Press releases

August 13, 2018

Sun Life’s Team Up Against Diabetes grant program awards $250,000 to community organizations around the country

WELLESLEY, Mass. (August 13, 2018) — Sun Life Financial U.S. is proud to announce the five winners of the 2018 Team Up Against Diabetes grant program, which awards organizations for supporting diabetes prevention, management and education efforts in their local communities.

“We have been strongly committed to diabetes awareness for several years, and we are thrilled to continue this grant program to support organizations dedicated to fighting diabetes in their local communities,” said Dan Fishbein, M.D., president of Sun Life Financial U.S. “These are fantastic community organizations that can really make a difference in people’s lives, whether through support services for managing Type 1 diabetes or healthy living education for those at risk for or diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes.”

Recipients are recognized for their innovative approaches to diabetes prevention and/or management, wellness, nutrition and obesity prevention. Applications are reviewed annually by a panel of Sun Life employees, business partners and independent health experts.

2018 Team Up Against Diabetes grant program winners:

Boston Children’s Hospital, Mobile Kitchen at The Dimock Center & East Boston Neighborhood Health Center, Boston
Boston Children's Hospital (BCH), in collaboration with The Dimock Center and East Boston Neighborhood Health Center (EBNHC), is launching a mobile kitchen initiative, which will increase access to nutrition education and healthy cooking opportunities in an effort to reduce the risk of diet-related disease. Dimock and EBNHC, which are community partners in BCH's Fitness in the City Program, will use the mobile kitchens for cooking demonstrations, nutrition education, Head Start programs and agriculture pick-ups, among other activities. With this grant, Boston Children's, Dimock and EBNHC intend to equip health center patients in disadvantaged communities with the resources necessary to address the intersecting issues of food insecurity, obesity and diabetes.

Camp Surefire Foundation, Camp Surefire, Bristol, R.I.
Camp Surefire offers a weeklong, overnight summer camp to children and youth with Type 1 diabetes. Camp Surefire features recreation, diabetes education seminars, and socializing with peers and others who understand the unique challenges of living with Type 1 diabetes. The program serves 85 campers annually aged 6-17 from diverse socioeconomic backgrounds. The grant will assist in providing financial support to children in need.

Dogs4Diabetics, D4D Client Training & Educational Program, Concord, Calif.
Dogs4Diabetics (D4D) mission is to train, support, and partner insulin-dependent clients with life-saving Medical-Alert Service Dogs and Diabetes Buddy Dogs to reduce the risks associated with diabetes. D4D also works to promote, develop, and advocate for standards of quality performance and support of all medical service dog teams. They join the diabetic community in hoping for a cure of the disease, but our sole purpose is to support diabetics by providing service dogs that improve their quality of life today.

Grant funding will support the Client Training and Educational Program for 24 insulin-dependent children and adults during the 2018-2019 fiscal year. Once clients successfully complete training, they are then placed with their life-saving Medical-Alert Service Dog to help them better manage their diabetes. The program typically takes clients three months to complete and is taught by a team of 3-5 instructors in addition to diabetes educators, physicians, nutritionists and wellness coaches.

Grow Ohio Valley, Sprout and Farmacy, Wheeling, W.V.
Grow Ohio Valley (GOV) is a local food hub that will apply grant funding to its Sprout and Farmacy programs. Through the Farmacy, doctors write prescriptions for vegetables to patients with diet-related illnesses such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and Type 2 diabetes. Participants collect local produce each week at the GOV farm stand, and participate in cooking demos, recipe exchanges, nutrition education and health screenings. The Sprout program delivers interactive educational programming to local youth, centered around agricultural and nutritional literacy. Sprout provides an early intervention to make fresh vegetables more accessible and appealing to young people, building a culture of health. Together, these programs will reach more than 3,400 children and 100 adults.

Go! Austin/Vamos! Austin, Austin, Texas
Go Austin/Vamos Austin (GAVA) will use their grant to support community organizing to build resident leadership and institutional alignment in five sectors -- Physical Activity, Healthy Food Access, Coordinated School Health, Early Childhood and Community Safety. GAVA's ultimate goal is to prevent obesity and diabetes, improve the health of the local community and build community power for health equity. GAVA's organizers identify potential leaders, provide training opportunities, and support active teams as they advance hundreds of evidence-based health strategies. Organizers support each GAVA team in creating an action plan, drawing on a compendium of evidence-based strategies compiled by researchers and content experts in the community. Resident leaders on the GAVA teams determine the specific actions they will take to improve health access in their neighborhoods, such as improved playgrounds or lighting at a local park; completed sidewalks; after-school menu revisions; refrigeration or play equipment in a childcare center; or a healthy corner store.

The 2018 Team Up Against Diabetes grant program judging panel:

  • Lisa Bonaiuto, Director, Business Excellence, Sun Life Financial
  • Sharon Brognia, Area Vice President, Benefits & Wellbeing, Gallagher Benefit Services
  • Sheila Harmon, MSN, APN, Certified Diabetes Educator
  • Carol Harnett, President, Council for Disability Awareness
  • Jennifer Hudson, Head of PR, ComPsych Corporation
  • Peter Kilmartin, Jr., Partner, Mercer Health & Benefits
  • Glenna Lasater, Vice President of Human Resources, The MGIS Companies, Inc.
  • Mark Vergilii, AVP, Group Market Manager, Sun Life Financial
  • Larry Young, Associate Director, Internal Sales, Sun Life Financial

Sun Life has given over $17 million to the diabetes cause globally. In the U.S. Sun Life partners with the Boston Celtics for the #SunLifeDunk4Diabetes campaign, and with the Kansas City Royals for the #SunLifeStrikeoutDiabetes campaign. For more about Sun Life’s commitment to diabetes, visit

The application process for the 2019 Team Up Against Diabetes grant program will open January 1. Please visit for more information.

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 March 31, 2018, Sun Life Financial had total assets under management of C$979 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 insurance products and services in the U.S. includes disability, absence management, life, dental, vision, voluntary and stop-loss. For more information, please visit

About the Sun Life Team Up Against Diabetes grant program

The Sun Life Team Up Against Diabetes grant program provides support to charitable organizations focusing on diabetes prevention and management, as well as wellness, nutrition, and obesity prevention. Since the start of the program in 2016, Sun Life has awarded over $650,000 in funding to organizations across the country. For more information, visit

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