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Charter One launches annual Gear for Grades initiative to send local children back to school with new backpacks and school supplies

Donation-based program will help 2,000 children in Ohio

CLEVELAND (July 17, 2013) – As a way to help local children go back to school with the supplies they need to succeed, Charter One will launch its annual Gear for Grades program on Monday, July 22 in partnership with Shoes and Clothes for Kids. Customers and the public are welcome to support the initiative by donating new items like pencils, folders, notebooks, rulers and other supplies at any Charter One branch located in Cuyahoga County from July 22 through August 9.

The Gear for Grades program is a part of Citizens Helping Citizens Strengthen Communities, the bank’s program for contributing to the economic vitality of communities. In addition to collecting school supplies in its branches, the Charter One Foundation has awarded a grant to Shoes and Clothes for Kids to support the purchase of 2,000 backpacks and additional supplies. Each backpack will be filled with some of the most needed supplies including child-safe scissors, pencils, pens, erasers, pocket folders, spiral notebooks, crayons, washable markers, rulers, glue sticks, colored pencils and pencil boxes. Shoes and Clothes will distribute backpacks to local children beginning August 15.

“Helping children to feel excited and ready for the new school year is a small way that we can invest in our communities’ future,” said Ken Marblestone, President, Charter One and RBS Citizens, Ohio and Michigan. “We thank everyone who will join us in donating school supplies to the Gear for Grades program.”

According to a National Retail Federation survey, the average American family will spend $688.62 on back-to-school expenses, up from $603.63 last year. For low-income, at-risk or homeless families, the cost of even basic school supplies can be a burden.

“There are so many children in our area whose families lack the financial resources to purchase the most essential supplies for school,” said Valerie McCormack, Executive Director, Shoes and Clothes for Kids. “Every child deserves to have the best chance for success in the classroom and our partnership with Charter One and its Gear for Grades program will help to make that a reality for thousands of children in Cuyahoga County.”

Shoes and Clothes for Kids will distribute the backpacks to children served by its network of community partners who need these supplies the most.

Through the Gear for Grades program, more than 38,000 backpacks will be distributed across the RBS Citizens Financial Group’s (RBSCFG) footprint, through Citizens Bank branches in New England and the Mid-Atlantic and Charter One branches in the Midwest. Last year, RBSCFG colleagues volunteered at more than 75 events to stuff 28 tons of supplies into backpacks for distribution. Since 2003, RBSCFG has provided more than 215,000 children with new backpacks and school supplies.

Citizens Helping Citizens Strengthen Communities is part of the bank’s broader Citizens Helping Citizens program addressing five key areas: hunger, housing, economic development, financial education and volunteerism. Get more information about Charter One’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 comprises five key initiatives supported directly by RBSCFG and also by 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.

About Charter One
Charter One is a division of RBS Citizens, N.A., operating in Illinois, Michigan and Ohio. It has 337 branches and 504 ATMs. It has 103 branches and 241 ATMs in Illinois. Charter One’s website is charterone.com.

RBS Citizens, N.A., is a subsidiary of RBS Citizens Financial Group, Inc., a $126 billion commercial bank holding company. It is headquartered in Providence, R.I., and through its subsidiaries has approximately 1,400 branches, more than 3,600 ATMs and nearly 19,000 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. RBSCFG has non-branch retail and commercial offices in more than 30 states. RBSCFG is owned by RBS (the Royal Bank of Scotland Group plc). RBSCFG’s website is citizensbank.com.

 

 

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