Citizens Announces Winners of Citizens Chinatown Renewal Fund

December 7, 2022, New York, NY -- Citizens and LISC NY, in partnership with Asian Americans for Equality (AAFE), and Renaissance Economic Development Corporation (EDC), announced today the twenty-two(22) minority-owned small business recipients of the “Citizens Chinatown Renewal Fund,” a $350,000 grant program focused on small businesses in Chinatown. 


The grant was made accessible to all small business owners in Chinatown. Participants entered the grant via a sweepstakes, and every finalist received hands-on, in-person technical assistance from Renaissance EDC staff to submit their application materials. 


“Chinatown embodies the spirit of New York City. It is flush with small businesses that have remained resilient through extraordinarily challenging situations,” said Rebecca O’Connell, Market Executive, Citizens. “With this program, we are supporting them with the tools they need to stay open, adapt, and retain jobs that are a critical source of growth and employment in Chinatown.”


More than 115 businesses entered with support from REDC staff. 75% of businesses are run by immigrants who speak limited English and therefore need assistance. Twenty-two businesses were selected as grant recipients. Of those, 17 businesses are owned by low-income individuals. These grants will help retain an average of four full-time employees, with 88 jobs primarily held by minority, immigrant, and/or low- and moderate-income community residents. 


“We are incredibly proud to partner with ‘Asian Americans for Equality’ and ‘Renaissance Economic Development Corporation’ to support the continued recovery of our neighbors across Chinatown from the economic crisis of these last few years,” said Valerie White, Senior Executive Director of LISC NY. “Entrepreneurship is a key path to closing the racial wealth gap, and these meaningful grants will help ensure the stability and long-term economic vitality of deserving small businesses.”


“AAFE and Renaissance were proud to collaborate with Citizens and LISC NY for this impactful grant program,” said Jessie Lee, managing director of Renaissance Economic Development Corporation. “Chinatown was among the first neighborhoods in New York City to feel the devastating impacts of the pandemic, and the community is still struggling to recover. These grants will make a real difference to 22 dedicated small business owners, immigrant entrepreneurs whose long-term success is so important to preserving the character and vitality of Chinatown.”


The program has been Chinatown’s largest corporate grant in recent years. Since entering the NYC Metro market in February 2022 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 NY, the Ukrainian National Women’s League of America, Think!Chinatown, Rockaway Development & Revitalization Corporation, the Ocean Bay Community Development Corporation, and Pursuit, Inc. 

Please visit this link for more information on Citizens’ entry into the New York metro area. 


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. 



Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) is a national, nonprofit community development financial institution (CDFI) that equips underinvested communities with the capital, strategy, and technical know-how to become places where low- and moderate-income (LMI) people can thrive. As LISC NY works statewide, the NYC and WNY offices will maintain strong local presences with distinct programs, initiatives and local engagement activities targeted for their individual markets. Likewise, LISC NY will expand into rural communities and small towns where they can invest in relevant local markets and prioritize community-based expansion through local organizations, stakeholders, and public-private partnerships. This expansion is expected to help cities and towns in need of social and economic investment and revitalization statewide. LISC NY believes that the time has come to forge a future for New York that eradicates the racial wealth gap for good, protects affordable housing for LMI New Yorkers, and builds pathways of meaningful economic opportunity for all.


About AAFE and Renaissance

Chinatown-based AAFE advances racial, social and economic justice for Asian Americans and other systematically disadvantaged groups. AAFE and its affiliate Renaissance Economic Development Corporation, are nationally recognized as an innovative community development organization and supports immigrant entrepreneurs, offering low-interest loans and training programs. AAFE provides an array of multilingual counseling and educational programs in support of low-income tenants and small businesses.

Press Contact:

Eric Donovan

(781) 375-0039

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