i.c.stars Receives Extra Help from Local Banker

i.c.stars, a locally based organization providing opportunities for inner-city young adults to harness the strength of technology for social and economic leadership, has welcomed a very special addition to its team. It is receiving help from a full-time staff member for three months. The new i.c.stars team member is an employee from Charter One who is serving a Community Service Sabbatical from the bank.

Maria Jordan-Smith, a resident of the Calumet Heights community on Chicago’s southeast side, is a four-year veteran of Charter One’s downtown offices, where she serves as a Government Banking relationship associate. She is in the midst of her tenure in the bank’s annual Community Service Sabbatical program. Jordan-Smith has served her sabbatical with i.c.stars since mid-January and will continue through mid-April.

“Maria has been instrumental in helping i.c.stars at a critical time of year as we begin a busy 2011,” said Sandee Kastrul, i.c.stars President and co-founder. “Our staff and the young adults in our professional training program have welcomed her with open arms – and have been inspired by her personal and professional success. We are truly thankful to Charter One for providing our organization with Maria’s talent, energy, devotion and spirit.”

Jordan-Smith’s three-month sabbatical is focused on a few key initiatives. She is helping develop a mentoring program for i.c.stars that connects the organization’s nearly 200 interns and alumni with a network of more than 700 volunteers. Jordan-Smith is also supporting and managing i.c.stars’ “high tea” program, a daily lecture series in which a business or community leader shares his or her professional journey. In addition, she plays a critical role in the organization’s candidate assessment process, and assists with operations and finance tasks to support i.c.stars’ leadership team.

“We believe that a healthy bank sits at the heart of a healthy community,” said Scott C. Swanson, President, Charter One, Illinois. “Our sabbatical program is of particular value to the communities we serve. Our colleagues have the opportunity to spend three months making a significant impact on the lives of people served by local nonprofits like i.c.stars. Maria is passionate about community service and her enthusiasm is already benefiting i.c.stars’ programs and services.”

The bank’s Community Service Sabbatical program enables a colleague with three or more years of service to work full-time in the community for three months and bring back to the workplace a greater appreciation of the social needs and challenges in the community at-large. More than 90 colleagues have been sent into their communities since the program started in 1994.

About i.c.stars Formed in 1999, i.c.stars is a nonprofit organization in Chicago for adults with a high school diploma or GED. Using project-based learning and full-immersion teaching, i.c.stars provides opportunities to develop skills in business and technology. i.c.stars places 93 percent of its qualified graduates in jobs with average annual earnings of $31, 500. Before completing the program, participants typically earn around $10,500. Learn more: www.icstars.org

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 111 branches and 305 ATMs in Illinois. Charter One’s website is charterone.com.

RBS Citizens, N.A. is a subsidiary of Citizens Financial Group, Inc., a $136 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). CFG’s website is citizensbank.com.

A Measurable Impact

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