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Grow Pittsburgh is new Champion in Action®

Agency receives $25,000 grant, volunteer and promotional support

PITTSBURGH (April 19, 2011) Citizens Bank and WPXI-TV today named Grow Pittsburgh as their second quarter 2011 Champion in Action® in the category of food and nutrition. Grow Pittsburgh, which is dedicated to demonstrating, teaching and promoting responsible urban food production, nutrition and sustainable living, will receive a $25,000 grant from the Citizens Bank Foundation plus extensive volunteer and promotional support from Citizens Bank, WPXI-TV and Pittsburgh Cares.

“Citizens Bank is pleased to join WPXI-TV in naming Grow Pittsburgh our newest Champion in Action,” said Ralph J. Papa, Chairman of Citizens Bank of Pennsylvania. “Under the leadership of Executive Director Julie Butcher Pezzino, this tremendous organization helps to encourage people of all ages to grow their own or eat locally grown fruits and vegetables.”

“As an organization committed to serving the community, WPXI-TV is proud to partner with Citizens Bank to honor Grow Pittsburgh,” said WPXI-TV General Manager Ray Carter. “Grow Pittsburgh works very hard to demonstrate, teach and promote urban food production – and it strives to deliver that message to populations most in need of help.”

Through Champions in Action, Citizens Bank and WPXI-TV recognize and support nonprofit organizations for the contributions these groups make to communities in the Pittsburgh region. A new Champion in Action is selected each quarter among a range of social service areas.

As a Champion in Action, Grow Pittsburgh will receive:

  • $25,000 contribution in unrestricted funds from the Citizens Bank Foundation.
  • Media coverage, public service announcements and a video profile from WPXI-TV.
  • Volunteer support from Pittsburgh Cares, and Citizens and WPXI-TV employees.
  • Extensive public relations support, featuring new marketing materials.
  • Promotional support for the organization in all Citizens Bank branches.
  • Exposure on both Citizens Bank and WPXI-TV Web sites.

“We are thrilled to receive this support,” said Julie Butcher Pezzino, Executive Director for Grow Pittsburgh. “Grow Pittsburgh is committed to growing food, growing farmers, growing community and growing capacity. This grant means continued growth for us.”

What makes Grow Pittsburgh a Champion in Action?

  • Founded in 2005, Grow Pittsburgh incorporated in 2008 after the creation of four successful programs: Braddock Farms, a social enterprise that raises vegetables for local restaurants and provides jobs and locally grown food to area residents; the Edible Schoolyard, an elementary program focused on teaching kids the benefits of growing and eating healthy food; The Frick Project, a greenhouse and garden that grows plant starts for local garden initiatives and produce for area restaurants; and a Summer Intern Program.
  • Grow Pittsburgh focuses on increasing the amount of affordable, healthy food in the Pittsburgh region and increasing the amount of land dedicated to sustainable food production. It also provides hands-on experimental agriculture training to community residents and builds a professional network of support for the production and distribution of fresh, local produce.
  • In an effort to help ensure program sustainability, Grow Pittsburgh implemented several fund-raising initiatives in 2010. In partnership with La Prima Espresso, Grow Pittsburgh coffee was launched, where $1 of every pound sold is donated back to Grow Pittsburgh. The organization also netted $12,000 at A Taste of Grow Pittsburgh, it’’s first large-scale fund-raising event. Additionally, it developed the Grow Pittsburgh monthly restaurant series, where 10 restaurants commit to hosting fund-raising dinners for the organization and donate 10 percent of nightly sales to the nonprofit.

In addition to Grow Pittsburgh, the following organizations have been selected as Champions in Action since the program was introduced in western Pennsylvania in 2004: Wilkinsburg Community Ministry, Aliquippa Alliance for Unity and Development, Beginning with Books, The Neighborhood Academy, HEARTH, Human Services Center Corporation, Washington Community Arts and Cultural Center, Rainbow Kitchen Community Services, Sojourner House MOMS, Little Sisters of the Poor, Manchester Craftsmen’s Guild, Health Hope Network, YouthPlaces, the Bloomfield-Garfield Corporation, Oakland Planning and Development Corporation, Family Tyes, and NeighborWorks®, Paul Laurence Dunbar Community Center, Light of Life Rescue Mission, Dress for Success, POWER, Project for Freedom, Providence Connections, RiverQuest, Society for Contemporary Craft, and StartingGate.

To learn more about Grow Pittsburgh, 5429 Penn Avenue, Pittsburgh, visit www.growpittsburgh.org.

About Citizens Bank of Pennsylvania
Citizens Bank of Pennsylvania is a state-chartered bank with dual headquarters in Pittsburgh and Philadelphia. It has 387 branches and 959 ATMs throughout Pennsylvania. It also operates 15 retail branches and 105 ATMs in southern New Jersey and a commercial loan office in Virginia. It is a subsidiary of Citizens Financial Group, Inc., a $130 billion commercial bank holding company headquartered in Providence, R.I.

Citizens Financial Group, through its subsidiaries, has more than 1,500 branches, approximately 3,800 ATMs and approximately 21,400 employees. 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 WPXI
WPXI-TV is a Cox Television station in the Pittsburgh television market. Cox Television includes 15 television stations, three national television sales representation firms, a television production company, and a Washington, D.C., news office. Cox Television is a subsidiary of Cox Enterprises, Inc., based in Atlanta. WPXI-TV’s website is wpxi.com.

About Pittsburgh Cares
Pittsburgh Cares, founded in 1992, is a nonprofit organization dedicated to increasing community engagement through volunteerism and enhancing the impact of regional service partners. In 2006-07, Pittsburgh Cares coordinated more than 950 volunteer projects. Pittsburgh Cares volunteer network has provided more than 44,500 hours of service over the past year and with an average of 217 new volunteers per month, our impact continues to grow stronger. Pittsburgh Cares coordinates three specialized programs: Youth Engaged in Service (YES), Campus Cares, and Business Cares. YES is an outreach program that connects youths under 18 years of age to volunteer opportunities. Campus Cares works with the local college community including Greek Life, student organizations, individual students, and faculty/staff to connect them to a wide variety of volunteer and service-learning opportunities. Business Cares coordinates employee volunteer programming for small, mid-size and large companies in Greater Pittsburgh through customized contracts. For more information