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Helping Address COVID-19 Learning Loss: Winners of 4th Annual TD Ready Challenge Announced

Jan. 26, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — TD today announced that six U.S. organizations will be awarded grants through the 2021 TD Ready Challenge totaling $3,025,000 USD. 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.
Shelly Sylva, TD Bank, SVP, Head of Social Impact, answers OTP questions about the program.

How did this idea move from an idea to reality? What inspired it?
TD has always had a strong commitment to giving back to the communities we serve, and what we saw four years ago was that the world was changing really quickly. Change can bring enormous opportunity, but it can also cause disruptions and increase exclusion. So, we created the TD Ready Commitment, our corporate citizenship platform, to help guide our community and philanthropic investments in a way that helps people feel more confident about their own future while also helping to create a more inclusive future.
The TD Ready Challenge is a key component of our corporate citizenship platform and is focused annually on addressing an issue connected to one of the four drivers of the TD Ready Commitment. COVID-19 has continued to change our world and create uncertainty in our future, particularly for children. That’s why this year we felt it was so important to focus on addressing learning loss. The solutions presented by this year’s TD Ready Challenge recipients will be critical to ensuring an equitable COVID recovery in these communities and mitigating the negative impact learning loss could have for generations to come. 

 Why is it important to meet the people where they are and not just at your door?
I think what makes TD really different is the longstanding relationships we have with community-based organizations across our footprint. The constant touchpoints we have with these trusted community partners allow us to have a pulse on the pain people are experiencing or the challenges people are struggling with. When you have these kinds of relationships, you know that your support isn’t just going to what you think the problems are, but what the problems actually are.
 We know from research and conversations with our partners that learning loss will have a disproportionate impact on students from low-income households, students with limited internet access, indigenous and racialized students, as well as students with disabilities. Because each community is different, the support each TD Ready Challenge recipient will provide to help students overcome any learning loss will be tailored to the community.

 Can you give us one or two success stories in central Brooklyn related to TD Bank’s commitment to the community?
 TD has a strong commitment to the communities we serve, including in New York. Last year alone, we provided 167 grants across the state and 113 directly in New York City.
 In response to the devastation caused by Hurricane Ida, we provided a grant to the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce that supported small businesses across Brooklyn. One of those recipients was Berta Hernendez-Villa, the owner of La Petit Chambre. La Petit Chambre was barely open four months before the hurricane hit and the relief funds we provided helped her replace furniture, fixtures and other damaged merchandise.
Submitted in 2020 and awarded in 2021, the TD Charitable Foundation awarded a grant through the 2020 TD Housing for Everyone competition to IMPACCT Brooklyn for their eviction prevention initiative. This initiative helped families in Central Brooklyn find safe housing and avoid eviction by creating a Tenant Engagement Specialist position to provide information and coordinate resources for the community.

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