The 2021 TD Ready Challenge will support Strong Start to address predicted learning loss as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic

WATERLOO, January 26, 2022 – Strong Start has been named one of the 15 recipients of the 2021 TD Ready Challenge presented by TD Bank Group.

COVID-19 has not just been a health crisis, it has had deep social and economic impacts on our communities. Throughout the pandemic, many North American schools were forced to repeatedly close and reopen to curb the spread of the virus, with classes abruptly moving online. As a result of these disruptions, research predicts that students will disproportionately experience significant learning loss due to factors such as race, ethnicity, socioeconomic status and geographic location.

“The goal of the TD Ready Commitment is to help people feel confident about their future and create opportunities to succeed in a changing world, and Strong Start has brought forward an innovative solution to help disproportionately impacted students catch up on their learning and minimize future loss,” said Janice Farrell Jones, Senior Vice President, Sustainability and Corporate Citizenship, TD Bank Group. “Being a grant recipient of the 2021 TD Ready Challenge is a testament to the creativity and dedication of Strong Start to helping open doors to a more inclusive and sustainable tomorrow. We look forward to the impact this year’s 15 recipients will have as they put their solutions into action.”

“When COVID-19 first hit and its impact on children’s literacy and learning was quickly being realized, we at Strong Start felt strongly that we would have an important role to play in the recovery from the pandemic,” said Machelle Denison, Strong Start’s Executive Director.  “With long breaks from classroom learning at a critical time in children’s development, more children than ever will need support to help them catch up. TD’s investment in Strong Start at this critical time, will allow us to rapidly expand our high-impact Letters, Sounds and Words program and help more children learn to read.”

A key component of the TD Ready Commitment, the Bank’s corporate citizenship platform, The TD Ready Challenge is an annual initiative aimed at providing funding to programs that are focused on helping to address societal issues. TD established the TD Ready Challenge in 2018, and has since provided $40MM (CDN) in funding to 50 organizations across its North American footprint to support scalable solutions identified within the four drivers of The TD Ready Commitment: Financial Security, Vibrant Planet, Connected Communities and Better Health.

In total, TD awarded $10 million (CDN) for the 2021 TD Ready Challenge to organizations in Canada and the U.S. that are addressing predicted learning loss in math and reading.

About Strong Start

Strong Start® is a registered Canadian charity (82594 8060 RR0001) that helps children learn to read. Its programs involve working with children directly in addition to providing resources for families to support the development of strong literacy skills. Strong Start works through partnerships with schools, community centres, educators, and thousands of volunteers to create lifelong readers. For twenty years, Strong Start has been helping children and families across Ontario with the flagship program, Letters, Sounds and Words™.

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