The 2021 TD Ready Challenge
The goal of the TD Ready Commitment has always been to help people feel confident about their future and help create opportunities to succeed in an ever-changing world. When the COVID-19 pandemic emerged as a public health crisis it quickly impacted nearly every aspect of our lives, creating unprecedented challenges for communities and making people feel less secure than ever before.
The pandemic has not just been a health crisis. It has also had deep and dramatic social and economic impacts on communities. In response to the health and safety measures put in place to reduce the spread of COVID-19, many schools in North America have been forced to temporarily close, or close and open on a sporadic basis, while simultaneously developing alternative ways of teaching. School systems were understandably overwhelmed and unequipped to respond when the pandemic emerged1. Research is predicting that students across North America will experience significant learning loss due to remote and virtual learning2. While there are numerous school subjects that are and will be challenged by this new learning environment, math and reading are of particular concern to teachers at this time3
Learning loss will not affect all students equally and a greater impact is being predicted for communities such as:
- Students from low-income households
- Students with limited access to internet
- Indigenous and Racialized students1
- Students with disabilities4
Research predicts that remote and virtual learning may increase learning loss among disproportionately impacted students, who include those who do not have consistent access in the home to:
- Technology and the internet;
- A private space to study;
- Tutors; and
- Teacher supervision.
While we are all hopeful that all students in North America will have an opportunity to return to in-person classes, learning has already been lost and innovative interventions will be needed to help students catch up and minimize future loss.
Addressing Disproportionate Learning Loss:
The pandemic has disrupted elementary and high school education across North America. The transition to alternative ways of teaching has created challenges for both students and teachers due to uneven implementation and unequal access to technology. That's why this year, the focus of the 2021 TD Ready Challenge is on supporting innovative solutions to address the predicted learning loss in math and reading for disproportionately impacted students in grades K-12 as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The 2021 Challenge
The 2021 TD Ready Challenge seeks to provide financial support to organizations that have designed innovative, scalable and/or replicable solutions to help address the predicted pandemic-caused learning loss in math and reading faced by disproportionately impacted students in grades K-12 in communities across North America.
As done for the 2020 TD Ready Challenge in order to help fund more solutions in response to the learning loss needs created by COVID-19, the 2021 TD Ready Challenge will continue with offering a total commitment of $10 million CAD, which will be available through one-time grants ranging from $375,000 CAD to $1 million CAD each for Canadian organizations and $325,000 USD to $1 million USD each for US organizations. for initiatives that address this year's problem statement.
We will have a clear preference for programs:
- That support disproportionately impacted students experiencing learning loss due to COVID-19 due to factors such as race, ethnicity, socioeconomic status and geographic location.
- Have wide demographic or geographical reach in areas where TD operates. This includes all of Canada and specific states in the US (map and listing of eligible US states found here).
- Which will use the grant to scale and / or replicate solutions to additional communities or populations (or pilot projects with material evidence of viable success and scalability).
- Have a clear evaluation and measurement process to track impact.
- Where the organization has not received any funds or grants from TD of $250,000 CAD or $250,000 USD or more from August 31, 2020 through to and including August 31, 2021.
Additional considerations include:
- We will not fund grant applications for initiatives that are not innovative in nature, meaning they do not enable new approaches. For example, initiatives that purchase educational materials or school equipment or whose purpose is to write research papers are not eligible.
- We will not fund grant applications for initiatives that are solely focused on technology supplies such as laptops, modems and other computer or computer-related devices, nor will we fund grant applications for internet access improvement plans including increasing internet speed and/or internet networks.
- As part of the application process, TD requires an understanding of the financial status of your organization. If your organization's audited statement(s) reflect(s) a recent deficit, please explain the reason for this deficit in your application. Please note that a deficit will not impact your eligibility for a TD Ready Challenge grant.
- Elementary and secondary schools
- CEGEPs (Quebec)
- Religious organizations (i.e., organizations whose primary purpose is religious practice or worship). However, faith-based organizations that provide programs and services for broader community benefit, may be considered.
- Sports teams and sporting events
- Individuals or individual pursuits/fundraising initiatives
- Recreational groups (lodges, fraternal clubs, self-improvement organizations, etc.)
- Conferences, trade shows, fairs
- Production of videos, DVD’s and television shows
- TD Employees
- Recipients of 2019 or 2020 TD Ready Challenge grant
Challenge Structure and Calendar
An internal TD North American Judging Panel will review applications and select applications to move into final round of reviews.
TD Ready Challenge finalists to be notified and next steps will be shared.
A TD North American Executive Judging panel and subject matter experts will assess applications that move into final round of review and determine the selected recipients.
2021 TD Ready Challenge successful recipients will be selected and notified.
1 Dorn, E. et al. (2020), COVID-19 and student learning in the United States: The hurt could last a lifetime, McKinsey & Company, New York https://www.mckinsey.com/~/media/McKinsey/Industries/Public%20Sector/Our%20Insights/COVID-19%20and%20student%20learning%20in%20the%20United%20States%20The%20hurt%20could%20last%20a%20lifetime/COVID-19-and-student-learning-in-the-United-States-FINAL.pdf
2 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
3 Bennett, P (2021) How will the education system help students overcome COVID learning loss?, Institute for Research on Public Policy, Canada https://policyoptions.irpp.org/magazines/february-2021/how-will-the-education-system-help-students-overcome-covid-learning-loss/
4 Nelson, A (2020) How COVID-19 Has Affected Special Education Students, Tufts Now, Massachusetts https://now.tufts.edu/articles/how-covid-19-has-affected-special-education-students