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Lawrence CommunityWorks named Champion in Action in Massachusetts

Citizens Bank and NECN provide $25,000 grant, PR and volunteer support

BOSTON              (July 22, 2009) - Citizens Bank and NECN today named Lawrence CommunityWorks a Champion in Action® in Massachusetts under the category of financial literacy. LCW is a nonprofit community development corporation dedicated to improving the physical, social and economic landscape in Lawrence through financial literacy programs and real estate projects for the city’s residents.

LCW is rooted in the belief that economic stability depends on the capacity of an individual or family to build assets. Its Family Asset Building program empowers families and individuals to achieve their full potential through supportive programs and financial literacy classes.

Programs and services include Individual Development Accounts, budget coaching, financial education and a Homeownership Center, that provides information and counseling on foreclosure prevention, mortgage readiness and how to purchase and maintain a home.

“We applaud Lawrence CommunityWorks and its Family Asset Building program, which helps residents gain the freedom to make sound financial decisions that will have a lasting impact on their lives and the local community,” said Robert E. Smyth, president, Citizens Bank, Massachusetts. “LCW is a true Champion in Action for its commitment to the people and city of Lawrence and we are thrilled to partner with our friends at NECN in recognizing its efforts.”

In addition to its financial literacy programs, LCW is committed to investing in the local community. Since its rebirth in 1999, LCW generated more than $22 million in new neighborhood investment, including 60 units of affordable housing on 15 abandoned or vacant parcels, a new community center, and three new playgrounds. As a force of equitable development and economic justice in Lawrence, LCW has grown to be recognized as one of the most effective and active community development corporations in Massachusetts.

“NECN is proud to partner with Citizens Bank in honoring Lawrence Community Works as Champion in Action,” said NECN Executive Vice President and General Manager Bill Bridgen. “We live in a time when navigating the worlds of finance and real estate can be confusing to anyone so Lawrence CommunityWork’s mission serves a critical community need.”

LCW is being recognized for:
• Finding a way to help its many struggling families to build assets, escape poverty and build the networks of support they need to succeed.
• Offering intensive workforce training focused on developing the essential skills needed to obtain employment through its New Skills Academy program.
• Creating a new “environment of connectivity” where residents can more easily connect to information, opportunity and each other as a way to build the community.
• Engaging residents to take on civic leadership roles in an effort to create positive change in the city.
• Having a positive impact on thousands of lives in Lawrence through the generation of a new community center, three new playgrounds and a range of family asset building and youth development efforts.

As a Champion in Action, LCW receives:
• A $25,000 contribution in unrestricted funds from the Citizens Bank Foundation.
• Media coverage from NECN, including public service announcements, news stories and segments on other NECN programs such as Broadside: The News with Jim Braude and Business Day.
• Volunteer support from Citizens and NECN employees.
• Public relations support.
• Promotional support highlighting the Champion in Action in all Citizens Bank branches and on its ATMs.
• Exposure on both Citizens Bank and NECN Web sites.

“To see LCW members coming together through these tough times is amazing. By learning to budget, developing new skills, and tackling the tough community issues, people in the LCW network stay together and move Lawrence forward,” said Bill Traynor, Executive Director, Lawrence CommunityWorks. “We are truly honored to be named a Champion in Action by Citizens Bank and NECN and are thankful for the grant and invaluable marketing that will undoubtedly provide us with much-needed resources as well as boost awareness of our mission.”

Since introducing the program in 2002, Citizens has awarded $700,000 to 28 Massachusetts organizations. A new Champion in Action® is selected each quarter among four social service categories.

To learn more about how to contribute to Lawrence CommunityWorks, please visit www.lcworks.org.

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 251 branches and 585 ATMs in Massachusetts.

RBS Citizens, N.A. is a subsidiary of Citizens Financial Group, Inc., a $167 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. CFG is owned by RBS (The Royal Bank of Scotland Group plc).  

About NECN

NECN is the largest 24-hour regional news network in the country, with 3.7 million subscribers in more than 1,050 cities and towns in all six New England states. It is a partnership of Comcast and the Hearst Corporation. The station specializes in long-form journalism, producing documentaries and extensive local and national political coverage. For more information on NECN, go to www.necn.com.