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Bright by Text - Keeping Families Connected and Confident during COVID-19

Bright by Text has suspended license fees through 2020 for community-serving organizations that seek to support families during COVID-19.

Photo of Jared Wigdor
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Bright by Text is a digital education platform for parents of children aged prenatal to age eight designed to stimulate early interactions. We are uniquely positioned to motivate learning and creativity from home, healthy habits, physical activities, caregiver confidence and encouragement (i.e. “You’ve got this!”),  and more. We have developed a unique community messaging service for our partners across the country that can send relevant information to families in specific zip codes. One example of these messages is, “The Denver Public Library will be hosting LIVE storytimes! Monday - Friday! @ 9:00AM -Spanish, @ 10:00AM Toddler and @ 12:00PM All Ages.” with a link to the schedule. This message was sent to 2,500 families and received a click-through rate of 40%, resulting in above-average attendance of an incredible resource.


Our model is to curate aggregated content from early childhood experts, so our existing relationships with PBS, Sesame Street, and the CDC were catalysts to begin sharing their information to our subscribers to make sure they feel informed and prepared. Aligning with the shelter-in-place guidance from CDC and WHO, we removed messages from our core content related to playdates and other public gatherings and outings, making room to accommodate distribution of the most relevant information and latest resources pertaining to the COVID-19 pandemic. For example we sent this message to all subscribers, “Are play dates okay these days? What about seeing grandparents? Pediatricians from the AAP have advice. Spoiler alert: many answers are no.” with a link to a page on the website featuring the most up to date social distancing guidelines.

What is the need are you focusing on?

Families with young children find themselves home around the clock, seeking resources and ideas to keep their children safe and engaged in healthy activities during the pandemic. Families also experience stress surrounding new routines and limited access to support networks, and the most at-risk lack access to online learning resources in the home. In addition, many organizations with programs and resources for families lack a digital communication channel. Bright by Text is implementing a response strategy with changes to our content, platform, and operations to meet families’ evolving needs. As new content becomes available every day, we are developing new partnerships with providers like PBS, CDC, AAP, and local organizations across the country to share valuable resources with a wider audience through text messages. Bright by Text has over 80,000 families enrolled from all 50 states, so we are a pivotal capacity-building tool for these family-facing organizations. 

Which type of submission are you sharing?

  • Sharing an actual pivot your organization has already made

Describe the business pivot or adaptation in 3-4 sentences.

To support families adjusting to new routines and needs during the COVID-19 pandemic, Bright by Text is modifying our service and operations to provide educational and health information and resources relevant for families of young children in this unprecedented time. Community organizations like PBS Stations, United Ways, hospitals, municipal initiatives, and others can utilize our text messaging channel to reach families in their community for no cost. They send messages about food pantries, public school announcements, online learning links, health department information, digital library resources, and more to thousands of families in their community for free. Leveraging the core strengths of our subscriber base, scalable technology platform, expertise curating trusted content, and established content and outreach partnerships, Bright by Text can quickly respond with targeted and relevant information to help families face the stress and challenges of coping with this pandemic.

Do you plan to implement this solution?

  • Yes

Describe the impact that this solution will create in the world.

In the past month, 200 community messages were sent to 370,000+ recipients about COVID-19 resources. We have subscribers in all 50 states and 70+ regional partners enabling our 80,000 subscribers to receive targeted information and vital resources. PBS/CPB are promoting “PBSKids” as a national sign-up keyword for 330+ member stations to use as a communications and support channel during the pandemic. Results from our COVID messaging survey indicates that caregivers think the current dose of COVID messages is “the right amount.” Examples of partner messages leveraging Bright by Text: While Denver Public Schools is closed for an extended spring break, meals will be available for children 1-18, at these locations: Diapers and Food pantries serving the Community March 23rd-31st. Leander, Austin, Cedar Park, and Round Rock. Locations and times: This just in: CDC now says kids over age 2 should wear cloth face coverings in public. Here's their latest info on COVID-19 and children:

What is the name of your business or organization?

Bright by Text

What does your business/company do? Whose needs does your business/company address? Who do you serve?

Bright by Text is a nationwide text messaging service that helps parents and caregivers of children prenatal to age eight make the most of everyday interactions. Through free tips, information, games and resources, Bright by Text is proven to build nurturing caregiver-child relationships, strengthen families, promote healthy child development, and improve school readiness. Offered in English and Spanish, our service helps over 80,000 parents and caregivers feel more confident in their role and more connected with their community. Based on survey results, we know that 93% of caregivers indicate that Bright by Text prompted them to do something with their child.

What is your profession?

Vice President and Chief Development Officer

Where are you located (country)?


Where are you located (region)?

  • North America

What industry is your business/company in?

  • Education

How many people does your business/company employ?

  • 11-49

How old is your business/company?

  • 10 or more years old

Which classification describes your organization/business?

  • Nonprofit/NGO

What kind of stakeholders and partnerships are needed to pursue this solution?

  • Funding- Grants
  • Funding- Investment
  • Stakeholders/Partnerships- NGOs
  • Stakeholders/Partnerships- Government
  • Stakeholders/Partnerships- Grassroots/Community Groups

Do you need help building partnerships and finding partners?

  • Yes

If Yes to the above, please share 1-2 sentences describing the specific help you desire.

We welcome OpenIDEO to share our free offering to equip more organizations with a communication channel proven to engage families. Organizations interested in partnering can learn more and complete and interest form on our website

What do you think are the main barriers to implementing this solution?

A primary barrier to continued operations is the loss of earned revenue and increased expenses associated with offering partnership licenses for free. With philanthropic support and a PPP Loan we have covered most of a projected $300,000 shortfall, and continue to seek support to cover our $2.5 million in annual expenses. Another barrier to scaling is awareness among family-serving community organizations nationwide. We have established partnerships with a number of PBS stations and United Way affiliates, and continue to seek collaborations with national networks to facilitate the quick distribution of Bright by Text to families through community partners.

If you are currently working on a pivot, what have you learned so far?

We are seeing strong uptake in messages that are not available from other sources. New partners who utilize the service to announce new resources and services are thrilled with how easily community messages can be created and distributed. Bright by Text was featured on KLTV in eastern Texas as a COVID resource for families. By making our service entirely free for organizations, we have increased access to resources in communities that wouldn’t otherwise have effective communication channels. We normally charge a fee to license keywords to community organizations. We will be more reliant on philanthropic support to offset the expenses to supply Bright by Text for free which is an internal challenge; however, support from OpenIDEO and the Vodafone Americas Foundation will help us provide this valuable service at no cost to more communities.

Are you aware of any open source efforts, hackathons or other collaborative efforts related to your solution? Are you participating in these efforts?

Community organizations across the country are leveraging Bright by Text to communicate with families. We act as a capacity building resource to distribute targeted, customized information and resources directly to families via text message. We have experienced an increase of 50% to our partner network over the past month. PBS/CPB have distributed information about our service through their newsletter and we expect demand for Bright by Text to continue during shelter in place orders and beyond.

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Photo of Isaac Jumba

Hi Jared Wigdor , we also thought it might exciting to have you be part of the COVID-19 Reimagine Learning Challenge: where you could re-share your concept, learnings and connect with other community members (such as schools, educators, students and innovators) re-imagining learning at this time and beyond.

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