The U.S. business group of Sun Life Financial Inc. (NYSE: SLF, TSX: SLF) today announced Chicago’s Sun Life Rising Star Awards program winners, awarding a total of $110,000 in grants and scholarships to two local youth-oriented community organizations including Children's Home + Aid and Christopher House as well as exemplary students nominated by each nonprofit: Ebony I., Charles Houston High School, and Yaneza A., Northside College Prep High School. Chicago Cubs Baseball Operations President Theo Epstein helped Sun Life Financial Group Manager Mike Whalen and Sun Life Voluntary Benefits Practice Leader Stephen Barreca surprise the winning students with their scholarships at a special VIP presentation at Chicago’s historic Wrigley Field.
The Sun Life Rising Star Awards program recognizes nonprofits that redress low high school graduation rates and 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.
Whalen and Barreca joined Epstein and his wife, Rising Star panel judge Marie Whitney, who served on this year’s Rising Star judging panel, Cubs executives, and prominent local community members to present the winning students with $5,000 scholarships. The group received a VIP tour of the celebrated ballpark and enjoyed an exclusive Q&A session with Epstein before watching the Cubs take on the Houston Astros.