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Franklin Park Coalition named Champion in Action in Massachusetts

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

BOSTON     (July 14, 2010) -  Citizens Bank and NECN today named Franklin Park Coalition a Champion in Action® for the third quarter of 2010 under the category of environmental impact. As part of the award, Franklin Park Coalition will receive a $25,000 grant, media coverage and extensive promotional and volunteer support.

Franklin Park Coalition is a nonprofit organization committed to restoring and preserving historic Franklin Park, Boston’s largest urban greenspace. It works with other community organizations, park neighbors and volunteers to advocate for the upkeep of the park and to ensure a community voice on all park issues with a focus on restoration and stewardship.

The Coalition’s work ranges from spearheading a woodlands restoration campaign to focusing attention on the smaller details, such as a bench in need of a paint job. Its Youth Conservation Crew program provides teens with jobs in the park and teaches them about careers in forestry and park management. In addition, the organization sponsors many cultural activities including guided nature walks, park history talks, seasonal forest festivals and the celebrated Elma Lewis Playhouse in the Park free summer concert series.

"Citizens Bank is proud to recognize the Franklin Park Coalition as our newest Champion in Action," said Steve Woods, President, Citizens Bank, Massachusetts. "We applaud the Coalition for its commitment to protect and enhance this historic landmark and for its leadership in encouraging community members to join its efforts in preserving Franklin Park, which will help make the city a healthier, more welcoming place to live and visit."

"NECN is delighted to join Citizens Bank in naming Franklin Park Coalition a Champion in Action," said Bill Bridgen, EVP and General Manager, NECN. "We congratulate the organization and look forward to working with Franklin Park Coalition to help raise awareness and increase its advocacy network so Franklin Park will be enjoyed by thousands of residents and visitors long into the future."

The Franklin Park Coalition is being recognized for:

  • Expanding community participation in the stewardship of the park, recruiting more than 1,000 volunteers each year.
  • Having cleared more than 10 acres of invasive species and replanted nearly 300 native trees and shrubs over the last six years.
  • Developing a Woodlands Management Plan to shape the future of the park and ensure that 50 years from now, Franklin Park remains the crown jewel in Boston’s Emerald Necklace.
  • Reviving the Elma Lewis Playhouse in the Park free summer concerts to build community and celebrate local artists.
  • Bringing summer jobs for teens to the park.

As a Champion in Action, the Franklin Park Coalition 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 ATM screens.
  • Exposure on both Citizens Bank and NECN websites.

"We are a small organization that gets a lot done with volunteers, community members and people who love Franklin Park," said Christine Poff, Executive Director of Franklin Park Coalition. "The media coverage from NECN and the funding and promotional support from Citizens Bank that accompany this award will help us increase public awareness, build our membership base, enhance community involvement, and help us give Franklin Park the attention and resources it deserves."

Since introducing the program in 2002, Citizens has awarded $800,000 to 32 Massachusetts organizations. A new Champion in Action® is selected each quarter among four social service categories.

To learn more about how to contribute to Franklin Park Coalition, please visit http://www.franklinparkcoalition.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 255 branches and 530 ATMs in Massachusetts.

RBS Citizens, N.A. is a subsidiary of Citizens Financial Group, Inc., a $144 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. 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.