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Honored to be the first-ever $1 million USD TD Ready Challenge winner!

The Education Fund Receives First-Ever $1 Million USD Grant from 2021 TD Ready Challenge
The 2021 TD Ready Challenge will help The Education Fund address predicted learning loss as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic


MIAMI, Jan. 26, 2022 – The Education Fund, a nonprofit dedicated to developing innovative programs for public school students and educators in Miami-Dade County, was recently 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% 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 our 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."

“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,” says 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 Ready Challenge and for a full list of this year's winners, please visit


About The Education Fund
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. Visit Connect with us at @educationfundmiami on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and TikTok, and @educationfund on Twitter.


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