The 2021 TD Ready Challenge grants will support 15 non-profit and charitable organizations in Canada and the U.S. dedicated to addressing predicted learning loss as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic
TORONTO, Jan. 26, 2022 /CNW/ – TD Bank Group (TD) is proud to award a total of CDN$10 million in grants to 15 charitable organizations in Canada and the U.S. that are working on addressing predicted learning loss in math and reading as a result of school closures and the shift to remote and virtual learning during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Research predictsi that the interruptions to education resulting from the pandemic are expected to have serious ramifications for generations to come, particularly among students from Indigenous and racialized communities, low-income households, those with disabilities, or those with limited access to technology.
The grants, provided through the 2021 TD Ready Challenge, will help community organizations to implement innovative interventions to help disproportionately impacted students in grades K-12 catch up and minimize future loss.
“Intermittent school closures and in-class learning disruptions over the last two years have created significant challenges for both students and teachers. Through the 2021 TD Ready Challenge, we are proud to provide funding to 15 organizations that are working to scale innovative programs designed to help tackle predicted learning loss. Their efforts will help create opportunities for students so that they can feel more confident about their futures and have the opportunity to succeed in a changing world,” said Janice Farrell Jones, Senior Vice President, Sustainability and Corporate Citizenship, TD Bank Group.
Launched in 2018, the TD Ready Challenge is an annual North American initiative designed to help solve real-life issues impacting people in our communities by providing grants to non-profit and charitable organizations. It is a key component of the Bank’s corporate citizenship platform, the TD Ready Commitment.
From more than 300 applications received between July 12-August 26, 2021, 15 non-profit and charitable organizations were chosen following three rounds of evaluation, including a virtual judging panel. The grants received by each TD Ready Challenge recipient range from $325,000 to $1 million in their local currency to help scale their solutions to combat predicted learning loss as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Learn more about the selected solutions for the 2021 TD Ready Challenge below using descriptions provided directly by each of the 15 recipients:
$1 million CAD / $1 million USD recipients:
BGC Canada (Formerly Boys and Girls Clubs of Canada): Raising Readers in a Post Pandemic World – BGC Canada powered by Hoot Reading (Canada)
“Raising Readers in a Post Pandemic World: BGC Canada powered by Hoot Reading will provide 1:1, evidence-based remote literacy tutoring to over 2,500 children over the course of one year to address pandemic related learning loss. We will deliver over 12,500 hours of tutoring to the most in-need kids across Canada to provide equitable access to education at a critical time for our kids.”
The Education Fund, Inc.: Edible Outdoor Eco-Labs to Accelerate Learning (Florida, U.S.)
“Via outdoor eco-labs installed on school grounds, The Education Fund provides thousands of students with multi-layered, hands-on lessons to accelerate academic success – 67% of students surveyed improved their science proficiency in 2020-21 using this methodology, while adding native fresh food and tree canopy to concrete-ridden marginalized neighborhoods in Miami-Dade County.”
Strong Start Charitable Organization: Letters, Sounds and Words (Ontario, Canada)
“Letters, Sounds and Words is an evidence-based, high impact early literacy intervention program for children ages 5-9, delivered in partnership with school boards and schools across Ontario. Children are paired with trained community volunteers who visit schools to work one-one-one with them, playing carefully designed games and activities. The 10-week program helps children develop foundational literacy skills. Support from TD Ready Challenge will enable Strong Start to help an additional 9,000 children.”
Tech Spark Canada: Spark Plug – Democratizing Education through AI and Data-driven Personalized Learning (Canada)
“Spark Plug uses artificial intelligence and predictive data analytics to personalize learning experiences in reading and math for Black, Indigenous and People of Colour (BIPOC) middle school students. We use a proprietary algorithm to identify each student’s intelligence type and learning level so we can send personalized culturally responsive content to their devices to increase their unique understanding of reading and math concepts.”
$750,000 CAD / $625,000 USD recipients:
LUCY Outreach: Lifting Up Camden’s Youth Inside & Outside of the Classroom (New Jersey, U.S.)
“Since the founding of the organization, LUCY (‘Lifting Up Camden’s Youth’) Outreach was established to address disproportionate learning loss and continues to use innovative programs and support services to address this loss, especially in math and reading. LUCY fills this gap through after school, evening, weekend, and summer programs, including college and career readiness.”
The McKenna Institute at the University of New Brunswick: Indigenous Youth Digital Acceleration Program (New Brunswick, Canada)
“The Digital Acceleration program bridges the digital divide faced by Indigenous youth by employing an integrated, hands-on approach to learning, designed to build on a variety of STEM topics including (but not limited to) mathematics, technology, computer literacy, biology and sustainability to one of the youngest and fastest growing demographics in Canada.”
The Reading Partnership in collaboration with the Canadian Children’s Literacy Foundation: Scaling ‘Reading Partnership for Parents’ (RPP) (Canada)
“The Reading Partnership will address learning loss by scaling ‘Reading Partnership for Parents’ (RPP) which helps parents teach their kids in grades K-1 to read, and by equipping organizations, through a train-the-trainer program, to deliver RPP. With 10 years of successfully engaging racialized families in high-potential, low-income communities, RPP will reach 736 families nationally.”
University of Calgary: Math Minds (Canada)
“The Math Minds model has been proven to have a significant, year-over-year impact on student learning across grades 1-6. By sharing Math Minds findings and professional learning resources, we will equip current and pre-service teachers and education leaders with teaching strategies so they may start using them as soon as possible to improve learner experience, generally, and alleviate student learning loss caused by the pandemic, specifically.”
$375,000 – $500,000 CAD / $325,000 – $425,000 USD recipients:
The Arc Prince George’s County: Catalyst Project (Maryland, U.S.)
“The Arc’s Catalyst Project will address the learning loss suffered by students with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD) in Prince George’s County, Maryland. It will encompass multiple supports including case management, occupational and speech therapy, tutoring, employment readiness, and connection to public benefits.”
Codman Academy Foundation: The Codman Academy Tutorial Program (Massachusetts, U.S.)
“The Codman Academy Tutorial Program provides students with additional learning support inside and outside the classroom with one-on-one or small group tutoring during Skills Block (structured academic support time). The tutorial also aims to use evidence from assessments administered during remote learning to address learning loss.”
Immigrant and Refugee Community Organization of Manitoba Inc.: Scaling-Up Holistically – An Integrated Learning Model for Newcomer Refugee Youth (Manitoba, Canada)
“The Scaling-Up initiative is a blended in-person and online after school enrichment program that offers hands on learning opportunities in the classroom and community, and uses a holistic framework that considers youths’ emotional, social, and academic needs. A balance of group and 1-1 settings aids in education recovery because each student receives tailored, meaningful, and timely support.”
Kids Code Jeunesse: Building Sustainable Learning Pathways (Quebec, Canada)
“From a fun and immersive coding introduction to a sustainable learning environment, we’ll use coding as a catalyst to enhance learners’ math skills outcomes. We’ll partner with youth serving community organizations who serve historically marginalized and racialized learners to be part of their extra-curricular program activities.”
MY TURN: Project Complete (New Hampshire, U.S.)
“Project Complete is an expansion of MY TURN’s existing High School Equivalency Test (HiSET) Academy targeting those young people who fell off track during virtual learning and are seeking alternative pathways to obtain their secondary credentials. Project Complete offers comprehensive HiSET Prep and post-secondary planning in partnership with our WIOA Out-of-School Youth Workforce Development Program.”
South Asian Youth Centre: SAYA Elmhurst Center Academic Readiness + Mentoring Initiative (New York, U.S.)
“South Asian Youth Centre will restructure and expand our mentorship and academic readiness initiative by providing stipends to mentors, supporting existing staff members who oversee this work, and hiring a part-time Academic Readiness Coordinator and SAT Instructor. The goal of the initiative is to ensure sustainable academic gains and minimize learning loss in the areas of math, reading, writing, and communication.”
Victoria Native Friendship Centre: Victoria Native Friendship Centre Bruce Parisian Library Reading Hub (British Columbia, Canada)
“The Victoria Native Friendship Centre’s Bruce Parisian Library will become a Reading Hub for in-person and online cultural programming for urban Indigenous pre-school, and K-12 school children. The Library Team, Elders, and volunteers will read to children while Indigenous authors will be invited to speak to schools and to online book groups.”
To learn more about the 2021 grant recipients and the TD Ready Challenge, visit www.td.com/readychallenge.
About the TD Ready Commitment
TD has a long-standing commitment to enriching the lives of its customers, colleagues and communities. As part of its corporate citizenship platform, the TD Ready Commitment, TD is targeting CDN $1 billion (U.S. $775 million) in total by 2030 towards community giving in four areas critical to help open doors for a more inclusive and sustainable tomorrow – Financial Security, Vibrant Planet, Connected Communities and Better Health. Through the TD Ready Commitment, TD aspires to link its business, philanthropy and human capital to help people feel more confident – not just about their finances, but also in their ability to achieve their personal goals in a changing world. For further information, visit td.com/tdreadycommitment.
About TD Bank Group
The Toronto-Dominion Bank and its subsidiaries are collectively known as TD Bank Group (“TD” or the “Bank”). TD is the fifth largest bank in North America by assets and serves more than 26 million customers in three key businesses operating in a number of locations in financial centres around the globe: Canadian Retail, including TD Canada Trust, TD Auto Finance Canada, TD Wealth (Canada), TD Direct Investing, and TD Insurance; U.S. Retail, including TD Bank, America’s Most Convenient Bank®, TD Auto Finance U.S., TD Wealth (U.S.), and an investment in The Charles Schwab Corporation; and Wholesale Banking, including TD Securities. TD also ranks among the world’s leading online financial services firms, with more than 15 million active online and mobile customers. TD had CDN$1.7 trillion in assets on October 31, 2021. The Toronto-Dominion Bank trades under the symbol “TD” on the Toronto and New York Stock Exchanges.
 Dorn, E. et al. (2020), COVID-19 and learning loss—disparities grow and students need help, McKinsey & Company, New York https://www.mckinsey.com/industries/public-and-social-sector/our-insights/covid-19-and-learning-loss-disparities-grow-and-students-need-help