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INNER CITY KIDS GET 'SHARE' OF NEWARK MINORITY-OWNED BANK AND THE AMERICAN DREAM

 INNER CITY KIDS GET 'SHARE' OF NEWARK MINORITY-OWNED BANK
 AND THE AMERICAN DREAM
 NEWARK. N.J., June 29 /PRNewswire/ -- Some 650 inner city kids are about to become bank shareholders in a bold program to strengthen a minority-owned bank and encourage youngsters to invest in themselves and in American business.
 The program will be unveiled Tuesday, June 30 at City National Bank here, the only African American owned and managed commercial bank that exists between Baltimore and Boston.
 Participating in the announcement will be Newark Mayor Sharpe James; Louis Prezeau, president and chief executive officer of the bank; Saul Cooperman, former New Jersey Commissioner of Education who now is full- time president and chief executive of READY (Rigorous Educational Assistance for Deserving Youth Foundation, Inc.), a private Newark charitable organization which will implement the program; and, Barbara Bell, president of the Amelior Foundation which is funding the program through a related charitable organization, READY Grants, Inc.
 Under the program, $300,000 in capital will be invested in new City National Bank securities by READY Grants, Inc. and, shares of stock will be allocated to the READY participating youngsters. The shares will be held by READY Grants for the young "owners" who must graduate from high school in order to receive the shares from READY Grants.
 Each participating youngster will be allocated about $500 worth of stock based on market value at the outset. The investment will earn 6 percent. When a participant graduates from high school, the participant will receive the stock from READY Grants and can choose to sell the shares at market value or retain them.
 The shares will represent a significant percentage of City National Bank's capitalization, Foundation officials said.
 The READY program and the investment in City National Bank securities is being sponsored by the Amelior Foundation of Morristown, N.J., which implements programs throughout the country designed to solve inner-city problems. A major goal of the Foundation is to create entrepreneurial opportunities for economically disadvantaged children and help them to understand, appreciate and participate in the ownership of property and businesses.
 In addition to the financial incentive of owning stock, City National Bank will hold seminars for READY participants and their families to teach them about banking and banking services. The bank also will provide part-time summer employment for several READY children interested in a career in banking.
 "We want to give these kids a financial incentive to graduate from high school and also learn about and participate in the economic mainstream that is denied them by their social circumstances," Cooperman said. "At the same time, the program will strengthen a minority owned bank's capital position and expand the vital role it plays in the financial life of Newark."
 The president of City National Bank said the program will "infuse new capital and new energy into our bank." Prezeau became president of City National in 1989 after the bank had been placed under regulatory supervision.
 "This is not only an opportunity to give new hope to hundreds of Newark kids, but the program will expand our ability to provide more financial services to the urban communities of New Jersey," Prezeau declared. "If we can help and motivate these youngsters, I can envision a day when some of our major customers, shareholders, employees, and maybe even our new bank president will come from their ranks."
 The READY program was started in 1987 with funding provided by the Amelior Foundation of Morristown. READY has a staff of some 20 people who are working with 650 Newark children of elementary school age in a comprehensive program of after-school education, mentoring, business training, and parental guidance.
 -0- 6/29/92
 /NOTE TO EDITORS: Program will be unveiled tomorrow, Tuesday, June 30 at 10:30 a.m. at the office of City National Bank, 900 Broad Street, Newark, near City Hall, please call Dick Smith for additional information or for interviews with the major participants./
 /CONTACT: Dick Smith or Jim McQueeny of Kohm Associates, 201-265-6550, for Amelior Foundation/ CO: Amelior Foundation; READY Grants, Inc.; City National Bank ST: New Jersey IN: SU:


LR-OS -- NY058 -- 4790 06/29/92 14:04 EDT
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Date:Jun 29, 1992
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