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February 02, 2006

The Guardian Life Insurance Company of America (Guardian) announced its national awards program for young Hispanic entrepreneurs entitled “Latino Entrepreneurial Award of Distinction” (LEAD). The program is designed to recognize the entrepreneurial and community efforts of Latino students ages 12 to 18 and marks the expansion of Guardian’s Hispanic initiative.

Guardian will award 15 youths a total of $30,000 to be used toward furthering their education and supporting their entrepreneurial pursuits. Three top scholarship prizes of $10,000, $5,000 and $3,000 and Twelve $1,000 finalist prizes will be granted.

In the interest of promoting greater community service and philanthropy, Guardian makes an additional $250 cash donation in the name of each winner to the individual charity of his or her choice.

Adults are asked to nominate Latino youth - their relative, neighbor or student from their community - by submitting a 750 to 1,000-word essay in English or in Spanish on why the nominee deserves a LEAD award. A panel of judges will review the essays and pick finalists that:

-- Demonstrate budding entrepreneurship and/or financial acumen
-- Have taken the first steps toward financial independence
-- Make a difference in their school or community
-- Show potential for future success by initiating a new business

The application deadline is May 31st. The winners will be announced during National Hispanic Heritage Month September 15 – October 15, 2006.

“Latino’s have a rich legacy of entrepreneurship and community involvement,” says Emily Viner, Field Vice President for Guardian. “The LEAD award was designed to celebrate this spirit, recognize the next generation of Latino leaders and educate Latino youth about the financial and entrepreneurial opportunities available. Guardian is committed to enriching the lives of the people we touch and this awards program will build on our ongoing endeavors in the Hispanic community.“

LEAD(SM) is modeled after Guardian’s highly successful Girls Going Places program which celebrates the entrepreneurial efforts of girls ages 12 to 18 across the United States.

“Guardian’s success in supporting young people through Girls Going Places has been phenomenal,” states Ms. Viner. “We are confident that LEAD(SM) will enjoy the same response and look forward to partnering with the Latino community to honor our most important resource––our youth.”

Complete rules on LEAD and entry forms are available at http://www.LEADawards.com

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