ING Awards Nearly $250,000 to the Most Innovative Educators Across the United States

September 6, 2007 Atlanta, GA And Los Angeles, CA Share: Print Subscribe to Email Alerts

With competition for their students’ time and attention growing because of the intrigue of video games, the Internet, instant messaging and a myriad of other distractions – both real and virtual – a primary task of today’s teachers is to develop innovative programs and compelling lesson plans that will capture their students’ attention and stimulate their minds to spark their imagination.

That’s a tall order, and to get the job done, teachers often have to dip into their own pockets to help fund these projects. Generally, these efforts go unnoticed outside the classroom walls. However, ING, a global financial services company, has taken notice of these “unsung heroes” for more than a decade and is committed to recognizing and rewarding educators for their hard work.

The ING Unsung Heroes awards program recognizes kindergarten through 12th grade educators nationwide for their innovative teaching methods, creative educational projects and ability to positively influence the children they teach. Since honoring its first “unsung hero” in 1996, ING has awarded $2.8 million to nearly 1,200 educators across the United States.

ING today announced that after receiving more than 1,400 applications this year and choosing 100 initial $2,000 award winners, Jonathan Felix, a teacher at 68th Street Elementary School in Los Angeles, CA has been selected to receive the top prize in the 2007 ING Unsung Heroes awards program. As the winner, Felix will receive an additional $25,000 for his “Write On!” program.

“Write On!” is a project-based program developed by Felix that integrates writing, English, photography, technology and web design into the teaching curriculum for his third-grade students at 68th Street Elementary School. The students use technology to research, write, edit and create a library of books which are then made available as e-books online. They learn how to use a digital camera, download and edit photographs, create and print pages and publish and upload their books on the Internet. In the past, the students have done all of their work using only one computer. Now, with the funds from ING, they will have the proper technology and software to continue producing their e-books. The technology used in “Write On!” is designed to give the children leverage to express their creativity. According to Felix, the skills that the students learn during the process are invaluable. He hopes that each student will learn that they are bigger than their circumstances and that their ideas have the power to create wealth. Each book that the students produce is sold to their family and friends. With the ING award, not only will Felix’s students benefit, but the entire student body and many students will benefit for years to come. Felix resides in Los Angeles.

"I am thrilled and proud that Mr. Felix has been selected to be ING's Unsung Heroes First Place winner,” said Rosalinda Lugo, principal of 68th Street Elementary School. “It is important that corporations such as ING recognize the tremendous work teachers do in our schools. Mr. Felix and the other 68th Street School teachers are true unsung heroes as demonstrated by their endless time, dedication and responsibility of giving our children an excellent education."

“ING is proud to honor educators like Jonathan Felix as they strive to make a difference in the lives of America’s schoolchildren,” said Bill Jasien, Senior Vice President, Education & Retail Market Sales, ING U.S. Financial Services. “Our company is committed to education, and at the heart of it are teachers whose tireless efforts and dedication inspire, motivate, encourage and prepare our youth for success in the future. ING is honored to recognize these outstanding educators and to play a part in laying the foundation for the future of so many young people.”

To learn about this year’s winning projects, as well as those from previous years, visit the ING Unsung Heroes website at Applications for the 2008 ING Unsung Heroes awards are available on the website, or by calling (800) 537-4180 or emailing

Media inquiries

Jemia Kinsey, BLH Consulting, Inc. on behalf of ING U.S. Financial Services, 404-688-0415, ext. 703 or

Audria Benn, ING U.S. Financial Services, (770) 980-5715, or

If you are interested in a headshot photo of the winner, please call Jemia Kinsey at 404-688-0415 ext. 703.

About ING

ING is a global financial institution of Dutch origin offering banking, insurance and asset management to over 60 million private, corporate and institutional clients in over 50 countries. With a diverse workforce of about 120,000 people, ING comprises a broad spectrum of prominent companies that increasingly serve their clients under the ING brand.

In the U.S. (NYSE: ING), the ING family of companies offer a comprehensive array of financial services to retail and institutional clients, which includes life insurance, retirement plans, mutual funds, managed accounts, alternative investments, direct banking, institutional investment management, annuities, employee benefits, financial planning, and reinsurance. ING holds top-tier rankings in key U.S. markets and serves over 14 million customers across the nation. For more information, visit