The U.S. business group of Sun Life Financial Inc. (NYSE: SLF, TSX: SLF) and the Miami Dolphins today announced South Florida’s Sun Life Rising Star Awards program winners, awarding a total of $220,000 in grants and scholarships to four local youth-oriented community organizations including American Association of Caregiving Youth, The Guadalupe Center, HANDY and The Women of Tomorrow Mentor & Scholarship Program as well as exemplary students nominated by each nonprofit: Sephora Dubreuze, Boca Raton Community High School; Candace Perez, Immokalee High School; Kimi Farrington, Pompano Beach High School; and Ashira Vantrees, Cooper City High School. The Sun Life Rising Star Awards program is the educational cornerstone program of the Miami Dolphins Foundation.
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 and 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.
Sun Life Voluntary Practice Leader Kim Heald joined Miami Dolphins star players Davone Bess and Mike Pouncey, Dolphins cheerleaders and front office executives including CEO Mike Dee, as well as prominent local community members including Corporate Benefit Advisors, LLC CEO Heather Leck to surprise winning students with $5,000 scholarships at separate award presentations across South Florida. Bess, Pouncey and Leck also served on this year’s judging panel. Bess has played a significant role in the program since its inception, addressing students at the inaugural Sun Life Rising Star National Summit at Sun Life Stadium, serving as a mentor to Rising Star student La Gary Roberson and helping select the program scholarship recipients in each of the last three years. This year’s Sun Life Rising Star Awards winning organizations and students will be recognized at a special pre-game on-field ceremony and celebration at the Miami Dolphins vs. Jacksonville Jaguars game at Sun Life Stadium on December 16.