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Urban Farming™ receives hands-on support from Charter One in Michigan

Charter One employee will serve a three-month sabbatical as part of company’s commitment to community service

 DETROIT     (October 1, 2009) - Susan Leithauser, a vice president in Charter One’s Commercial Banking division in Michigan, has been awarded a CFG Community Service Sabbatical and has chosen Urban Farming™ to perform three months of community service, beginning today.

Since 1994, Charter One’s parent company, Citizens Financial Group, has sent more than 80 colleagues on paid, three-month leaves of absence throughout 12 states to do hands-on community service work, strengthening the company’s ties to local nonprofit organizations. Colleagues who have participated in the CFG Community Service Sabbatical program have called their sabbatical a life-changing experience, giving them a better understanding of local needs and inspiring a commitment to public service. 

Urban Farming's mission is to create an abundance of food for people in need by planting gardens on unused land and space while increasing diversity, educating youths, adults and seniors, as well as providing an environmentally sustainable system to uplift communities. The urban gardening model enhances land utilization, moves production of perishable food close to under-served consumers and teaches self-sufficiency skills. Urban Farming operates more than 650 gardens nationally and abroad.

“We are thrilled to participate in this groundbreaking program of Charter One and have Susan on board for three months,” said Taja Sevelle, founder and executive director, Urban Farming. “It is a great benefit to the community and to us and serves as a wonderful illustration of Urban Farming's philosophy of win-win relationships.”

A native Detroiter, Leithauser has been with Charter One for two years and in the financial services industry for 16 years. She will assist Urban Farming in several areas, including documenting operating procedures, helping develop a financial literacy component and youth cooking class to the organization’s community outreach programs, and making helpful introductions in the business and civic sectors. An active volunteer, Leithauser is chairman of the finance committee for the Detroit Riverfront Conservancy and chairs the board development committee for Wayne State University School of Business Alumni Association.

“We’re excited to match Susan’s financial acumen and personal passion with the remarkable work of Urban Farming,” said Sandy Pierce, President & CEO, Charter One, Michigan.

“Charter One is committed to making a real difference in the communities where we live and work through signature programs like our Community Service Sabbatical.”

During the three-month sabbatical, Leithauser will share her experience with fellow colleagues through regular updates, helping to create advocacy for Urban Farming’s mission deep within the company.

About Charter One

Charter One is a division of RBS Citizens, N.A., operating in Illinois, Michigan and Ohio. It has approximately 360 branches and 612 ATMs. It has 111 branches and 124 ATMs in Michigan. Charter One’s Web site is charterone.com.  

RBS Citizens, N.A. is a subsidiary of Citizens Financial Group, Inc., a $153 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. It is one of the 10 largest commercial banking companies in the United States ranked by assets as of June 30, 2009. CFG is owned by RBS (The Royal Bank of Scotland Group plc). CFG’s Web site is citizensbank.com.  

Information on Urban Farming
877.679.8300
www.urbanforaming.org