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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

In partnership with Back to School celebration, program will help 16,000 children in Rhode Island

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

Providence, RI (July 22, 2013) – As a way to help local children go back to school with the supplies they need to succeed, Citizens Bank launched its annual Gear for Grades program on Monday, July 22 in partnership with Back to School Celebration. 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 Rhode Island from July 22 through August 9. This year’s program is also in partnership with Coast to Coast Promotional Products and 92 PRO-FM.

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 partnering with Back to School Celebration to assemble 16,000 backpacks as part of 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 local children on August 17.

“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 Ned Handy, President, Citizens Bank and RBS Citizens, Rhode Island. “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.”

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.

“There are so many children in our state whose families lack the financial resources to purchase the most essential supplies for school,” said Jorge Cardenas, President, Back to School Celebration. “Every child deserves to have the best chance for success in the classroom and our partnership with Citizens Bank and its Gear for Grades program will help to make that a reality for thousands of children in Rhode Island.”

Back to School Celebration volunteers along with Citizens Bank colleagues will stuff 16,000 backpacks with school supplies and distribute the filled backpacks to children who need these supplies the most at 11 locations across the state on Saturday, August 17 from 10:00am – 1:00pm. To find a location near you, visit http://www.btscri.org/events.

“Year after year, 92 PRO-FM couldn’t be more proud to partner with Citizens Bank and the Back to School Celebration,” said Davey Morris, Corporate Program Director, Cumulus Media (parent company of 92 PRO-FM). “Gear for Grades is such an important venture to embark on, as so many students all across our state are in need of supplies to get them ready for a new school year. Our radio station family truly enjoys helping the kids and we look forward to continuing our strong relationship with Citizens Bank and Back to School Celebration for years to come.”

92 PRO-FM will support Gear for Grades with public services announcements to encourage listeners to donate supplies. It will also host two appearances, Saturday, July 27 at the Stop & Shop Citizens Bank branch in on Warwick Ave in Cranston and Saturday, August 3 at the Garden City Branch in Cranston, where the public can drop off school supplies from 10am to 12pm.

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 82 branches and 190 ATMs in Rhode Island.

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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