November 05, 2012

Prominent Atlanta Community, Education and Business Leaders Serve as Sun Life Rising Star Awards Program Judges

Distinguished panel of experts to help award $110,000 in grants and scholarships tooutstanding students & nonprofit organizations in greater Atlanta

Wellesley, Mass. (November 5, 2012) – The U.S. business group of Sun Life Financial Inc. (NYSE:SLF, TSX:SLF) today announced that six prominent Atlanta community, education and business leaders, including CNN Senior Marketing Manager Keisha Taylor, will serve as judges for the Sun Life Rising Star Awards program, the financial services company's signature national philanthropic initiative.

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. The judges will help Sun Life award $110,000 in grants and scholarships to exemplary Atlanta students and nonprofit organizations committed to enhancing educational opportunities for under-served youth. 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.

The distinguished panel is comprised of some of Atlanta’s foremost community, education and business leaders. Judges include:

  • Linda Burns, Founder, President and CEO, The EDMAT Company
  • Stephen Fallon, President, Fallon Benefits Group
  • Dennis O’Brien, Psychiatrist, Integrated Life Center
  • Michael Sterling, Senior Advisor to the Mayor, City of Atlanta
  • Keisha Taylor, Senior Marketing Manager, CNN
  • Nieta Wigginton, Executive Director, Round of Applause

“We are thrilled to have some of Atlanta’s foremost community and business leaders help us select this year’s Sun Life Rising Star organizations from the pool of outstanding applications we’ve received,” said Sun Life Financial U.S. President Wes Thompson. “Their keen understanding of the local education landscape provides us an invaluable resource to promote financial literacy by helping incredibly talented students, and the organizations that help them, embark on a path to a sound financial future.”

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.

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

In addition to monetary support, the Sun Life Rising Star Awards program provides 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.

Sun Life will surprise winning students with their $5,000 scholarships at a special presentation held in advance of TOTEM™ from Cirque du Soleil® on November 17, where the students and their families will enjoy an exclusive experience with VIP ROUGE™*. The winners will also participate in performance workshops led by performers from TOTEM before taking in the show.

*VIP Rouge™ is presented by Infiniti®


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, elevate, 857-234-1481,


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