The Situation

TalkingPoints is an education technology nonprofit dedicated to unlocking the potential of families to fuel their children’s learning. More than 40 million students in the U.S. are growing up in underserved and immigrant communities. Many of these families face real challenges in supporting their child’s education—including speaking limited English and feeling overwhelmed by the U.S. school system. TalkingPoints’ multilingual family engagement platform allows teachers and parents to communicate via web, mobile, or text message with two-way translation, empowering parents to use their native language. To date, the organization has enabled more than 10 million conversations between parents and teachers in North America and has longer-term ambitions to go global.

The Roadblock

In March 2020, with the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic and the rapid shift to distance learning, TalkingPoints began playing an even greater connecting role between schools and families. The organization started supporting distance learning through its platform, and also became a vital source of information about critical human needs, such as free and reduced meals, access to social welfare, COVID-19 related healthcare information, and internet accessibility. Having experienced a massive increase in demand, the organization had more than 700,000 teachers and families waiting to be onboarded to the platform. Despite moving quickly to meet these needs, TalkingPoints did not have the organizational capacity to keep pace.

Open Road's Response

With a $100,000 charitable grant from ORA, TalkingPoints was able to expand its organizational capacity to meet this growing need. Within six months, the organization went from serving 500,000 students and families in 12,000 schools and districts to serving over 1.5 million in 20,000.

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