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Charter Oak Cultural Center named Champion in Action in youth programming category

Nonprofit agency receives unrestricted $35,000 grant, PR and volunteer support

Hartford, CT – Earlier today, Citizens Bank and WTNH News 8 named Charter Oak Cultural Center the first 2014 Champion in Action® in the category of youth programming. The center will receive a $35,000 unrestricted grant, media coverage, and extensive promotional and volunteer support for its work on behalf of Connecticut’s young people.

Charter Oak Cultural Center harnesses the power of the arts to create and instill positive social change by integrating the arts with academic subjects. The multi-cultural arts center offers in-school and after-school arts and literacy-based programs to Greater Hartford’s inner-city children in grades K-12.

The grant will be used to expand the center’s programs and provide greater access to art education for youth, families and individuals throughout the Greater Hartford community.

“The Champions in Action program is about boosting an organization and helping it step to the next level. We are excited to see this grant give Charter Oak Cultural Center that boost – helping it to serve young people, as well as to grow and strengthen its surrounding community,” said Clare Feldman, Senior Vice President, Retail Regional branch manager, Citizens Bank, Connecticut. “This award will help Charter Oak grow its after-school programs and educate students and families in the core aspects of social justice.”

Champions in Action is part of Citizens Helping Citizens Strengthen Communities, the bank’s program designed to enhance quality of life and economic vitality in local communities. It provides support for small nonprofit organizations to recognize their contributions to communities throughout Rhode Island. To date, the program has awarded 42 Connecticut nonprofits more than $1 million in grants and promotional support.

“WTNH News 8 is proud to recognize Charter Oak Cultural Center for its dedication to creating an enriching cultural experience in Connecticut,” said Mark Higgins, Vice-President and General Manager of WTNH/WCTX. “The expansion of the center’s arts and literacy programs for Hartford inner-city youth will make a real and powerful impact on the lives of the young people in our state.”

Champions in Action

Charter Oak Cultural Center provides a wide array of programs, including:

  • Social Justice programming that focus on equality through art;
  • During-school and after-school programming for youth and families through its free Youth Arts Institute;
  • Free or low-cost accessibility to professional multi-cultural arts performances and exhibits to the Greater Hartford community

As a Champion in Action, Charter Oak Cultural Center will receive:

  • A $35,000 contribution in unrestricted funds from the Citizens Charitable Foundation;
  • Volunteer support from Citizens;
  • Extensive public relations support;
  • Promotional support highlighting the Champion in Action on all Citizens Bank branch DCN screens and on its ATMs;
  • Exposure on both Citizens Bank website

“We are honored to be named a Champion in Action. This award will enable us to expose more children to the power of the arts to foster creativity, critical thinking, confidence, and academic excellence,” said Donna Berman, executive director of Charter Oak Cultural Center. “By expanding our work in social justice through the arts, we will open opportunities to underserved children that they would not, otherwise, have.”

Applications for the second 2014 Champions in Action award in the strengthening communities through family support category are due Friday, March 7, at 5 p.m. The winner will be announced in July. Eligible nonprofits should apply online at www.citizensbank.com/community/champions.

Prior Connecticut Champions in Action include:

Fairfield County
The Center for Women and Families
Mutual Housing Association of Southwestern CT
Women's Business Development Council, Inc.
Bridgeport Neighborhood Trust
New Neighborhoods
Operation Hope of Fairfield, Inc.

Hartford County
Broad-Park Development Corporation
The Open Hearth
Mercy Housing & Shelter
My Sisters Place
Urban League of Greater Hartford
Guakia, Inc.
Co-opportunity, Inc.
Connecticut Association for Human Services
Hartford Economic Development Corporation (HEDCO)
The Community Farm of Simsbury

Middlesex County
Oddfellows Playhouse
Alderhouse Residential Communities
North End Action Team (NEAT)

Champions in Action

New Haven County
AIDS Project New Haven
Christian Community Action
Marrakech Day Services
Hispanos Unidos
Junta for Progressive Action, Inc.
Youth Rights Media
Downtown Evening Soup Kitchen
New Haven Home Recovery
The Diaper Bank
Fellowship Place, Inc.
All Our Kin, Inc.
Neighborhood Housing Services of New Haven, Inc.

New London County
New London Community Meal Center
Women's Center of Southeastern CT
Eastern Connecticut Housing Opportunities
Centro de la Comunidad, Inc.
Martin House
High Hopes Therapeautic Riding, Inc.

For more information about the Citizens Bank / WTNH 8 Champions in Action program, visit www.citizensbank.com/community/champions or www.wtnh.com. To learn more about how to contribute to the Charter Oak Cultural Center through donations or volunteerism, call 860.310.2580.

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 47 branches and 125 ATMs in Connecticut.

RBS Citizens, N.A., is a subsidiary of RBS Citizens Financial Group, Inc, a $120 billion commercial bank holding company. It is headquartered in Providence, R.I., and through its subsidiaries has approximately 1,400 branches, over 3,500 ATMs and more than 18,000 colleagues. It operates a branch network in 12 states and has non-branch retail and commercial offices in more than 30 states. Its two bank subsidiaries are RBS Citizens, N.A., and Citizens Bank of Pennsylvania. They operate a 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 is owned by RBS (the Royal Bank of Scotland Group plc). RBSCFG’s website is citizensbank.com.

About WTNH News 8
WTNH News 8 continues to set the standard for news coverage excellence in Connecticut. News 8 provides news, weather and information around the clock through its television newscasts, WTNH.com website and through its digital and mobile platforms. WTNH News 8, an ABC affiliate, and WCTX MyTV9, a My Network affiliate, serve more than 996,000* households.

*Estimate according to Nielsen.



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