Nonprofit Spotlight: Talking Points

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In April, PennyLoafer donors collectively gave to Talking Points!

The Rundown

  • Years founded: 2015

  • Leadership: Executive Director, Heejae Kim, founded Talking Points after her own experience as a Korean immigrant student and seeing her mom’s influence on her academic success. She has an MBA from Stanford, was an Echoing Green fellow and Ashoka Changemaker, and featured on Forbes 30 under 30 for Education.

  • Issue they address: barriers to parent involvement in student learning (including language, time, capacity and more).

  • What they do: build meaningful connections between schools, teachers and families from under-resourced, multilingual communities through accessible technology.

  • How they do it:

    • A multilingual family engagement platform that connects parents and teachers using two-way translated communication + personalized content.

    • Teachers use their mobile app to send a message to parents, which they receive in SMS format and through the mobile app in their home languages. Parents can reply in their own languages back to the teachers.

    • There is also in-app coaching and guidance for teachers and parents, tailored to each individual student.

Why they were chosen

Talking Points provides a low-cost, scalable solution to improve communication and build meaningful relationships between teachers and parents, many for whom English is their second language. Their easy-to-use technology addresses the achievement gap and improves academic outcomes for students from low income and multilingual households.

  • Since 2015, ~3M families and teachers have connected using TalkingPoints, and they have ambitious goals to reach 10M by 2023.
  • The technology uses human translators and AI to offer the highest-quality translation in more than 100 languages.
  • It’s effective. 88% of teachers have seen positive changes in student behavior, performance, attendance or engagement. Families are more informed about what’s happening at school and engaged in their child’s learning.

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🤝 Importance of parent engagement

  • Family engagement in their child’s learning is 2x as effective in predicting student’s success than the family’s socioeconomic status.
  • It directly impacts student outcomes, including: attendance, behavior, socio-emotional development and graduation rates.

🚧 But the barriers are high for families and educators working to support students in under-resourced, multilingual communities.

  • One in 4 students are from immigrant families, 50% of whom live at or near the poverty line. And high school graduation rates of English language learner students are 65%, compared to the national average of 87%.
  • Remote learning from covid significantly impacted student learning loss and teachers connection to families.

💡 Tools like Talking Points enable teachers to connect directly with parents, regardless of their home language, and involve them in their child’s academic success.


Education Secretary Miguel Cardona recently laid out his “values and priorities” for resetting education post pandemic.

If you enjoyed this and want to get involved, you can support the Quality Education cause on PennyLoafer, starting with as little as $5/month. Each month, you’ll support and learn about a different nonprofit working to improve the education system.