Sun Life donates $100,000 to support underrepresented researchers

TORONTO, ON – (Feb. 24, 2021) – Sun Life is donating $100,000 to The Emily Stowe Society at Women’s College Hospital Foundation to empower and support underrepresented communities. The donation will establish The Sun Life Awards for Excellence in Research. Preference will be given to researchers or scholars who identify as female or gender-diverse, are from the Black community and who specialize in diabetes or mental health research in the Black community.

This donation aligns with Sun Life’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DE&I) commitment to address health inequities in communities historically underrepresented from a funding and research perspective, and who see a greater risk of diabetes and mental health challenges.

“We continue to build on our DE&I commitments, ensuring everyone has equal access to opportunities and resources,” said Jacques Goulet, President, Sun Life Canada. “Our purpose is to help Canadians live healthier lives, and we are actively working to remove systemic barriers that negatively affect the lives of Black, Indigenous and other underrepresented populations. Diabetes is Sun Life’s global philanthropic cause, while the mental health crisis has been a growing concern for us in Canada. Establishing these awards will help future generations of researchers uncover new preventions, treatments and cures.”

The Emily Stowe Society is named in honour of Dr. Emily Stowe, Canada’s first woman doctor and the founder of Women’s College Hospital. It is dedicated to breaking down barriers to careers in health sciences research. The Sun Life Awards for Excellence in Research will help increase the number of women and underrepresented scholars in health, research and leadership positions.

“It’s with tremendous gratitude that we celebrate Sun Life’s commitment to Women’s College Hospital and the Emily Stowe Society,” says Jennifer Bernard, President and CEO, Women’s College Hospital Foundation. ”In Canada today, women – and particularly women from diverse communities – continue to be underrepresented at all levels of the health sciences field. Without equity in the health research community, we simply cannot achieve equity in healthcare. The Sun Life Awards for Excellence in Research will help advance this mission for equity while attracting, advancing and retaining exceptional and deserving researchers at every stage of their career.”

As a global industry leader committed to sustainability, Sun Life has a responsibility to help create lasting social change. Sun Life is taking actionable steps to remove systemic barriers for Clients, advisors, communities and employees.

Clients and the Community

Sun Life is focused on creating an inclusive environment that reflects the diversity of our Clients and communities.

  • Signed on to the goals of the BlackNorth Initiative, led by the Canadian Council of Business Leaders Against Anti-Black Racism, to help remove systemic barriers that negatively affect Black Canadians.
  • Donated $60,000 to the Canadian Race Relations Foundation to support their effort in addressing discrimination, and an additional $40,000 to various charities supporting DE&I initiatives in Canada in 2020.
  • Signed the #DearEverybody agreement, a commitment to ensure our marketing is inclusive of people with disabilities and reflects everyone in our communities.


Sun Life continues to build a culture where employees see themselves reflected at all levels of the company, and feel included and engaged:

  • Created numerous inclusion networks for colleagues to come together, share experiences and drive social change across the organization. The networks helped allocate donation funds to various Canadian charities.
  • Launched Inclusion Works, a peer-to-peer learning program, designed to train employees on unconscious bias, commit to conscious actions and enable acts of inclusion into their daily behaviours.
  • Reaffirmed our goal to have 25 per cent of underrepresented minorities at the vice-president level and above by 2025, with specific representation objectives for Black, Indigenous and People of Colour. Further, set a new goal to achieve gender parity at the vice-president level and above by 2025.

As outlined in Sun Life’s 2019 Sustainability Report, our efforts in DE&I are directly aligned with our purpose, business strategy and ultimate success as a company.

Sun Life in the community

At Sun Life, we are committed to building sustainable, healthier communities for life. Community wellness is an important part of our sustainability commitment and we believe that by actively supporting the communities in which we live and work, we can help build a positive environment for our Clients, employees, advisors and shareholders. Our philanthropic support focuses on health, with an emphasis on diabetes awareness, prevention, and care initiatives through our Team Up Against Diabetes™ platform; and mental health, supporting programs and organizations with a focus on building resilience and coping skills.

We also partner with sports properties in key markets to further our commitment to healthy and active living. Our employees and advisors take great pride in volunteering close to 12,000 hours each year and contribute to making life brighter for individuals and families across Canada.

Learn more about Sun Life in the community.

About Sun Life

Sun Life is a leading international financial services organization providing insurance, wealth and asset management solutions to individual and corporate Clients. Sun Life has operations in a number of markets worldwide, including Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom, Ireland, Hong Kong, the Philippines, Japan, Indonesia, India, China, Australia, Singapore, Vietnam, Malaysia and Bermuda. As of December 31, 2020, Sun Life had total assets under management of $1,247 billion. 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.

About Women’s College Hospital

Women’s College Hospital is Canada’s leader in advancing health for women and a global leader in conducting groundbreaking women’s health research. As the first and only fully independent hospital focused on women, Women’s is building on its 100+ year history as a trailblazer in identifying and addressing health gaps and delivering pioneering firsts for women, the vulnerable and the underserved.

Women’s is also the only fully ambulatory, academic healthcare institution in Canada, with a provincial mandate to lead the way in improving the health system for all people. Women’s achieves this by addressing the most pressing health system challenges facing Canadians today and proactively confronting the gender and social inequities that threaten people’s health.

Women’s College Hospital Foundation fuels the hospital’s excellence in research and health care by connecting donors, partners, advocates and volunteers to its mission. We work to bring healthcare equity to the diverse communities in which we live and serve and, together, we are creating a healthier and more equitable world for women and for all.

Note to editors: All figures in Canadian dollars

Media Relations Contact:                                                                     

Meredith Mundick                                                                  

Manager, Corporate Communications                 

T. 416-979-4048                                                                  


Lauren LaRose

Director, Integrated Communications & Brand

Women’s College Hospital Foundation