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ING Awards Over $240,000 to Innovative Educators Across the United States

September 12, 2008

ATLANTA, Sept. 12 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ — Every day, teachers are asked to engage our children in science, math and language arts to cultivate their intellectual readiness to become future presidents, small-town doctors and global business leaders. Previous generations of educators have answered the call by way of traditional instruction. However, today’s teachers must be able to demonstrate the real-life practicality and relevance of core curriculum subjects to a generation of new-media and electronic-gadget enthusiasts.

While reading from textbooks, working math problems on the chalkboard and listening to lectures still resonates with most students, innovative ideas that tap into technology and provide further hands-on learning are proving to be much more effective. All across America, teachers are coming up with ingenious ways to engage students, contend for their attention and prepare them for higher learning and to assume future leadership roles.

With enough funding, teachers committed to meeting today’s challenge of engaging and educating Internet-savvy, “connected” students can turn their ideas into reality. ING, a global financial services company, has taken notice of the innovative ideas of these “unsung heroes” for more than a decade and is committed to recognizing and rewarding educators for their ingenuity.

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 more than $3 million to nearly 1,300 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, Robert Ostmann, a teacher at Laurel High School in Los Alamitos, Calif., has been selected to receive the top prize in the 2008 ING Unsung Heroes awards program. As the winner, Ostmann will receive an additional $25,000 for his “LifeWorks Studio” program.

Over the years, Robert Ostmann has worked relentlessly to keep Laurel High School students in school. His latest creative business ideas just might have what it takes to keep at-risk students in class, as well as prepare them for productive adult lives. His “LifeWorks Studio” program consists of two components: 1) a student-operated small business that contracts with parent groups at other district schools to videotape plays, concerts and other events to produce professional-quality DVDs for the schools to sell as fundraisers and 2) a public-service partnership between students and a regional hospice organization to film and produce “LifeStory” video memoirs of men and women nearing the end of their lives. LifeWorks Studios moves learning outside the conventional classroom model.

Running a community-based business gives students a chance to move beyond their limited world of school and friends to connect with the larger community. Interacting across generations and immersing themselves in the life stories of others will give students a unique perspective on the possibilities and challenges that life can throw their way. Over the school year, about 40 students will directly benefit by working in both the small business and the public service components of LifeWorks Studio. The project reinforces the Laurel High staff’s commitment to keep their students in school and equip them to become productive citizens and lifelong learners in a technology-driven world. Ostmann resides in Los Alamitos.

“We are very proud of Bob for his excellent work with our students and his commitment to discovering innovative ideas to engage and prepare them for a bright future,” said Gregory Franklin, superintendent, Los Alamitos Unified School District. “We appreciate companies like ING that are taking interest in education and offering resources to educators who are working hard every day to ensure students receive the best education available to them.”

“ING is proud to recognize teachers across America like Robert Ostmann who are dedicated to motivating and inspiring school children to excel,” said Dan Hanlon, senior vice president, Public Market Sales, ING U.S. Wealth Management. “Our company is committed to education, and funding programs that are making it easier for our youth to learn is an investment with a huge return — preparing our youth for success in the future.”

To learn about this year’s winning projects, as well as those from previous years, visit the ING Unsung Heroes Web site at http://www.ing.com/us/unsungheroes. Applications for the 2009 ING Unsung Heroes awards are available on the Web site, or by calling 800.537.4180 or emailing ing@scholarshipamerica.org.

About ING

ING is a global financial institution of Dutch origin offering banking, investments, life insurance and retirement services to over 85 million private, corporate and institutional clients in more than 50 countries. With a diverse workforce of over 130,000 people, ING comprises a broad spectrum of prominent companies that increasingly serve their clients under the ING brand.

ING is a leader in providing 403(b) plans to Kindergarten through 12th grade educators and other employees of nonprofit organizations in America. In the U.S., 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 17 million customers across the nation.

ING’s diversity management philosophy and commitment to workforce diversity, diversity marketing, corporate citizenship and supplier diversity fosters an inclusive environment for employees that supports a distinctive product and service experience for the financial services consumer.

For more information, visit http://www.ing.com/.

ING

CONTACT: Audria Belton Benn, ING, office: +1-770-980-5715, cell:+1-404-934-8743, audria.benn@us.ing.com

Web site: http://www.ing.com/ushttp://www.ing.com/us/unsungheroes




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