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Partnership in the time of COVID-19

27 May 2020
Like the communities they support, many nonprofits and charities have been hard hit by the pandemic. In times like these, we rely on and appreciate our friends and partners like never before – because they stick with us and support us, even though they too may be under stress and grappling with their own challenges.
Corporate partners play a critical role in sustaining many charitable efforts across Canada. They are frequently generous and their funding is often flexible with clear but lean reporting requirements. They are not afraid to take risks and actively support innovation. They have complementary skill-sets to lend us and their employees often become valuable volunteers and champions in their own right. In the best partnerships, there is a fundamental alliance of values and purpose that only deepens over time, yielding richer collaboration and greater value for both organizations. 
Prosper Canada is fortunate to have excellent corporate partners that embody these qualities and as we have pivoted to address urgent new demands, our corporate partners have pivoted with us, earning our appreciation and thanks.
TD Bank Group, a core funding partner since 2010, is an excellent case in point. TD’s most recent three-year commitment to our Centre For Financial Literacy provided the resources and flexibility we needed to quickly refocus our operations on urgent needs arising from the pandemic. In our case, this meant helping community partners forced by physical distancing to shutter key services, and vulnerable Canadians cut off from community supports that would normally help them to tax file, access income benefits, and solve financial problems.
While we continue to seek funding to fully support our two-year COVID-19 relief and recovery plan, thanks to TD’s flexible support through the TD Ready Commitment, we were able to get to work right away on the following priorities:
  • Providing a single source of accurate emergency benefit and relief information. Our online Financial Relief Navigator offers easy-to-navigate information on all emergency benefits and relief measures offered by federal and provincial/territorial governments, major banks and credit unions, and major utilities (hydro, telephone and internet providers). This includes the type of benefit/relief, who is eligible and how to access it.
  • Quickly equipping community service providers to help people in financial distress.  Our Managing in tough times: COVID-19 toolkit contains links to emergency benefits, tools and resources for individuals seeking help and complementary tools and resources for financial empowerment service providers.
  • Helping municipal partners to launch financial help services.  Prosper Canada staff were able to quickly help the City of Edmonton to design, and train staff to deliver, a new Community Navigator service to help low-income residents access emergency tax filing, benefit and financial help services delivered by local community organizations. This is a key component of Edmonton’s COVID-19 emergency response.
  • Adapting toolkits and training for service delivery in the COVID-19 environment. We have adapted our Budgeting and saving toolkit, Tax filing toolkit, and Financial coaching toolkit for the COVID-19 environment, with new guides and tip sheets to enable service providers to help people in financial crisis to access emergency benefits, reduce expenses, and make the most of their resources. 
  • Expanding our online training capacity. Our new Online Learning Platform in development will enable us to quickly train thousands of service providers across Canada to deliver adapted tax filing, benefit navigation and financial counselling services to Canadians financially impacted by COVID-19.
  • Mobilizing frontline knowledge to inform effective COVID-19 responses. With TD’s support we have been gathering real-time feedback from community partners on the challenges of vulnerable Canadians and translating this into insights and advice for practitioners and policy makers seeking to help Canadians to weather the COVID-19 crisis. We have worked successfully with the Canada Revenue Agency to prevent interruption of income benefits for low-income individuals and helped to develop a safer, more virtual, tax-filing service model that we will support with new toolkits and online training. 
Prosper Canada is grateful to TD and all of its funders for understanding that Canada’s return to a strong economy starts with individual Canadians and families – making sure they have the help they need to build a firm financial floor under their feet, a budget to get them through the crisis and a financial plan that enables them to participate in, and contribute to, Canada’s recovery. 
As all companies consider how they too can support Canadians and communities to make it safely through this crisis and participate fully in Canada’s economic recovery, we encourage them to consider the hallmarks of a great partner in times of crisis: constancy, flexibility, understanding and commitment to the outcomes that matter most to people in need.
To this end, look out for future stories of other companies that are putting their people, their resources, and their values to work on behalf of Canadians and their communities at this critical time.