promoting financial literacy as a means to achieve life-long financial wellness and stability. Each winning organization will receive a $50,000 grant, while an exemplary student nominated by each organization will receive a $5,000 Sun Life Rising Star scholarship towards financing a college education.

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 Award 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 throughout the fall.

Judges will evaluate applications and student nominations 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

Judges will also participate in celebratory events and will help Sun Life surprise winning students with their $5,000 scholarships at area award presentations led by prominent local community members later this year.

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.

Media contacts
Tim Stone, Sun Life Financial, 781-446-2185, tim.stone@sunlife.com
Keith Gainsboro, elevate, 857-234-1481, kgainsboro@elevatecom.com

SLPC 24348 07/2012 (Exp. 07/2013)