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Citizens Bank Foundation provides $120,000 for neighborhood revitalization and economic development projects

Thirteen projects in Olneyville awarded grants through the Growing Communities initiative

Providence, RI (July 8, 2013) – As part of its Growing Communities initiative, the Citizens Bank Foundation today announced the winners of its request for proposals process announced earlier this year. The Growing Communities initiative, in partnership with Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC), will fund 13 neighborhood projects totaling $60,000 that will enhance the Olneyville neighborhood in Providence by supporting small businesses, providing job training and increasing access to nutritious food. It will also support LISC's "Our Neighborhoods" project with a $60,000 grant, a community development strategy designed to improve the quality of life in Rhode Island's most challenging neighborhoods.

Growing Communities is part of Citizens Helping Citizens Strengthen Communities, the bank's program to help contribute to the economic vitality of its communities. The Growing Communities initiative is designed to foster neighborhood revitalization and economic development activities across Rhode Island.

"By investing in businesses and organizations that provide important services and healthy food options to local residents, this partnership with LISC will help to energize the Olneyville neighborhood," said Ned Handy, President, Citizens Bank and RBS Citizens, Rhode Island. "The 13 projects selected will stimulate economic development in this neighborhood by encouraging patronage of local businesses, strengthening workforce development, and ultimately creating jobs."

LISC empowers neighborhood residents and community leaders to become active partners in creating goals and objectives for their neighborhood, and then connects them with the right resources and experts needed to implement the projects identified.

"LISC Rhode Island is excited to be part of this partnership," said Jeanne Cola, Executive Director of LISC RI. "These projects will build on existing assets of the community and help to leverage additional resources for the neighborhood. We are proud of the work that "Our Neighborhoods" has done and will continue to do with the support of Citizens Bank's Growing Communities initiative."

"Investments like these directly benefit those who live, work and own businesses in our neighborhoods," said Mayor Angel Taveras. "I thank Citizens Bank and LISC for their efforts to train workers, support businesses and help families in Olneyville – one of our city's busiest and most vibrant neighborhoods."

Selected through a competitive grant process announced in late January, the thirteen organizations receiving funding are:

The Providence Plan/Building Futures Graduate Service Learning Program
Building Futures is a pre-apprenticeship program working with low-income, and often low-skilled, urban adults. It joined with Olneyville Housing Corporation (OHC) to provide advanced workforce training and community service for a subset of its graduates as they construct affordable housing in the Olneyville neighborhood of Providence. This project will use Building Futures graduates to construct affordable housing of three single-family, affordable homes on Audrey Street in Olneyville with a completion date of early summer 2014.

The Steel Yard's Weld to Work for Olneyville Residents
The Steel Yard proposes a 95-hour Weld to Work program for eight trainees, including the fabrication, design and installation of community projects. This project will be accessible to Olneyville residents by making all eight spaces restricted to residents of the neighborhood. Trainees will receive in-demand skills in careers with livable wages and job readiness skills to help them gain employment. Trainees will work collaboratively to make neighborhood improvements.

Olneyville Food Center
Olneyville Food Center, the food pantry formerly housed in St. Teresa's Church, will begin operating in its new 1,800 square foot Olney Village location this month. This grant will assist the food pantry in the transition to its new location where it will continue to serve more than 7,000 neighborhood residents with fresh produce, bread and non perishables each month.

Olneyville Housing Corporation's One Olneyville
One Olneyville hires and trains local young adults to fulfill landscaping and snow removal contracts for its housing portfolio and maintains gardens for the Southside Community Land Trust through fee-for-service contracts. From its net income, One Olneyville dedicates 30 to 60 percent of its time to work pro-bono in and around Olneyville. This project will allow One Olneyville to expand its capacity to become a fully independent and financially sustainable social enterprise.

Other projects receiving funding:

  • Farm Fresh Rhode Island's Veggie Box at Clinca Esperanza
  • Providence Community Library and Olneyville Library's Library Resources for New Immigrants
  • Providence Housing Authority's Workforce Development in Manton Heights
  • Recycle-A-Bike's Olneyville Bicycle Center
  • Southside Community Land Trust's Providence Community Growers Network in Olneyville
  • The Dirt Palace Façade Project
  • The Manton Avenue Project's Programming and Clubhouse
  • The Rhode Island Family Literacy Initiative (RIFLI): Preparing to Become a US Citizen
  • Woonasquatucket River Watershed Council: Building Community at Riverside Park

In addition to grant investments, Citizens Bank colleagues will provide volunteer support to the projects. The Citizens Bank Foundation will offer its next round of funding for the Growing Communities initiative in 2014.

Citizens Helping Citizens Strengthen Communities is part of the bank's broader Citizens Helping Citizens program addressing five key areas: hunger, housing, economic development, financial education and volunteerism. Get more information about Citizens Bank's/Charter One's community initiatives online.

About Citizens Helping Citizens
Grounded in the belief that a good bank gives back to its community and to the people who live there, Citizens Helping Citizens is a program embracing the community goals of RBS Citizens Financial Group, Inc. – the commercial bank holding company serving consumer and small business customers as Citizens Bank and Charter One and commercial banking customers as RBS Citizens. The Citizens Helping Citizens program comprises five key initiatives supported directly by RBSCFG and also by its nonprofit charitable foundations, the Citizens Charitable Foundation, the Citizens Bank Foundation and the Charter One Foundation: Citizens Helping Citizens Fight Hunger, Citizens Helping Citizens Provide Shelter, Citizens Helping Citizens Strengthen Communities (economic development), Citizens Helping Citizens Teach Money Management (financial education) and Citizens Helping Citizens Give (volunteerism and colleague charitable donations). Across all of these initiatives, Citizens Helping Citizens strives to enhance quality of life and economic vitality in local communities.

About the Local Initiatives Support Corporation
The Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) is dedicated to helping local partners transform distressed neighborhoods into resilient and sustainable communities of choice and opportunity. LISC mobilizes corporate, government and philanthropic support to invest in locally defined community development projects and activities. At Rhode Island LISC, we are committed to building strong neighborhoods and healthy communities where individuals, businesses and families can thrive. Rhode Island LISC's website is: www.lisc.org/rhode_island/.