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Charter One collecting school supplies for local children in Ohio

Gear for Grades initiative to help more than 1,000 children in Ohio and more than 23,000 across the Citizens Financial Group footprint

CLEVELAND (July 16, 2010) - Starting July 19, Charter One is collecting new school supplies for its Gear for Grades Initiative, an effort to help local children go back to school with the gear they need to learn. New pencils, folders, glue, notebooks and other supplies can be donated at any Charter One branch in Cuyahoga County through August 9. This year’s Gear for Grades program is supported by Shoes and Clothes for Kids and Mix 106.5 FM.

Through Gear for Grades, 1,000 children in Cuyahoga County will receive new backpacks and school supplies. This year, more than 23,000 backpacks filled with new school supplies will be distributed to children across the Citizens Financial Group’s 12-state retail banking footprint.

“Many of us are fortunate enough to remember the excitement that came with going back to school – the chance to buy new school clothes, supplies, backpacks and lunch boxes,” said Ken Marblestone, President, Charter One, Ohio. “Unfortunately, thousands of local children don’t have this experience because for them, school supplies are a luxury. Charter One hopes to make going back to school a little more exciting for area school children by giving them the gear they need to succeed this year.”

Shoes and Clothes for Kids, the only nonprofit organization in Greater Cleveland providing new shoes and clothes at no charge throughout the year to thousands of children in need, will distribute the backpacks through their partner network to children in Cuyahoga County. Mix 106.5 FM is promoting Gear for Grades and encouraging listeners to donate supplies with public service announcements.

“Mix 106.5 FM is pleased to partner with Charter One on Gear for Grades,” said Gary Mincer, Vice President, Director of Sales Cleveland at Clear Channel Radio. “This program is a great fit for us and we encourage our listeners to participate by donating new school supplies at a local Charter One branch. It really will make a difference for children in need.”

According to a National Retail Federation survey in 2009, the average family with students in grades kindergarten through 12 is expected to spend $548 on back-to-school expenses. For so many families, those costs are out of reach.

“This campaign will go a long way toward getting the school year off to a great start, certainly for the children our partners serve, but also for the schools they attend and the neighborhoods where they live,” said Valerie McCormack, Executive Director at Shoes and Clothes for Kids. “Charter One is fulfilling a need that most people take for granted. The new backpacks and school supplies will surely make the return to the classroom a more exciting time for many children this year.”

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 600 ATMs. It has 150 branches and 178 ATMs in Ohio. 

RBS Citizens, N.A. is a subsidiary of Citizens Financial Group, Inc., a $144 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).