Press releases

December 11, 2018

Celtics and fans raise more than $100k for #SunLifeDunk4Diabetes campaign with record-breaking 64 dunks and over 10,000 hashtags

SLPC 29383 12/2018 (Exp 12/2020)

BOSTON and WELLESLEY, MA – (December 11, 2018) For Diabetes Awareness Month in November, Celtics players achieved a #SunLifeDunk4Diabetes campaign record 64 dunks, each generating a $1,000 donation from Sun Life to support the Greater Boston YMCA’s Diabetes Prevention Program. Donations for dunks were doubled on World Diabetes Day, November 14, when the Celtics played the Toronto Raptors, recognizing Sun Life’s support for both teams from its U.S. and corporate headquarters in Wellesley, Mass., and Toronto. Although the talented players blew past the 40 dunk goal set for the campaign, Sun Life donated for all 64 dunks. Fans also rose to the challenge on social media, far surpassing the 10,000 hashtag goal with each generating $1 for the campaign. Along with a $25,000 match from the Celtics organization, #SunLifeDunk4Diabetes raised a grand total of $102,000.

In the November 23 game versus Atlanta, the Celtics scored a single game high of 9 dunks, and Al Horford and Jayson Tatum lead with 14 dunks each throughout the month of November.

“We have been fortunate enough to partner with these two community pillars on a number of programs, all with a focus on diabetes awareness, support and prevention, and encouraging healthy living,” said Neil Haynes, CFO of Sun Life Financial U.S. and board member of the YMCA of Greater Boston. “Research shows these programs can help people lower their risk for diabetes by 57 percent, and we want to help more people have access. The Celtics and fans really delivered this November, and we’re thrilled with the results for the Greater Boston YMCA.”

The YMCA of Greater Boston Diabetes Prevention Program is a year-long educational course for at-risk adults, based on curriculum developed by the CDC. People learn how to take charge of their health with emphasis on nutrition, fitness, and general healthy lifestyle habits.

“We strive to offer much needed support to our local communities, and with the help of the #SunLifeDunk4Diabetes campaign we’ve been able to keep our Diabetes Prevention Program going strong,” said James Morton, CEO of the YMCA of Greater Boston. “These partnerships play an integral role in our many community programs, teaching both adults and children about health and wellness.”

From L: Erica Reaves, student, Harvard School of Public Health; Joseph Rich, student, Harvard Medical School; Ted Dalton, SVP Corporate Partnerships, Boston Celtics; James Morton, CEO, Greater Boston Y; Neil Haynes, SVP & CFO, Sun Life Financial; George Penner, Larry Harris, YMCA of Greater Boston Diabetes Prevention Program participants.

Through a tough stretch of opponents and away games in November, loyal Celtics fans kept the campaign momentum going with engagement on social media, and sharing stories of how diabetes has impacted their lives.

“We have such incredible fans who not only cheer on our players, but engage so enthusiastically in our community programs,” said Ted Dalton, senior vice president of Corporate Partnerships for the Boston Celtics. “Sun Life has been a great partner in moving these programs forward and finding ways for the fans to be involved and make a difference.”

#SunLifeDunk4Diabetes has now raised $392,000 since it started in 2014. The campaign is part of Sun Life’s support of the YMCA’s Diabetes Prevention Program nationally, which Sun Life helped launch in Boston, Hartford, Conn. and Kansas City, Mo., in 2014. Since the program’s launch, more than 61,000 people have participated at over 1,100 Ys across the country. Sun Life is also working with YUSA to bring the Diabetes Prevention Program to employers and their workforces.

Sun Life is strongly committed to the fight against diabetes. In addition to community support in partnership with the Celtics, Sun Life conducts a similar program with the Kansas City Royals, and maintains a partnership with the American Diabetes Association to support education and engagement initiatives. Sun Life also offers the Team Up Against Diabetes Grant Program, which funds grassroots organizations focused on diabetes education, management and support. To date, Sun Life has donated more than $17 million globally to the diabetes cause, and $1.8 million to programs focused on diabetes prevention in the U.S.

To learn more about #SunLifeDunk4Diabetes, visit or  

About the Boston Celtics

A charter member of the Basketball Association of America (which evolved into the National Basketball Association) since 1946, the Boston Celtics have won a record 17 NBA Championships, including eight (8) in a row from 1959-1966, winning their first title in 1957 and their most recent in 2008. The Celtics have long stood for equality and respect, including hiring the first African American Coach and starting the first all black starting five. In addition, 35 former Celtics players, management or staff have been inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. In December 2002 the team returned to local ownership for the first time since 1963. For more information, log on to

About Sun Life Financial

Sun Life Financial is a leading international financial services organization, providing a diverse range of insurance, wealth and asset management solutions to individuals and corporate Clients. Sun Life Financial has operations in a number of markets worldwide, including Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom, Ireland, Hong Kong, the Philippines, Japan, Indonesia, India, China, Australia, Singapore, Vietnam, Malaysia and Bermuda. As of September 30, 2018, Sun Life Financial had total assets under management of C$984 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.

In the United States, Sun Life Financial is one of the largest group benefits providers, serving more than 60,000 employers in small, medium and large workplaces across the country. Sun Life’s broad portfolio of products and services in the U.S. includes disability, absence management, life, dental and vision, voluntary and stop-loss insurance. For more information, please visit

About the YMCA of Greater Boston:

The YMCA of Greater Boston is one of Massachusetts leading nonprofits committed to strengthening communities by improving health, empowering youth and activating people for good. Every day the Y works with thousands of men, women, and children to ensure that everyone, regardless of age, income or background, has access to Y programs and services.   As the nation’s fifth largest charity, the Y is creating a community of caring people through meaningful memberships. For more than 165 years, the Y has been developing skills and emotional well-being through education and training, welcoming and connecting diverse populations, preventing chronic disease and building healthier communities. The YMCA of Greater Boston is America’s first Y.

Media contacts:

Devon Portney Fernald
Sun Life Financial

Heather Walker
Boston Celtics

Irene Collins
YMCA of Greater Boston