The Education Fund, a nonprofit dedicated to developing innovative programs for public school students and educators in Miami-Dade County, recently was named by TD as a 2021 TD Ready Challenge recipient, receiving a $1 million USD grant for its “Edible Outdoor Eco-labs to Accelerate Learning” programming.
Through these Eco-labs, which are forest gardens installed on school grounds, The Education Fund provides students with hands-on lessons in science. Accelerating students’ academic success — with 67 percent of students improving their science proficiency — the program also brings native fresh food and tree canopy to
concrete-ridden neighborhoods in Miami-Dade County.
Thanks to the $1 million TD Ready Challenge grant, tens of thousands of students in 51 program schools will receive a nature-based, hands-on approach to math that builds on students’ knowledge while eliciting student thinking. Thanks to TD, The Education Fund and Miami-Dade County Public Schools will ameliorate the significant academic losses in math suffered by students due to the pandemic.
Schools across North America repeatedly closed and reopened throughout the
COVID-19 pandemic to curb the spread of the virus, with students and teachers
quickly adapting to online instruction. As a result, research predicted students could
experience significant learning loss. Given the potential widespread and long-
lasting impacts of predicted learning loss, the issue was selected as the problem
statement for the 2021 TD Ready Challenge. Eligible non-profit and charitable
organizations were encouraged to submit their innovative, scalable solutions to
assist disproportionately impacted students in grades K-12 who are experiencing
pandemic-related learning loss in math and reading.
“The support from the TD Ready Commitment will help expand The Education
Fund's innovative programming through their outdoor Eco-labs to even more
students. This programming is critical to not only helping accelerate learning and
overcome pandemic-related learning loss for some of our most vulnerable students,
but also fostering connections among classmates,” said Nick Miceli, regional
president for Metro Florida at TD Bank.
“As the first-ever $1 million USD TD Ready Challenge recipient here in the U.S., we
are incredibly thankful for all The Education Fund does in our local community and
can't wait to see the impact this support will create. Congratulations on this
incredible accomplishment,” Miceli added.
“This $1 million grant from the TD Ready Challenge will help us take a huge step
forward in how we use our outdoor Eco-labs, expanding the power of these outdoor
forest classrooms to significantly accelerate math knowledge and performance,”
said Linda Lecht, president of The Education Fund. “With this grant, we change the
dynamic for students, who have lost almost 20 percentage points in math
achievement. Studies show students who learn in nature are more engaged, more
attentive, more self-regulated, and less stressed. To recover from COVID-induced
learning loss, students desperately need the cutting-edge learning methods our
program and this TD grant provide.”
A key component of the TD Ready Commitment, the bank's corporate citizenship
platform, the TD Ready Challenge is an annual initiative aimed at helping provide
funding to programs focused on helping to solve societal issues. Acting as a
springboard for social innovation, TD established the TD Ready Challenge in 2018,
and has since provided more than 40 million CAD 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 CAD for the 2021 TD Ready Challenge to
organizations in Canada and the U.S. that are addressing predicted learning loss in
math and reading.
To learn more about the TD Ready Challenge and for a full list of this year's
winners, visit www.td.com/thereadychallenge.
Raising more than $70 million to improve education for public school students in
Miami-Dade County, The Education Fund focuses on bringing innovative methods
to our schools, informing the community about public education, and encouraging
private sector investment in public education.
The Education Fund is currently directing Food Forests for Schools, a first-in-the-
nation effort to install food forests as Eco-labs on school grounds; Ideas with
IMPACT, Miami-Dade’s only district-wide best practices network; Ocean Bank
Center for Educational Materials, the state’s first free-supplies warehouse and
distribution program, and SmartPath, a college and careers service for students.