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Citizens Bank launches annual Gear for Grades initiative to send local children back to school with new backpacks and school supplies

Donation-based program will help 500 children in Vermont

Program has helped more than 215,000 children across the bank’s footprint since 2003

Burlington, V.T. (July 17, 2013) – As a way to help local children go back to school with the supplies they need to succeed, Citizens Bank will launch its annual Gear for Grades program on Monday, July 22. Customers and the public are welcome to support the initiative by donating new items like pencils, folders, notebooks, rulers and other supplies at any Citizens Bank branch in Vermont from July 22 through August 9.

The Gear for Grades program is a part of Citizens Helping Citizens Strengthen Communities, the bank’s program for contributing to the economic vitality of communities. The Citizens Bank Foundation is donating 500 backpacks to the Gear for Grades program. Each backpack will be filled with some of the most needed supplies including child-safe scissors, pencils, pens, erasers, pocket folders, spiral notebooks, crayons, washable markers, rulers, glue sticks, colored pencils, pencil boxes and index cards. Backpacks will be distributed to designated youth serving agencies such as local Boys & Girls Clubs, COTS and the Springfield Parent Child Center beginning August 23.

“As a company committed to contributing to the health of our local communities, our Gear for Grades program is another way to show our customers that we care, while engaging them in our efforts to support local children,” said Joe Carelli, President, Citizens Bank and RBS Citizens, Vermont. “Helping children to feel excited and ready for the new school year is a small way that we can invest in our communities’ future. We thank everyone who will join us in supporting this year’s Gear for Grades program.”

This year’s Gear for Grades program is supported by Mix 98.1/WJJR, 1230 WJOY and KOOL 105. Each of these stations are promoting Gear for Grades and encouraging listeners to donate supplies.

"We firmly believe in supporting educational programs and are proud to partner with Citizens Bank on Gear for Grades," said Debbie Grembowicz, General Manager of Catamount Radio which operates 98.1 WJJR. "All children should have access to basic school supplies. We invite our listeners across the state to support Gear for Grades by visiting a local Citizens Bank branch to donate new school supplies that will make a big difference to hundreds of children."

According to a National Retail Federation survey, the average American family will spend $688.62 on back-to-school expenses, up from $603.63 last year. For low-income, at-risk or homeless families, the cost of even basic school supplies can be a burden.

"We are pleased to once again support Citizens Bank in its effort to collect much-needed school supplies for children across the state,” said Dan Dubonnet, General Manager of Hall Communications which operates 1230 WJOY and KOOL 105. “We’re happy to get the word out about this important program by encouraging our listeners to make a donation at their local Citizens Bank branch to help get the school year off to a good start for local kids.”

Through the Gear for Grades program, more than 38,000 backpacks will be distributed across the RBS Citizens Financial Group’s (RBSCFG) footprint, through Citizens Bank branches in New England and the Mid-Atlantic and Charter One locations in the Midwest. Last year, RBSCFG colleagues volunteered at more than 75 events to stuff 28 tons of supplies into backpacks for donation. Since 2003, RBSCFG has provided more than 215,000 children with new backpacks and school supplies.

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 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 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 80 branches and 202 ATMs in New Hampshire.

RBS Citizens, N.A., is a subsidiary of RBS Citizens Financial Group, Inc., a $126 billion commercial bank holding company. It is headquartered in Providence, R.I., and through its subsidiaries has approximately 1,400 branches, more than 3,600 ATMs and nearly 19,000 colleagues. Its 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. RBSCFG has non-branch retail and commercial offices in more than 30 states. RBSCFG is owned by RBS (the Royal Bank of Scotland Group plc). RBSCFG’s website is citizensbank.com.

 

 

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