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TD Ready Challenge Awards More than $3M in Grants

Cherry Hill-based TD announced that six US organizations will be awarded grants through the 2021 TD Ready Challenge totaling $3,025,000. The recipients are developing innovative, scalable solutions to assist disproportionately impacted students in grades K-12 across the Bank’s Maine-to-Florida footprint who are experiencing pandemic-related learning loss in math and reading.

Research predicts that students from low-income households, students with limited internet access, indigenous and racialized students (Dorn, 2020), as well as students with disabilities (Nelson, 2020) will experience even more considerable setbacks as a result of the switch to virtual learning. While not all students will be affected equally, these communities in particular will feel a greater impact and face tougher challenges as a result learning loss.

“As a mother who has experienced the challenges of remote learning firsthand, I am thrilled to support these incredible organizations that are finding meaningful ways to help those students who have fallen behind catch up. At TD, we continue to focus our efforts on making sure the communities we serve have an equitable COVID-19 recovery and I am eager to see how this year’s grantees will change lives and offer opportunities for individuals driving the future of innovation, talent and growth,” said Shelley Sylva, Head of U.S Corporate Citizenship at TD Bank, America’s Most Convenient Bank®.

“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 will 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 so that they can succeed in a changing world,” said Janice Farrell Jones, Senior Vice President, Sustainability and Corporate Citizenship at TD Bank Group.

The TD Ready Challenge is TD’s annual North American initiative recognizing organizations helping to address a problem statement connected to one of the four drivers of the TD Ready Commitment, the Bank’s corporate citizenship platform: Financial Security, Vibrant Planet, Connected Communities and Better Health. Now in its fourth year, the TD Ready Challenge continues to focus on helping create a more inclusive and sustainable future by invigorating communities and encouraging its customers to feel confident about their own futures.

More than 300 applicants submitted their organizations’ initiatives for consideration in this year’s TD Ready Challenge. Each application was rigorously evaluated and narrowed down to a select few submissions which were then reviewed by a panel of TD executives and experts in the space. The panel, with input from TD employees, selected a total of 15 U.S. and Canadian organizations to receive grants ranging from $325,000 to $1,000,000.

The U.S. recipients of the 2021 TD Ready Challenge grants are:

The Education FundEdible Outdoor Eco-Labs to Accelerate Learning – Metro Florida – Awarded $1,000,000
This outdoor eco-lab initiative targets schools where the majority of students qualify for federal aid and have limited access to fresh, healthy food. The project will expand upon pre-existing sustainable eco-labs focused on science to further incorporate nature, accelerate learning– particularly in math– and foster connections with student peers.

LUCY OutreachLifting Up Camden’s Youth Inside & Outside of the Classroom – Metro Pennsylvania/Metro New Jersey – Awarded $625,000
This outreach program will focus on providing assistance to low-income Camden city and county students ages 10-19 in their progression to the next grade, including college and career advancements upon high school graduation. LUCY provides support in homework assistance, college and career counseling, workshops and more to address disproportionate learning loss, especially in reading and math.

South Asian Youth ActionSAYA Elmhurst Center Academic Readiness + Mentoring Initiative – Metro New York – Awarded $425,000
SAYA’s peer mentorship and academic readiness initiative focuses on youth living in Queens neighborhoods— the epicenter of the pandemic during its height. The team plans to formalize and scale their offerings of peer mentorship in order to increase resilience in students, ensure sustainable academic gains and lessen the learning loss gap.

Codman Academy FoundationThe Codman Academy Tutorial Program – Southern New England – Awarded $325,000
The Codman Academy Tutorial Program provides support to high-needs students in urban, low-income communities and schools. The academy’s expansion of the program through additional hiring will help the team reach their goal of having all students perform at the required level of their grade and every student meet their core standard.

The Arc Prince George’s CountyCatalyst Project – Metro Mid-South – Awarded $325,000
The Arc’s Catalyst Project aims to support students with intellectual and developmental disabilities who have been especially hard hit by the COVID-19 pandemic. This program will provide additional academic support, therapies, work-based learning experiences and other services to recover invaluable learning and experiences for special needs students lost during the pandemic.

MY TURNProject Complete – Northern New England – Awarded $325,000
Project Complete’s work targets the dropout crisis created by the COVID-19 pandemic and increased youth workforce participation within Manchester, New Hampshire. Through individual service plans combining elements in career exploration, occupational training and academic instruction among others, the team aims to offer alternative pathways to high school completion for students who suffered from learning loss and disengagement amid the health crisis.

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