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Laconia Area Community Land Trust named 2009 Champion in Action in area of Housing

Citizens Bank and WMUR-TV to provide $25,000 grant, PR and volunteer support

Manchester, N.H.          (April 10, 2009) - Citizens Bank New Hampshire and WMUR-TV have named the Laconia Area Community Land Trust as their 2009 second quarter Champion in Action® in the area of housing. As part of the award, the organization will receive a $25,000 grant, media coverage, and extensive promotional and volunteer support for its dedication to assisting low- and moderate-income families in the Lakes Region achieve economic self-sufficiency through the development of permanently affordable housing opportunities.

“Citizens Bank is pleased to join WMUR-TV in naming the Laconia Area Community Land Trust as the newest Champion in Action,” said Cathleen A. Schmidt, President, Citizens Bank, New Hampshire. “By providing financial, marketing, and volunteer support, we can assist this Champion in advancing its programs and services. The Land Trust provides much needed affordable housing development and home buyer education for those individuals and families in need in the Lakes Region.  We congratulate the organization’s efforts, and we are proud to contribute to its success.” 

The Champions in Action program is designed to recognize and support nonprofit organizations for their contributions to New Hampshire communities. A new Champion in Action is selected each quarter among a range of social service areas.

“Sharing in this initiative with Citizens Bank continues to be a source of great pride," said Jeff Bartlett, General Manager of WMUR-TV. “We are very pleased to help out organizations across the state that demonstrate such a strong commitment to making a difference in the lives of so many New Hampshire residents. They truly are champions.”
 
By creating safe, permanently affordable housing, the Laconia Area Community Land Trust helps to revitalize communities. To date, 134 affording housing units have been developed in Laconia and Belmont. Another 45 units are under construction in Meredith. The land trust also offers a variety of programs including transitional shelter and support services for homeless families, and workshops on financial fitness and first-time homebuyer education.

“Empowering residents to stabilize and strengthen their families, maintain their home, improve their life skills and increase their economic capacity are the foundations of our organization,” said Linda L. Harvey, Executive Director of the Laconia Area Community Land Trust. “We serve residents from a variety of backgrounds; most are simply working families who are unable to afford area rents. Others are single parents with children or families who are homeless or near homeless.”

According to Harvey, for its most vulnerable clients the organization combines transitional shelter with aggressive case management that includes counseling, access to social services, and training opportunities.

Through its housing developments, the nonprofit has invested more than $32 million in the community and has improved neighborhoods throughout the region. In 2004, the organization redeveloped an abandoned factory, transforming the property into 18 units of affordable housing that has revitalized the gateway to downtown Laconia. 

As a Champion in Action, the Laconia Area Community Land Trust will receive:
• A $25,000 contribution in unrestricted funds from the Citizens Bank Foundation.
• Media coverage from WMUR-TV, including public service announcements and television profiles.
• Volunteer support from Citizens and WMUR-TV employees.
• Extensive public relations support.
• Promotional support, highlighting the current “Champion in Action” in all Citizens Bank branches and on its ATMs.
• Exposure on both Citizens Bank and WMUR-TV Web sites.

“We are honored to be recognized by Citizens Bank and WMUR as a Champion in Action,” said Harvey. “This award will enable us to increase the inventory of high quality, permanently affordable housing to families and individuals in the Greater Lakes Region, providing them with the opportunity they need to succeed and improve their quality of life.”

A nonprofit organization supporting financial literacy will be named for the third quarter Champion in Action in July 2009.

To learn more about the Laconia Area Community Land Trust visit www.laclt.org or call (603) 524-0747. The Laconia Area Community Land Trust is located at 658 Union Avenue, Laconia, NH 03246.

About Citizens Bank

Citizens Bank is a division of RBS Citizens, N.A., operating its seven-state branch network in Connecticut, Delaware, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, Rhode Island and Vermont. It has 78 branches and 158 ATMs in New Hampshire.

RBS Citizens, N.A. is a subsidiary of Citizens Financial Group, Inc., a $161 billion commercial bank holding company headquartered in Providence, R.I. CFG’s two bank subsidiaries are RBS Citizens, N.A. and Citizens Bank of Pennsylvania. They operate a 12-state branch network under the Citizens Bank brand in Connecticut, Delaware, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and Vermont, and the Charter One brand in Illinois, Michigan and Ohio. CFG has non-branch retail and commercial offices in about 40 states. It is one of the 10 largest commercial banking companies in the United States ranked by assets and deposits. CFG is owned by RBS (The Royal Bank of Scotland Group plc). 

About WMUR-TV

WMUR-TV (Ch. 9) is an ABC-TV affiliate headquartered in Manchester, N.H., and is owned and managed by Hearst-Argyle Television, Inc., one of the nation's largest television station groups. WMUR-TV is New Hampshire's largest commercial TV station, reaching more than a million people. Founded in 1954, the station's news, feature and sports coverage has won numerous awards for professional and journalistic excellence. WMUR-TV is considered the broadcast news source of record for New Hampshire's first-in-the-nation presidential primary election. WMUR-TV provides online news and information at www.WMUR.com.