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Champions in Action program celebrates 10 years of success

Area nonprofits invited to apply for support in the category of Neighborhood Development

Providence, RI (February 9, 2012) - Citizens Bank and NBC 10 are celebrating the 10th anniversary of Champions in Action®, a unique program that supports nonprofit organizations working in designated areas of social concern. Over the past decade, the award-winning Champions program has given more than $6 million in grants to 246 nonprofit organizations in Connecticut, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Hampshire, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Rhode Island. In addition to financial support, each Rhode Island Champion received coverage from NBC 10, volunteer support, and public relations and promotional support.

The program has been recognized by community leaders, customers and peer banks as innovative, creative and effective. In 2005, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce honored Citizens Financial Group with its Corporate Stewardship Award for commitment to the community. The chamber noted the Champions in Action program’s innovative approach to building lasting relationships with nonprofit organizations.

“Since we launched the Champions in Action program in 2002, we have honored 38 Rhode Island organizations,” said Ned Handy, President, Citizens Bank, Rhode Island and Connecticut. “Citizens and NBC 10 have successfully created a lasting network of Champions, providing nonprofits with ongoing training and allowing them the opportunity to connect with their peers. Many have gone on to grow their organizations to new heights, with some receiving national recognition for their efforts. We couldn’t be more pleased with these outcomes.”

Leaders of Champions organizations applaud the program for its impact, reporting that it provided critical resources, raised their visibility and helped attract additional support. New Urban Arts, an art studio and gallery for young people and emerging artists located in Providence, has seen tremendous growth since being named a Champion in Action in 2005. The nationally recognized nonprofit has increased its enrollment by 212 percent, quadrupled its grant sources and nearly tripled its operating budget.

In 2009, New Urban Arts received the National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Award from First Lady Michelle Obama at the White House. The award is the nation’s highest honor for arts programs serving youth from under-served communities. One of three Rhode Island Champions in Action® to receive the prestigious honor, New Urban Arts credits its Champions recognition with making it a top candidate for the award. Woonsocket’s RiverzEdge and Community Music Works also received this award.

Many say that while the grant is important, other elements of the program are what make it unique, such as public relations and promotional support. “The program increased awareness of our work across a wide area thanks to the scope of Citizens Bank and NBC 10,” said Noah Fulmer, Farm Fresh RI Executive Director. “It was a huge help to our programs, which aim to have a statewide reach.”

“NBC 10 and Citizens Bank are committed to supporting the local organizations that are making a difference in the lives of so many people here in our state," said Vic Vetters, Vice President and General Manager, NBC 10. “We are committed to bringing the story of each Champion to a larger audience, giving them the recognition they truly deserve.

Citizens Bank is currently accepting applications for the next Champion in Action in the category of Neighborhood Development. Applications can be completed online at citizensbank.com/community/champions. All applications must be received by March 9, 2012. The winner will be announced in July.

The selected Champion in Action will receive:

  • an unrestricted $35,000 grant;
  • coverage from NBC 10, including public service announcements and TV profiles;
  • volunteer support from Citizens Bank colleagues and from NBC 10;
  • public relations support;
  • promotional support including advertising in Citizens Bank branches, on Citizens Bank ATMs, and on the Citizens Bank and NBC 10 websites; and
  • the opportunity for the organization’s executive director to participate in a “president-to-president” mentorship with Citizens Bank of Rhode Island President Ned Handy

To be eligible for consideration, an organization must:

  • Be a Rhode Island-based nonprofit organization that services Rhode Island and addresses the designated social concern;
  • Provide verification of tax-exempt status under section 501(c)3 of the Internal Revenue Code; and
  • Have a total operating budget of $5 million or less.

For more information about the Champions in Action program, visit citizensbank.com/community.

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 82 branches and 198 ATMs in Rhode Island.

RBS Citizens, N.A., is a subsidiary of Citizens Financial Group, Inc., a $131 billion commercial bank holding company. It is headquartered in Providence, R.I., and, through its subsidiaries, has more than 1,500 branches, approximately 3,900 ATMs and more than 20,000 colleagues. Its 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 more than 30 states. CFG is owned by RBS (the Royal Bank of Scotland Group plc).

About NBC 10
WJAR-TV/DT is the most watched television station in the Providence-New Bedford television market and NBC 10 News is southern New England’s leading news station. WJAR was first launched as a radio station in 1922 and then became the market’s first television station in 1949. WJAR-TV/DT is owned by Media General, Inc.

About Media General
Media General is a multimedia company operating leading newspapers, television stations and online enterprises primarily in the southeastern United States. The company’s publishing assets include three metropolitan newspapers, The Tampa Tribune, Richmond Times-Dispatch, and Winston-Salem Journal; 22 daily community newspapers in Virginia, North Carolina, Florida, Alabama and South Carolina; and more than 150 weekly newspapers and other publications. The company’s broadcasting assets currently include 30 network-affiliated television stations that reach more than 33 percent of the television households in the Southeast and more than 10 percent of those in the United States. The company’s interactive media assets include more than 75 online enterprises that are associated with its newspapers and television stations. Media General also owns a 33 percent interest in SP Newsprint Company, a manufacturer of recycled newsprint.



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