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Citizens Bank Foundation provides $70,000 for neighborhood revitalization and economic development

Growing Communities initiative to bolster neighborhoods in Nashua and Laconia

MANCHESTER, N.H. (September 19, 2013) – As part of its Growing Communities initiative, the Citizens Bank Foundation today announced $70,000 in grants to projects designed to foster neighborhood revitalization in Nashua and Laconia. The announcement was made during a press conference with Nashua Mayor Donnalee Lozeau, elected officials and community leaders.

“Citizens’ Growing Communities initiative was established to help support and promote neighborhood-based programs that have a significant impact on communities across New Hampshire,” said Joe Carelli, President of Citizens Bank and RBS Citizens, New Hampshire. “Strengthening the health and economic vitality of our local communities is a priority at Citizens. We believe our grants will help enhance the character and overall well-being of these neighborhoods, support small businesses and spur additional investments in these communities.”

Growing Communities is part of Citizens Helping Citizens Strengthen Communities, the bank’s program to contribute to the economic vitality of its communities. The Growing Communities initiative is designed to promote and make investments in neighborhood revitalization based on the existing assets of a community. Projects were selected based on a competitive grant process announced in April.

The YMCA of Greater Nashua and the Nashua Police Athletic League are leading collaborative efforts to enhance the “Tree Street” neighborhoods of Nashua, with the goal of reducing crime and engaging residents in positive change. The projects center around the Heritage Rail Trail, a significant pedestrian corridor used by neighborhood residents to access employment and services, and by visitors for recreation. The grant will support improvements to the trail, expand the community garden program, and offer outreach and educational programs.

“The efforts of Greater Nashua YMCA, Nashua PAL, the City of Nashua, and Citizens Bank’s Growing Communities Initiative in enhancing the safety and usability of the Heritage Rail Trail through the downtown area is a wonderful collaboration of community spirited organizations and businesses,” said Nashua Mayor Donnalee Lozeau. “Citizens has once again shown itself to be a hands-on member of our community by helping us “spotlight” one of our local treasures.”

The grant from Citizens, in conjunction with funding from the City of Nashua, will support the installation of solar lights in five blocks of the neighborhood. The grant also will support four additional planting areas in the community garden, the creation of two new murals, the installation of stone interest markers along the trail, community clean-ups, graffiti eradication and neighbor engagement activities.

The Main Street Initiative of Laconia will use the grant to support a façade improvement fund for the Beacon Street loop in the central downtown business district. The initiative will encourage area property owners and businesses to make investments that beautify the downtown area, with the ultimate goal of decreasing vacancy rates and increasing consumer traffic. Belknap County Economic Development Council will provide additional resources and technical assistance to help business owners strengthen their operations.

Launched in Ohio in 2010, the Growing Communities program has been expanded to support projects in six states within the bank’s footprint. Citizens offered its first round of funding in New Hampshire under the program in 2012, supporting projects in Berlin and Manchester that provided job training, created a mobile food market and supported small businesses. With this round of funding, Citizens has awarded $155,000 in grants to New Hampshire communities. In addition to grants, Citizens Bank will provide volunteer support to project organizers.

The Citizens Bank Foundation will offer its next round of funding for the Growing Communities initiative in 2014.

Citizens Helping Citizens Give is part of the bank’s broader Citizens Helping Citizens program addressing five key areas: hunger, housing, financial education, volunteerism and economic development. 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 is composed of five key initiatives supported directly by RBSCFG and 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.