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Maryland youth recognized in first-ever Prudential Emerging Visionaries program

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New program honors Rockville and Columbia students each with a $5,000 award and invitation to the 2022 summit for their work addressing the challenges of a changing world.

NEWARK, N.J., Feb. 15, 2022 /PRNewswire/ -- Faaris Zuberi, 17, of Rockville, and Arthur Wang, 17, of Columbia, today were each named a 2022 Prudential Emerging Visionary for bringing powerful vision and meaningful change to their communities.

Emerging Visionaries logo (PRNewsfoto/Prudential Financial, Inc.)
Emerging Visionaries logo (PRNewsfoto/Prudential Financial, Inc.)

As two of the 25 young people from across the country selected in this year's inaugural class, Faaris and Arthur will each receive $5,000 in funding as well as an invitation to participate in an awards summit from April 23-26, 2022. The summit will include a lively agenda packed with skills development workshops, coaching sessions, networking opportunities and special recognition events. Select winners will also have an opportunity to participate in a pitch-off where a grand prize winner will receive an additional $10,000 in funding. What's more, Prudential employees will vote to name an Employees' Choice Award winner, who will receive an additional $5,000.

Prudential Emerging Visionaries recognizes young people ages 14-18 whose fresh perspectives and innovative solutions address the pressing financial and societal challenges in their communities. It is a collaboration between Prudential Financial and Ashoka, a leading social impact organization, with advisory support from the Financial Health Network, an authority on financial health and longtime partner of The Prudential Foundation. The program is an evolution of the Prudential Spirit of Community Awards, the country's largest youth recognition program, which for 26 years honored more than 150,000 outstanding youth volunteers.

"Emerging Visionaries is another way Prudential is demonstrating its commitment to our purpose: to make lives better by solving the financial challenges of our changing world," said Chairman and CEO Charles Lowrey. "The students we're honoring have a sense of possibility that drives them to look beyond themselves. Their vision and dedication are key to creating fully inclusive communities, and we are humbled and inspired by their work."

That work includes addressing needs created by the COVID-19 pandemic, combating economic inequality, advocating for inclusion and closing the digital divide. This inaugural group of young leaders was selected based on four main criteria: their solution is innovative; it can create meaningful impact in the future and can scale to a wider community; it demonstrates a deep understanding of the issue; and it inspires the visionary to lead or take action and motivates others to do the same.

Here are Maryland's Prudential Emerging Visionaries for 2022:

Financial Challenge category winner:
Faaris Zuberi, 17, of Rockville, Maryland, is a leader of "Financial Literacy Introduction Program," which offers financial literacy to student members of the Youth Economic Initiative — the largest coalition of economics clubs worldwide — to help young people prepare for the real world. Faaris was surprised to learn that many adults lack financial skills, and in response, he co-designed the initiative's peer-to-peer program to distribute financial literacy content to youth on a national scale.

The initiative works with students in grades seven to 12 and covers important topics like budgeting, loans, credit, taxes, investing and retirement. The program has hosted over 30 training sessions and distributed its curriculum to more than 70 clubs.

Societal Challenge category winner:
Arthur Wang, 17, of Columbia, Maryland, started the "COVID Teacher Care Kits Initiative," to deliver free, handmade mask kits to teachers and staff. The kits include 20 colorful, course-themed mask designs and accessories, offering practical and moral support to teachers. "I observed how much effort and time my teachers put into keeping the virtual, hybrid and in-person classrooms full of positivity and engagement," Arthur said. "I wanted to do something for them."

So far, the project has delivered more than 1,300 kits to 62 schools across Maryland, and 42 students from 12 schools are taking part in the project. One teacher wrote to the group saying, "Thank you so much for making the masks and providing them to the ELMS teachers. This has been a rough year, but these moments bring clarity and love and remind me why I am a teacher."

To read the names and stories of all of this year's Prudential Emerging Visionaries, visit prudential.com/emergingvisionaries.

About Prudential Financial
Prudential Financial, Inc. (NYSE: PRU), a financial wellness leader and premier active global investment manager, has operations in the United States, Asia, Europe and Latin America. Prudential's diverse and talented employees help to make lives better by creating financial opportunity for more people. Prudential's iconic Rock symbol has stood for strength, stability, expertise and innovation for more than a century. For more information, please visit news.prudential.com.

About Ashoka
Ashoka is the largest global network of leading social entrepreneurs — individuals with new ideas to systemically address the world's biggest challenges and the entrepreneurial skill to transform those ideas into national, regional and global social impact. Over 40 years, Ashoka has supported more than 3,600 social entrepreneurs in 90 countries with solutions addressing society's most pressing issues. Ashoka's vision is a world in which Everyone Is a Changemaker — a society that responds quickly and effectively to challenges, and where every individual has the freedom, confidence and societal support to address any social problem. For more information, visit ashoka.org.

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SOURCE Prudential Financial, Inc.