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New Jersey youth honored as Prudential Emerging Visionaries


Englewood and Matawan students will receive $5,000 awards and invitations to the 2024 summit for their work addressing the challenges of a changing world.

NEWARK, N.J., Feb. 13, 2024 /PRNewswire/ -- Marie Dillard, 18, of Englewood, and Anika Dugal, 17, of Matawan, today were each named a 2024 Prudential Emerging Visionary for their inspiring commitment to improving the lives of others.

As two of 25 Prudential Emerging Visionary winners, Marie and Anika will each receive a $5,000 award to help take their innovation to the next level. They are also invited on an all-expenses-paid trip to Prudential's headquarters in Newark, New Jersey, where they will be coached by Prudential employees and have the chance to meet other young leaders.

Prudential Emerging Visionaries recognizes young people ages 14-18 whose fresh perspectives and innovative solutions address pressing financial and societal challenges in their communities. The program's goals align with Prudential's purpose: to make lives better by solving the financial challenges of our changing world.

"I am inspired by the students' sense of purpose and commitment to driving positive change in their communities," said Chairman and CEO Charles Lowrey. "We're honored to support these young leaders as they bring their extraordinary projects to life."

During the summit, to be held April 20-23, five winners will also have the opportunity to present their solutions in a pitch-off, where a grand prize winner will be awarded an additional $10,000 in funding. What's more, Prudential employees will again vote to name an Employees' Choice Award winner, who will receive an additional $5,000.

New Jersey's 2024 Prudential Emerging Visionaries:

Marie Dillard founded "The Crescendo Lab," a classical music mentoring program that works with youth of color to expand access to music education and create an inclusive future for classical musicians of color in American orchestras. During the program, mentees build their music skills, learn about setting goals, and explore music history so that they are exposed to musicians and composers who look like them.

After the COVID-19 pandemic, Marie noticed how few people of color played in her orchestra. Through conversations with her classmates, she found that many of her peers felt that "orchestras were not for them." Growing up with access to classical musical education made Marie passionate about encouraging young people of color to "be comfortable expressing themselves through music, be inspired to play, and be able to make space for themselves in classical music." Currently, "The Crescendo Lab" runs a five-week mentoring program and is working to build replicable models to expand to other states.

Anika Dugal founded "Girls for Algorithmic Justice," a global grassroots coalition of young women acting through political action and advocacy to address the gender and racial disparities in artificial intelligence technologies. Through coalition building, Anika's initiative works to address algorithm-based discrimination by advancing regulation for ethical use of AI on a national scale.

When Anika learned of the gender and racial disparities within AI algorithms, she decided to mobilize the young women in her community around addressing bias. "Through a dualism of raising awareness and empowering young people to take action, I hope to spark significant progress in the realm of promoting equitable AI," she says. Currently, Anika's project brings together more than 280 student volunteers within a network of 11 school chapters across the globe.

Prudential Emerging Visionaries is sponsored by Prudential in collaboration with Ashoka, a leading organization in the social impact sector, with advisory support provided by the Financial Health Network, an authority on financial health and a longtime partner of The Prudential Foundation.

The program is an evolution of Prudential's Spirit of Community Awards, which honored more than 150,000 outstanding youth volunteers over 26 years.

To read about 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 each individual has the freedom, confidence and societal support to address any social problem. For more information, visit ashoka.org.

SOURCE The Prudential Insurance Company of America


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