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Charter One to bolster Ohio City Market District

Charter One Growing Communities initiative to promote jobs and local food

CLEVELAND (September 29, 2010) - Charter One today unveiled a significant new initiative that will support urban development initiatives in the Ohio City Market District, a diverse and exciting neighborhood on the near west side of Cleveland.

Charter One Growing Communities will contribute an initial investment of $130,000. Further enhancements and additional investments in the Market District will follow over the course of the next two years.

Charter One’s investment is designed to promote the job creation and neighborhood development efforts being pursued by Charter One’s public and community partners through small business promotion, urban farming, nutrition and health, public art and more. The Growing Communities initiative was developed in partnership with Ohio City Near West Community Development Corporation, the City of Cleveland, Cleveland Councilman Joe Cimperman, Cleveland Public Art, Neighborhood Progress Inc., Entrepreneurs for Sustainability, The Refugee Response and others to support new ideas and programs to benefit neighborhood and local residents.

“The Charter One Growing Communities initiative is a unique collaborative effort with our community partners to enhance the neighborhood surrounding the West Side Market as it prepares to celebrate its 100th anniversary,” said Ken Marblestone, president of Charter One, Ohio.

Cleveland Mayor Frank G. Jackson has appointed a commission to oversee neighborhood development activities in conjunction with the 2012 Market Centennial celebration. Mayor Jackson commended the efforts of Charter One.

“This announcement signals Charter One’s intention to invest money that could help create small businesses, improve access to local food and nutrition and position Ohio City as the neighborhood that feeds the city,” said Jackson. “This initiative presents the opportunity to capitalize on the approximate one million annual visits to the West Side Market, a unique Cleveland icon that has been an economic and social anchor to the Ohio City neighborhood for nearly 100 years.”

Councilman Joe Cimperman, whose ward includes the Market District, said “The City of Cleveland is so proud of our Market and of Charter One. It is partnerships like this that speak to why this is such a celebration. This collaboration shows why Cleveland will soon leave the silver medal stand for local food, and wear the gold. Our role in the United States as a local food juggernaut is without parallel.”

Specifically, the Charter One Growing Communities initiative includes the following:

  • A small business development competition for start-up grants to help small businesses launch in the neighborhood.
  • Micro-grants for small businesses including market vendors and urban farmers.
  • Urban farm development support, including farm stands at the Ohio City Farm and developing vacant properties into small urban farms.
  • The promotion of local fresh food efforts and sustainability programs.
  • Nutrition and health education programs for neighborhood residents.
  • Neighborhood beautification through public art enhancements to the urban farm and to the neighborhood.
  • Financial literacy and workforce programs.

On Sunday, October 10 from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m., Charter One is teaming up with the Ohio City Near West Community Development Corporation to host Ohio City Harvest, a community open house at the Ohio City Farm. The public event is free, kid-friendly and will offer a wide array of activities including live entertainment and farm tours.

Over the next two years, Charter One will add new programs and grants to support the neighborhood development projects and the 2012 Market Centennial celebration through the Charter One Growing Communities initiative.

About Charter One

Charter One is a division of RBS Citizens, N.A., operating in Illinois, Michigan and Ohio. It has approximately 370 branches and 610 ATMs. It has 150 branches and 179 ATMs in Ohio.

RBS Citizens, N.A. is a subsidiary of Citizens Financial Group, Inc., a $140 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. CFG is owned by RBS (The Royal Bank of Scotland Group plc).