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Building a Comprehensive Community Support Program

An Interview with TD's Andrea Barrack

— May 7, 2020 — Business
In reaction to the impact that the COVID-19 pandemic has had on the not-for-profit sector in recent weeks, TD announced the launch of its Community Resilience Initiative—a program that involves funding, employee engagement efforts, and on-going collaborative work with the organizations that it involves.

The program will see a $25 million (CAD) donation go to organizations that are engaged in community recovery and COVID-19 response efforts. With its donation, TD aims to offer its support to the many organizations that have seen a surge in demand, while also helping them to make sustainable improvements that will allow them to continue to meet community needs.

To learn more about the TD Community Resilience Initiative, we spoke with Andrea Barrack, Global Head of Sustainability and Corporate Citizenship at TD Bank Group.

Can you tell us a little about yourself and your role with TD?

I’ve worked with TD Bank Group for just over three years now. In my current role, I act as the lead champion for social responsibility across the business, and my role is responsible for devising a world-class integrated corporate citizenship strategy that is aligned to business objectives and creates positive social, economic and environmental impacts in the community. I'm particularly proud that TD recently launched the TD Community Resilience Initiative as an extension of the TD Ready Commitment.

What is the TD Community Resilience Initiative, and who will it benefit?

The TD Community Resilience Initiative is a comprehensive program that includes funding, employee engagement and on-going collaboration with organizations and community groups across TD's operating footprint. The TD Community Resilience Initiative will allocate $25 million (CAD) to organizations engaged in COVID-19 response and community recovery. The TD Community Resilience Initiative will primarily benefit the not-for-profit sector—providing them with the funding needed to overcome economic challenges, while continuing to provide critical services to Canadians now and in the upcoming post-crisis recovery period.

How specifically has the not-for-profit sector suffered during the pandemic, and how will TD’s donation seek to help these workers and organizations?

All businesses, organizations and individuals have been greatly impacted by the global COVID-19 health crisis, but the not-for-profit sector has been particularly hard hit, as many of them are struggling to meet the increasing demands on their services and declining revenues. It has also been difficult to fundraise, especially for groups who rely on events and ticket sales. The not-for-profit sector employs 2.4 million Canadians and contributes 8.5% of Canada’s GDP (more than the retail trade industry). With lean operational budgets and very little latitude when hit financially, this sector needs all the support it can get.

Recognizing the significant impact this crisis has had on the not-for-profit sector, TD created the TD Community Resilience Initiative, as part of the TD Ready Commitment, to provide financial aid to the organizations that will play a critical role in getting our economy back on track, and more importantly, in helping strengthen Canadians’ ability to be resilient post-pandemic. Funding from the TD Community Resilience Initiative will help meet the sector’s critical, immediate needs, while also considering what needs to be done for the sector's long-term viability. This includes building the resilience of key organizations through core operating grants and regional community initiatives that are bespoke to each response and recovery situation.

Can you speak to the TD Ready Commitment’s four drivers, and how they’ve impacted TD’s donation decisions?

TD Ready Commitment’s four drivers underscore our belief that to build a more sustainable and inclusive world, we need a multi-pronged approach that recognizes the interconnectedness of health, social, economic and environmental issues. That is why we focus on Connected Communities, Vibrant Planet, Financial Security and Better Health to create positive change.

All of our corporate citizenship efforts and initiatives at TD are rooted in the aspirations we hold behind each one of these drivers. At TD, we believe they are interdependent and work together in synergy to create a better future. To us, that means a future where North Americans have inclusive communities, equitable access to health, a thriving environment for all to enjoy and confidence in their financial future. Because of our four drivers and the interconnectedness between them, when TD makes decisions on how to invest our time and resources, we aspire to address issues through this holistic lens.

What do you hope to accomplish with the TD Community Resilience Initiative?

Our goal for the TD Community Resilience Initiative is to contribute to solving the crisis of today and acting to stabilize the not-for-profit sector to ensure the organizations we need for the future will still be there for us. We believe that through the TD Community Resilience Initiative, we can help support the sector, which will help us prepare for an inclusive and sustainable future—one in which our society can take care of the most vulnerable.

Image Credit: TD