Citizens Bank giving $465K to businesses, coronavirus relief

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PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — To support the communities where they operate, Providence-based Citizens Bank has committed $5 million to soothe the effects of the contagious, potentially deadly coronavirus that causes COVID-19.

$465,000 will be going to Rhode Island businesses and nonprofits to help alleviate financial burdens, the bank said Tuesday, coming from the Citizens Charitable Foundation. The relief initiative was first announced on March 23.

$175,000 is earmarked for grants to small businesses. They’ll be doled out through community development support organization LISC Rhode Island.

$165,000 will be given directly to the bank’s small business customers in Rhode Island to help them continue to operate — one $15,000 grant to each of 11 small business customers.

$125,000 is going to the state’s COVID-19 Response Fund, administered by United Way of Rhode Island and the Rhode Island Foundation, to support local nonprofits that provide services to the public.

“Our small business customers are a vital engine of the Rhode Island economy,” said Keith Kelly, who serves as the bank’s Rhode Island state president, “so it is critical that we both give them an immediate leg up and bolster their long term viability.”

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