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Citizens Bank launches “Gear for Grades” program in Western Pennsylvania

Four-week campaign is aimed at filling over 3,800 backpacks with school supplies for homeless and disadvantaged children

Pittsburgh, Pa.              (July 13, 2009) - Citizens Bank announced the sixth annual launching of the Gear for Grades campaign to collect new school supplies for the region’s homeless and disadvantaged children. More than 3,800 backpacks have been purchased by Citizens to be stuffed with pencils, pens, tablets and other school supplies that can be donated at any Citizens Bank branch in western Pennsylvania through August 7.

“Many of us are fortunate enough to remember the feeling of excitement and anticipation that came every summer from preparing to return to school,” said Ralph Papa, chairman of Citizens Bank of Pennsylvania. “Unfortunately, there are thousands of children who never know that feeling because for them, school supplies are a luxury. We are proud to join our Gear for Grades campaign partners in providing these children with the tools that will help them to succeed in school.”  

On August 17, Citizens will join with Gear for Grades partners Homeless Children’s Education Fund (HCEF) and Renda Broadcasting’s WJAS and AM NewsTalk 1360 WPTT at its downtown Pittsburgh headquarters to load more than 3,800 backpacks filled with school supplies onto two school buses for distribution to Allegheny County homeless shelters. Citizens will also distribute backpacks to homeless shelters and social service agencies in Beaver, Butler, Erie, Washington and Westmoreland counties.

“Renda Broadcasting is pleased to partner with Citizens Bank on Gear for Grades,” said General Manager Tony Renda Jr. “This program is a great fit for us and we encourage our listeners to participate by dropping off new school supplies at their neighborhood Citizens Bank branch office. It will really make a difference in the lives of children in need – not to mention the gratification that will be afforded those who contribute.”

“It’s natural for people to think only about adults when they picture a homeless person,” said Dr. Joseph F. Lagana, founder and CEO of the HCEF, a nonprofit agency that serves the academic needs of local homeless children. “But there are thousands of homeless children living among us who need our help.”

About Citizens Bank of Pennsylvania

Citizens Bank of Pennsylvania is a state-chartered bank with dual headquarters in Pittsburgh and Philadelphia. It has approximately 400 branches and more than 660 ATMs throughout Pennsylvania. It also operates 15 retail branches and 61 ATMs in southern New Jersey and a commercial loan office in Virginia. It is a subsidiary of Citizens Financial Group, Inc., a $160 billion commercial bank holding company headquartered in Providence, R.I

Citizens Financial Group, through its subsidiaries, has more than 1,500 branches, and approximately 3,600 ATMs and approximately 23,000 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. It is one of the 10 largest commercial banking companies in the United States ranked by assets. CFG is owned by RBS (The Royal Bank of Scotland Group plc).  

About the Homeless Children’s Education Fund

The Homeless Children’s Education Fund is a 501© (3) not-for-profit organization providing a variety of education services to the more than 3,000 Allegheny County children who find themselves homeless at some time during the year. HCEF has established Learning Centers in seven shelters for homeless families. The centers consist of computers, printers and digital cameras, desks and quiet study areas, and include small libraries. Most importantly, they serve as physical sites for after-school tutoring and mentoring. HCEF also sponsors mini-grants for educational innovation and awards a number of grants to local agencies and institutions annually. HCEF was founded in 1999 to help protect and promote educational rights for homeless children. The founder and CEO of the Homeless Children’s Education Fund is Dr. Joseph F. Lagana, executive director emeritus at the Allegheny Intermediate Unit, one of the region’s largest educational agencies of its kind.  Chairman of the Board of Trustees for HCEF is William Wolfe, a vice president in the Pittsburgh office of Marsh USA. For more information about the Homeless Children’s Education Fund visit www.homelessfund.org, or call 412/562-0154