Citizens Bank's Henri Moore, senior vice president for public affairs, and Dan Fitzpatrick, president and CEO, present John A. Fry, Drexel president, and Lucy Kerman, Drexel vice provost for community initiatives, with the $100,000 grant. Councilwoman Jannie Blackwell and U.S. Congressman Chaka Fattah were at the event.
The Citizens Bank Foundation today announced a partnership with Drexel University to launch Growing Communities, a new initiative that is designed to impact neighborhood revitalization, create jobs, and increase financial literacy in West Philadelphia. The announcement was made during an open house at the University’s Dana and David Dornsife Center for Neighborhood Partnerships, where Citizens Bank and RBS Citizens President and CEO Daniel K. Fitzpatrick presented a $100,000 check to Drexel University President John A. Fry.
"The grant will assist Drexel University and local nonprofits in developing a comprehensive program in wealth building and entrepreneurship that will be held at the Dornsife Center for Neighborhood Partnerships located at 3509 Spring Garden Street. As part of the initiative, local residents will have the opportunity to benefit from free workshops including asset building, budgeting, financial education, savings, energy efficiency, credit counseling, benefit accessibility and small business development.
“Growing Communities is a year-long commitment from the Citizens Bank Foundation that will make a tremendous impact on the lives of residents in the Drexel University and West Philadelphia neighborhoods,” said Fitzpatrick, president and CEO of Citizens Bank and RBS Citizens for Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware. “The programs being offered at the new Dornsife Center for Neighborhood Partnerships will provide an innovative model of community support by offering regular and dependable access to financial education programming to help West Philadelphia residents with tax preparation, group workshops and legal clinics. The initiative will also help stimulate the local economy through small business development programs spurring economic growth in these neighborhoods.”
Elected officials, community leaders and residents of the surrounding neighborhoods attended the announcement and opening of the new community center. The Dornsife Center will serve as a community resource and home for Drexel’s many outreach efforts; it will offer a welcoming environment for local children and families, rich with technology, and fully accessible to senior citizens.
“In keeping with our mission to serve both students and society through teaching, research and community outreach, Drexel University has committed to a comprehensive and long-term engagement strategy to improve the quality of life in its surrounding neighborhoods in West Philadelphia,” said Fry. “Through this remarkable partnership with Citizens Bank, the Dornsife Center for Neighborhood Partnerships will serve as a source for sharing expertise and knowledge with the members of the local community.”
Joining Fitzpatrick and Fry at the event were Congressman Chaka Fattah and Councilwoman Jannie L. Blackwell. “I am proud of the continued revitalization of this neighborhood,” said Blackwell. “This partnership between Drexel University and Citizens Bank is a win-win for West Philadelphia and area residents who will be able to take advantage of free tax preparation, and financial literacy education.”
The Growing Communities initiative is a neighborhood revitalization initiative that Citizens Bank has launched in five states and has committed to three others across its footprint. In Philadelphia, several nonprofit organizations will be involved, offering free tax preparation and financial counseling for local residents who will be able to access financial tools and education more readily. The grants will also assist small businesses, create new jobs and help with neighborhood revitalization.
As a venue for Drexel's research, practice and scholarship, the Dornsife Center for Neighborhood Partnerships will offer space for activities developed and delivered by the University’s participating colleges and schools. Through offerings—such as a free law clinic, health and wellness programming, homework help, arts collaborations, architectural design-build studios and environmental engineering demonstrations—Drexel students, faculty and professional staff will provide service and instruction. Established in 2012 with the help of a $10 million gift by philanthropists Dana and David Dornsife, the new Dornsife Center sits on 1.3 acres. The three buildings on the site are being renovated to provide a range of flexible spaces appropriate for individual counseling, small group meetings and workshops, large gatherings and hands-on innovation.
About the Citizens Bank Foundation
Citizens Bank Foundation is a subsidiary of the Citizens Charitable Foundation, which is a charitable contributions vehicle of RBS Citizens Financial Group, Inc., RBS Citizens, N.A. and Citizens Bank of Pennsylvania. The foundation’s support is focused on human services, affordable housing and economic development. RBSCFG’s website is citizensbank.com
About Drexel University
Founded in 1891 in Philadelphia, Drexel is the nation’s 14th largest private university and is ranked among the best national universities by U.S. News & World Report.” Drexel is widely recognized for its focus on experiential learning through its cooperative education program and translational research initiatives. Drexel’s commitment to helping the underserved can be traced to its founding when Anthony J. Drexel created the Drexel Institute to provide working-class men and women with access to an education that would improve their lives and economic prospects in the Industrial Age. Last year at Drexel University more than 10,500 students, as well as numerous faculty and professional staff, participated in a wide variety of community service activities.