The U.S. business group of Sun Life Financial Inc. (NYSE: SLF, TSX: SLF) today announced Philadelphia’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 Steppingstone Scholars and Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship (NFTE) Philadelphia as well as exemplary students nominated by each nonprofit: Samuel Fels High School’s Saaiba Newton, and The Episcopal Academy’s Anthony Thai. Philadelphia 76ers star Lavoy Allen helped Sun Life Regional Sales Manager Bob Pyskadlo and Sun Life Voluntary Practice Leader Dave Sherman surprise the winning students with their scholarships at a special presentation at Philadelphia City Hall.
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.
Pyskadlo and Sherman joined Allen, Exude Benefits President and CEO Marcos Lopez, who served on this year’s Rising Star judging panel, and prominent local business and community members to present the winning students with $5,000 scholarships. The winners, their families and friends were treated to an exclusive Q&A session with Allen before he challenged the two scholarship winners to a basketball shooting competition inside City Hall.