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

BRONX, NY–(BUSINESS WIRE). The grant provides tailored support and resources to strengthen the veteran-owned business, such as: B. renovation of storefronts, new technologies and technical training, and includes one year of financial mentoring.

Citizens and MWSF today recognized former US Army Specialist Marisa Estrella, founder of Worldwide Veterans & Family Services, as the inaugural grantee. The program will remain open through the end of this year and is accepting applications to support additional veteran-owned businesses. To be considered, applicants must be an honorably discharged veteran and own a Bronx County business. Interested veterans can apply at

“Citizens has long been committed to supporting veterans, particularly in underserved communities where small businesses are struggling to recover from the pandemic,” said Brendan Coughlin, Citizens’ head of consumer banking. “Over the past year, Citizens has worked closely with communities throughout New York City, understanding that the true value of a bank is in making a positive contribution to the neighborhood and helping businesses and customers achieve their dreams. We’re excited to build on our 8-year partnership with the Military Warriors Support Foundation by expanding into the Bronx.”

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

“Hope4Heroes is an extraordinary initiative helping veterans 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 when running a small business and operating in a county like the Bronx where the recovery has stalled. Citizens and MWSF have a track record of supporting small businesses and are seeing the results of our support spread to the communities around them.”

“I am grateful for this amazing scholarship and invaluable support to my company, and I want to thank Citizens and MWSF for making this possible,” said Marisa Estrella, former U.S. Army Specialist and founder of Worldwide Veterans and Family services. “The Bronx is my home and I’m proud to start here and serve veterans in my neighborhood. The rehabilitation of low-income veterans is critical to helping them transition into civilian life and continue to contribute to their communities. My goal is to help homeless or at-risk veterans live a better and more dignified life. Citizens and MWSF are helping to make my vision a reality.”

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

About Citizens Financial Group, Inc.

Citizens Financial Group, Inc. is one of the oldest and largest financial institutions in the country with assets of $224.7 billion (as of September 30, 2022). Headquartered in Providence, Rhode Island, Citizens offers a wide range of retail and business banking products and services to individuals, small businesses, medium-sized businesses, large corporations and institutions. Citizens helps its clients realize their potential by listening to them and understanding their needs to provide tailored advice, ideas and solutions. In consumer banking, Citizens offers 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 span a full range of banking, lending, savings, wealth management and small business offerings. In commercial banking, Citizens offers a wide range 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, mergers and acquisitions, and debt and equity markets. For more information, go to or visit us at TwitterLinkedIn or Facebook.

About the Military Warriors Support Foundation (MWSF)

The Military Warriors Support Foundation is a non-profit 501(c)(3) charity founded in 2007 by LTG Leroy Sisco (Ret). Their mission over the past 15 years has been to provide programs that ensure a smooth and prosperous transition for our nation’s struggle Heroes and Gold Star Families. Its programs focus on housing and home ownership, recreational activities, transportation assistance, and leadership development. For more information about the Military Warriors Support Foundation and all of its programs, visit


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