November 14, 2012

Phoenix Suns and Sun Life Financial Present $110,000 in Grants and Scholarships to Phoenix Nonprofits and Rising Star Students at Suns’ Pre-game Ceremony

Boys & Girls Clubs of the East Valley and New Pathways for Youth (formerly Phoenix Youth at Risk) honored for commitment to education at US Airways Center before Suns vs. Bulls game

Wellesley, Mass. (November 14, 2012) – The U.S. business group of Sun Life Financial Inc. (NYSE: SLF, TSX: SLF) today announced Phoenix’s Sun Life Rising Star Award recipients, providing $110,000 in grants and scholarships to two community organizations, Boys & Girls Clubs of the East Valley and New Pathways for Youth (formerly Phoenix Youth at Risk) as well as an exemplary student nominated by each: Gilbert High School’s Nick Groth, and Metro Tech High School’s Diana Gutierrez.

Phoenix Suns front-office executives helped Sun Life Group Sales Manager Mindy Schulz surprise the students with their scholarships at a special presentation prior to the Suns vs. Bulls game at US Airways Center. The winners were also treated to an on-court photo and were recognized at halftime for their achievements.

The Sun Life Rising Star Awards program recognizes nonprofits that redress low high school graduation rates and honors outstanding students who have overcome significant obstacles to succeed. The program also promotes financial literacy as a means to achieve life-long financial wellness and stability. Each winning organization receives a $50,000 grant and selects an exemplary student they work with to receive a $5,000 college scholarship. Since the program’s inception, Sun Life has granted nearly $3 million to 54 students and 47 nonprofit organizations across the country. This year, Sun Life expanded the program to seven cities from five in 2011, and will award grants and scholarships to students and nonprofits in Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Houston, Philadelphia, Phoenix and South Florida.

“We are making an investment in our youth, our education system and the workforce of tomorrow through our Sun Life Rising Star Awards program,” said Sun Life Financial U.S. President Wes Thompson. “It’s a privilege to reward these incredible students who have persevered in the face of adversity and stayed committed to furthering their education. We believe they need only opportunity and support to realize their full potential.”

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. Sun Life and dfree® will provide the students and nonprofits with Breaking Free Workbooks, which includes interactive activities and tools to encourage debt-free living.

A four-person judging panel comprised of Phoenix’s foremost government officials, community and business leaders selected the Sun Life Rising Star Awards winners 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

2012 Phoenix Sun Life Rising Stars:

Boys & Girls Clubs of the East Valley Boys & Girls Clubs of the East Valley is a community-based character building youth development organization. They deliver the highest quality programs and provide opportunities to assist youth and teens in developing their self-esteem, values and skills in a fun and safe environment. Boys & Girls Clubs of the East Valley professionals guide members through personal, educational, and social development, to realize their full potential and become positive, value-oriented and productive citizens. Please visit for more information.

Student Recipient: Nick Groth, Gilbert High School

Nick works for Boys and Girls Club of the East Valley where he served as a Leader in Training (LIT) for 3 summers and was named Youth of the Year for the Club in 2012. He also served as the president of the Gilbert Branch’s Keystone Club in the 2011-2012 academic year. Nick is a member of the Gilbert High School varsity football and varsity wrestling teams, holds a 3.6 GPA in school and hopes to attend college to become an orthopedic surgeon.

New Pathways for Youth (formerly Phoenix Youth at Risk) – New Pathways for Youth, formerly known as Phoenix Youth at Risk, makes new futures possible for area children and youth through mentoring and value-driven programs. They strive to ensure that all youth achieve their full potential. Through the structured mentoring programs, New Pathways for Youth helps at-risk and homeless children and teens learn to dream again, and make those dreams a reality.

Student Recipient: Diana Gutierrez, Metro Tech High School

Diana is a math tutor at Metro Tech High School and volunteers at Mitchell Elementary School (her alma mater) and Golden Gate Community Center. Diana ranks third in her class of 612 with a 3.842 unweighted/4.526 weighted GPA and has been accepted to the National Honor Society. She is bilingual in English and Spanish and intermediate in American Sign Language, is a member of Arizona Quest for Kids, Be A Leader Program, the American Sign Language Club, Future Business Leaders of America, and the Science Club.

The judging panel included: CBIZ Benefits & Insurance Services, Inc. Vice President Mike Barberio; Willis Senior Vice President Joanne Mizell; City of Phoenix, Office of the Mayor Senior Policy Advisor Dr. Trino Sandoval; and Vernon L. Slaughter, PC Principal/Entertainment Attorney Vernon Slaughter, Esq. 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. 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 Sun Life Financial Inc. trades on the Toronto (TSX), New York (NYSE) and Philippine (PSE) stock exchanges under the ticker symbol SLF.

Media contact:
Keith Gainsboro

SLPC 24597 11/12 (Exp. 11/17)