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Citizens Bank launches 2009 “Gear for Grades” program to collect school supplies in New Hampshire

Partnership with 95.7 WZID and PlusTime NH aimed at providing 3,000 New Hampshire school children with donated “back-to-school” backpacks and items

Manchester, N.H.              (July 13, 2009) - Citizens Bank has launched its “Gear for Grades” program which encourages the public to donate new school supplies for New Hampshire children to take back to school. The program is being conducted for the fourth consecutive year in partnership with 95.7 WZID and PlusTime NH. Donations of school supplies will be accepted at all Citizens Bank branches throughout the state from July 13 to August 1.

Citizens Bank is donating 3,000 backpacks to the program. The backpacks will be filled with the donated school supplies and distributed to youth programs throughout the state beginning August 13. 

“This program has been an incredible success, enabling us to deliver backpacks filled with supplies to 9,000 children in New Hampshire in the past three years,” said Cathy Schmidt, President of Citizens Bank for New Hampshire.  “This is a special initiative that ensures children have the basic gear they need to learn and succeed in school.”

PlusTime NH, a statewide, nonprofit organization whose mission is to provide the guidance, leadership, and support essential to create, improve, and sustain afterschool programs in New Hampshire communities, has been instrumental in identifying youth programs to receive the filled backpacks. By providing direct support, training, information, and funding assistance, PlusTime NH is able to help communities throughout the state identify the needs of youth and mobilize local resources to develop and sustain appropriate out-of-school time programs.

“PlusTime NH is acutely aware of the issues our communities face with regards to the local need for after school programs and activities, and Citizens Bank is pleased to partner with PlusTime to ensure that the children who need these supplies the most, will get them,” said Schmidt. “Once again, we encourage our customers and the public to support Gear for Grades; while you’re out shopping for your own families, consider picking up an extra notebook or a box of crayons for a child who otherwise wouldn’t receive these basic school essentials.”

Citizens Bank is working with 95.7 WZID to launch the initiative and publicize the call for donations.

“Gear for Grades is an excellent way to help New Hampshire school children prepare for a successful school year,” said Ray Garon, President & General Manager of 95.7 WZID. “This program is a great fit for us and we are excited to once again partner with Citizens Bank to promote this effort and encourage our listeners to participate by dropping off new school supplies. It will truly make a difference for children in need.”

Nearly 20,000 backpacks will be distributed by Citizens throughout New England as part of this year’s Gear for Grades program. 

For questions about the program, contact Megan Sell at Citizens Bank at (603) 634-7640.

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 76 branches and 156 ATMs in New Hampshire.

RBS Citizens, N.A. is a subsidiary of Citizens Financial Group, Inc., a $167 billion commercial bank holding company headquartered in Providence, R.I. 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).