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Citizens Bank Foundation donates $5,000 to RESPOND, Inc. in Massachusetts

Grant to aid Enhanced Shelter program

BOSTON           (April 10, 2009) - The Citizens Bank Foundation announced it has provided a $5,000 grant to RESPOND, Inc., a nonprofit organization that works to improve the lives, protect the rights and ensure the safety of survivors of domestic violence and their children. The donation will support the Somerville-based organization’s life-saving programs as well as its Enhanced Shelter program.

RESPOND answers approximately 3,000 calls a year on its 24-hour crisis hotline and provides shelter residents with core, life-saving support services including individual counseling, children services, safety planning, support groups, legal assistance and advocacy. Its Enhanced Shelter Program is an eight-bedroom facility for survivors of domestic violence and their children. 

RESPOND was founded in 1974 and is New England’s first domestic violence agency. It provides shelter, support and education and serves greater Boston with a special emphasis on 11 communities in Middlesex County including Everett, Malden, Medford, Melrose, North Reading, Reading, Somerville, Stoneham, Wakefield, Winchester and Woburn.

“Domestic violence leaves physical and emotional scars on its victims and their children who witness the abuse,” said Jessica Brayden, Executive Director of RESPOND, Inc. “Emergency shelter has been the cornerstone of our services since its founding and we are grateful to organizations like Citizens Bank who provide us with the funding and support we need to continue the work we do to help survivors of domestic violence and their families rebuild their lives.”

Last fall, through Citizens’ Community Service Sabbatical Program, colleague Denise Lamas of Everett spent three months volunteering full time at RESPOND during a paid leave of absence from the bank. As part of her sabbatical, she worked directly with clients and their families to ensure they received requested donations of toiletries and everyday supplies. She also worked with the Director of Programs and Services to coordinate activities and education during October’s Domestic Violence Awareness Month.

“RESPOND is a safe haven where survivors and their children can regain control of their lives,” said Robert E. Smyth, President, Citizens Bank, Massachusetts. “We are proud that our colleague Denise was able to assist the staff and clients of the organization during her sabbatical and are honored to play a small role in supporting the critical services RESPOND provides to families in dire situations.”

About the Citizens Bank Foundation

Citizens Bank Foundation is a charitable contributions vehicle of Citizens Bank. The foundation’s support is focused on housing, community development and basic human needs.