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Citizens Announces $300,000 Grant for Veteran Small Businesses in the Bronx

Citizens and Military Warriors recognize first Hope4Heroes grant recipient

BRONX, N.Y.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Citizens today announced a $300,000 grant to empower veteran-owned small business in the Bronx, in partnership with Military Warriors Support Foundation (MWSF) and the Hope4Heroes program. The grant will provide tailored support and resources to strengthen veteran-owned business, such as storefront renovation, new technology and technical training, and includes one year of financial mentorship.

Earlier today, Citizens and MWSF recognized Former U.S. Army Specialist Marisa Estrella, founder of Worldwide Veterans & Family Services, as the first grant recipient. The program will remain open and accept applications through the end of this year, in order to benefit additional veteran-owned businesses. To be considered, applicants must be an honorably discharged veteran and own a business in Bronx County. Interested veterans can apply at

“Citizens has a long-standing commitment to supporting veterans, particularly in under-served communities where small businesses are struggling to recover from the pandemic,” said Brendan Coughlin, Head of Consumer Banking at Citizens. “In the last year, Citizens has worked closely with communities across New York City, understanding that a bank’s true value is in contributing positively to the neighborhood and supporting businesses and customers to realize their dreams. We are excited to build on our 8-year partnership with Military Warriors Support Foundation by expanding to the Bronx.”

The program is the largest corporate grant for veterans in the Bronx and continues Citizens’ deep commitment to fostering neighborhood revitalization and economic development.

“Hope4Heroes is an extraordinary initiative helping veterans all across the country, and we are proud to partner with Citizens to bring the program to the Bronx,” said Ken Eakes, Executive Director at MWSF. “There are many hurdles to overcome while running a small business and operating in a borough like the Bronx, where recovery has been stalled. Citizens and MWSF have a track record of supporting small businesses and seeing the results of our support extend to the communities around them.”

“I am grateful for this amazing grant and invaluable support for my business, and I want to thank Citizens and MWSF for making this happen,” said Marisa Estrella, Former U.S. Army Specialist and founder, Worldwide Veterans and Family Services. “The Bronx is my home, and I am proud to start here, serving veterans in my neighborhood. Rehabilitation of low-income veterans is critical to help them transition to civilian life and continue contributing to their communities. My goal is to help homeless or at-risk veterans have better and dignified lives. Citizens and MWSF are helping make my vision a reality.”

Since entering the NYC Metro market in February with retail branches, Citizens has hosted several community programs across the city supporting open streets and night markets and providing grants and support for small businesses and workforce development. Citizens has partnered with a number of local organizations including LISC, Ukrainian Women’s League, Think!Chinatown, Rockaway Development & Revitalization Corporation, the Ocean Bay Community Development Corporation, and Pursuit.

About Citizens Financial Group, Inc.

Citizens Financial Group, Inc. is one of the nation’s oldest and largest financial institutions, with $224.7 billion in assets as of September 30, 2022. Headquartered in Providence, Rhode Island, Citizens offers a broad range of retail and commercial banking products and services to individuals, small businesses, middle-market companies, large corporations and institutions. Citizens helps its customers reach their potential by listening to them and by understanding their needs in order to offer tailored advice, ideas and solutions. In Consumer Banking, Citizens provides an integrated experience that includes mobile and online banking, a full-service customer contact center and the convenience of approximately 3,400 ATMs and approximately 1,200 branches in 14 states and the District of Columbia. Consumer Banking products and services include a full range of banking, lending, savings, wealth management and small business offerings. In Commercial Banking, Citizens offers a broad complement of financial products and solutions, including lending and leasing, deposit and treasury management services, foreign exchange, interest rate and commodity risk management solutions, as well as loan syndication, corporate finance, merger and acquisition, and debt and equity capital markets capabilities. More information is available at or visit us on Twitter, LinkedIn or Facebook.

About Military Warriors Support Foundation (MWSF)

Military Warriors Support Foundation is a 501(c)(3) non-profit charity founded by LTG Leroy Sisco (Ret) in 2007. Its mission over the last 15 years is to provide programs that facilitate a smooth and successful transition for our nation’s combat heroes and Gold Star families. Its programs focus on housing and homeownership, recreational activities, transportation assistance and leadership development. For more information on Military Warriors Support Foundation and all its programs, please visit


Eleni Garbis



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