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Citizens Bank and Cradles to Crayons hold largest backpack-a-thon with Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter

10,000 new school backpacks were stuffed and donated to children and agencies in the tri-state region

PHILADELPHIA  (August 30, 2010) - Hundreds of volunteers from Citizens Bank of Pennsylvania and Cradles to Crayons turned out today at the Philadelphia Zoo for the largest backpack-a-thon in Philadelphia. With the help of Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter, 500 volunteers sorted school supplies and stuffed a record 10,000 backpacks during the day-long event. The backpacks will be distributed through social service agencies to children and families in need in Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware in time for the start of school.

“The start of a new school year is a critical time for children,” said Mayor Michael A. Nutter. “I congratulate Citizens Bank and Cradles to Crayons for partnering on this year’s event and making it bigger and better than ever. We hope many more students will start school with the right supplies because starting off on the right foot gives children a better opportunity to perform well in school.”

As part of its Gear for Grades initiative, the Citizens Bank Foundation donated $25,000 to Cradles to Crayons in July to help the nonprofit organization expand its services and reach its goal of 10,000 backpacks. In addition, Citizens Bank collected new school supplies such as pencils, pens, crayons, glue sticks, plastic rulers, erasers, safety scissors, spiral notebooks and binders in all of its bank branches across the tri-state region. Those supplies were donated to Cradles to Crayons as part of its Ready for School program and the backpack-a-thon event.

“There is nothing more essential than education and students need the tools to be ready to learn,” said Daniel K. Fitzpatrick, Citizens Bank’s President & CEO for Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware. “Underscoring our belief that helping our communities is good banking and good citizenship, Citizens Bank’s annual Gear for Grades initiative and the generosity of our customers and colleagues will help remove roadblocks to learning for thousands of children who need help the most.”

Approximately 500 children were in attendance at the event, which was held in partnership with the Philadelphia Zoo and the Mayor’s Office of Community Services.  Each of the children, who were treated to a free day at the zoo, received lunch and went home with a new backpack filled with school supplies. 

Cradles to Crayons and Citizens Bank have identified nearly 500 social service agencies who are receiving the remaining 9,500 backpacks and providing them to children and families in financial need across the tri-state region.

“Cradles to Crayons is so grateful to Citizens Bank, the Philadelphia Zoo and all our partners and sponsors for help in reaching our goal of 10,000 backpacks,” said Kelly Clarke, Executive Director of Cradles to Crayons. “This year so many more children will benefit from the generosity of our corporate sponsors and volunteers.”

About Citizens Bank of Pennsylvania

Citizens Bank of Pennsylvania is a state-chartered bank with dual headquarters in Pittsburgh and Philadelphia. It has 383 branches and 972 ATMs throughout Pennsylvania. It also operates 15 retail branches and 104 ATMs in southern New Jersey and a commercial loan office in Virginia. It is a subsidiary of Citizens Financial Group, Inc., a $140 billion commercial bank holding company headquartered in Providence, R.I.

Citizens Financial Group, through its subsidiaries, has more than 1,500 branches and approximately 3,500 ATMs, and approximately 22,700 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. CFG is owned by RBS (The Royal Bank of Scotland Group plc). 


About Cradles to Crayons

Cradles to Crayons is a Conshohocken-based nonprofit with the mission of providing to children ages through age 12 some of the most important basics of life – free of charge.

These basics include clothing, school supplies, toys, and much more. In other words, we provide all the physical goods that children need to be safe, protected from the elements, and ready to learn. And by supplying them with high-quality used or new goods, we make children feel valued. We partner with social-service organizations to connect communities that have surplus resources – new or used items in good condition – with communities that desperately need access to those resources.

About Philadelphia Zoo

Philadelphia Zoo, America’s first zoo, is celebrating the 150th anniversary of its founding. Chartered by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania on March 21, 1859, the zoo is home to more than 1,300 animals from around the world, many rare and endangered. Welcoming more than one million visitors each year from throughout the region and beyond, the zoo serves children and families as an engaging public resource for wildlife conservation and education. The Philadelphia Zoo is accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums. For more information or to purchase and print tickets online, visit www.philadelphiazoo.org.