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Citizens Bank collecting school supplies for local children in Massachusetts

Gear for Grades initiative to help more than 3,000 children in Massachusetts and more than 23,000 across the Citizens Financial Group footprint

BOSTON    (July 14, 2010) - For the fifth consecutive year, Citizens Bank is collecting new school supplies for its Gear for Grades initiative, an effort to help local children go back to school with the gear they need to learn. Beginning July 19, new pencils, folders, glue, notebooks and other supplies can be donated at any Citizens Bank branch in Massachusetts through August 9. This year’s Gear for Grades program is in partnership with Cradles to Crayons.

Gear for Grades has helped more than 11,000 children in Massachusetts return to school with the essential supplies they need to succeed. This year, more than 3,000 backpacks filled with school supplies will be donated to children throughout the Commonwealth. More than 23,000 backpacks will be distributed to children across the Citizens Financial Group’s 12-state retail banking footprint.

“The Gear for Grades program has been an incredible success, helping thousands of local children return to school with the tools that help prepare them for a year of learning,” said Steve Woods, President, Citizens Bank, Massachusetts. “We are delighted to once again partner with our friends at Cradles to Crayons and thank our customers and the public in advance for supporting this program that makes going back to school a little more exciting and brings a smile to so many children in need.”

Cradles to Crayons, an innovative nonprofit organization providing essential everyday supplies to low-income and homeless children, will distribute the backpacks to children in need throughout Massachusetts. As part of this initiative, the Citizens Bank Foundation donated $25,000 to the organization.

According to a National Retail Federation survey in 2009, the average family with students in grades kindergarten through 12 is expected to spend $548 on back-to-school expenses. For so many families, those costs are out of reach.

“Purchasing basic school supplies is challenging for thousands of low-income families,” said Lynn Margherio, Founder and CEO of Cradles to Crayons. “We are delighted to partner with Citizens Bank and thank its customers for donating supplies that will send children back to school this fall equipped to learn and excel in their classes.”

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 Cradles to Crayons

Founded in 2002, Cradles to Crayons is an innovative Boston-based nonprofit organization that equips homeless and in-need children with the basic essentials they need to feel safe, warm, ready to learn and valued. While meeting the immediate needs of low-income children, C2C also sets a foundation for lasting change by providing meaningful, tangible volunteer opportunities to thousands of individuals and hundreds of organizations each year.