10 Years of advancing positive change: announcing Citizens Bank's Shared Interest winners

    VANCOUVER, March 28 /CNW/ - Since 1997, Citizens Bank has contributed
over $1 million in Shared Interest grants to worthy not-for-profit
organizations. Now in its 10th year of business, Citizens Bank of Canada is
proud to announce the recipients of its 2006 Shared Interest(TM) awards. These
organizations were nominated by Citizens Bank members and serve communities
large and small in Canada and around the world.
    Recipients of Shared Interest awards and grant amounts for 2006 (awarded
in 2007) are:

    Sierra Legal Defence Fund                        $42,731.13
    Child Haven International                        $32,495.16
    Regent Park/Pathways to Education                $20,471.95
    Covenant House Toronto                           $21,121.85
    Dignitas International                           $17,384.91
    MATCH International                              $16,572.53
    Evergreen                                        $15,272.72
    Calgary Habitat for Humanity                     $13,810.44
    The Centre for Integrated Healing                $13,647.97
    Transboundary Watershed Alliance (Sage Centre)   $13,323.01
    St. John's Women's Centre                         $9,748.55
    Big Water Society                                 $8,123.79

    Total:                                          $224,704.00

    "For 10 years Citizens Bank has been proud to support the social and
environmental causes of its members," says Citizens Bank CEO Jason Farris. "We
are especially pleased this year to give back almost a quarter-of-a-million
dollars. The recipients come from different backgrounds, and employ different
approaches, but all work towards a common goal - to make the world a better
place. We are grateful to be able to support that goal."
    The range of Shared Interest recipients reflects the design of the
program, which every year provides grants to organizations in the categories
of: community and family health; environment; economic self-reliance; and
human rights and international co-operation. The fund represents four per cent
of the Bank's pre-tax profits, as well as a ten-cent contribution made by the
Bank for every Shared Interest VISA cardholder transaction. Not-for-profits
are nominated by employees and bank members, finalists are chosen by a
selection committee and the membership is invited to vote for the organization
of their choice. The fund is then divided among the finalists based on the
percentage of votes they receive.
    "The Shared Interest program has a very broad reach," says Leah Geller of
the Canadian international development organization CHF. "As a past recipient
of a Shared Interest grant, we were able to partner with a local organization
in Zimbabwe to support the livelihoods of AIDS orphans by building nutrition
gardens and providing livestock. Citizens Bank was generous without creating
complicated conditions around the funding. Shared Interest is a rare program
in corporate giving and we congratulate this year's recipients on this special
recognition from Citizens Bank."
    "Through Shared Interest, we have an opportunity to recognize the work of
not-for-profit organizations and bring the good they do to light," says
Farris. "It's a point of pride with the members of Citizens Bank - to be able
to cast a vote and have a say in a better world."

    Learn more at www.citizensbank.ca/sharedinterest

    Shared Interest Grant recipients for 2006

    Sierra Legal Defence Fund works to enforce and strengthen the laws
    safeguarding Canadian environment, wildlife, and public health.

    Contact: Lisa Fleming, 604.685.5618

    Child Haven International provides food, shelter, clothing and access to
    higher education and job-training to over 1000 women and children living
    in poverty in South Asia.

    Contact: Luanna Cappucino, 613.527.2829

    Pathways to Education breaks the cycle of poverty and violence in
    downtown Toronto by helping at-risk youth thrive academically and pursue
    post-secondary education.

    Contact: Hailee Morrison, 416.642.1570 (ext. 228)

    Covenant House (Toronto), Canada's largest youth shelter, provides at-
    risk teens with basic human necessities and the tools to get off the

    Contact: Tonya Stewart, 416.204.7992

    Dignitas International saves lives in Malawi, Africa, through HIV/AIDS
    prevention, treatment, care and support programs and is working with
    other groups to reproduce this model in other countries.

    Contact: Kathe Rogers, 416.260.3100

    MATCH International Centre partners with women in the Global South,
    empowering them with the skills training and education needed to support
    their families and communities.

    Contact: Bonnie Diamond, 613.238.1312

    Evergreen strengthens the relationship between nature, culture and
    community by engaging people in creating green spaces in urban centres.

    Contact: Shaugn Schwartz, 604.689.0766

    Calgary Habitat for Humanity and its team of volunteers help low-income
    parents build homes to create the stable, safe environment children need
    to thrive.

    Contact: Diane Reid, 403.253.9331

    The Centre for Integrated Healing (CIH) encourages British Columbians
    living with cancer to adopt an integrated, whole-person approach to
    health, engaging with their own care to improve their quality of life.

    Contact: Eleanor Ryrie, 604.734.7125

    The Transboundary Watershed Alliance (Sage Centre) protects the
    ecological and cultural values of watersheds spanning the BC-Alaska
    border by combining the influence of its member organizations.

    Contact: Nola Poirier, 867.668.5098

    St. John's Women's Centre works with women throughout Newfoundland's
    Avalon region to promote empowerment, equality, and social justice.

    Contact: Lisa Sigler, 709.753.0220

    Big Water Society strengthens community ties in Atlin, British Columbia,
    by offering child advocacy, counseling support, and life skill-building

    Contact: Nan Love, 250.651.2460

    Citizens Bank is the only bank in Canada with an Ethical Policy that
publicly states its position on eight key social and environmental issues.
Wholly owned by Vancity Savings Credit Union, Citizens Bank offers 24 hour,
seven-days-a-week service through the Internet and telephone.

For further information:

For further information: Victoria Miles, Corporate Communications
Consultant, Citizens Bank, (604) 877-7561, victoria_miles@citizensbank.ca;
Jane MacCarthy, Corporate Communications Consultant, Citizens Bank/Vancity,
(604) 877-4539, jane_maccarthy@citizensbank.ca

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