Community Improvement, Capacity Building

Parent Talk

  • Needham, MA
  • www.parenttalk.info

Mission Statement

Parent Talk is a community-based organization helping families with young children connect, learn, play, and grow together. We offer comprehensive enrichment activities designed to help members build relationships as well as educational tools and vehicles focused on child development and parenting. Our membership is comprised of approximately 500 families residing in Needham, Dover, Westwood, Natick and surrounding towns.Parent Talk members enjoy numerous benefits including playgroups, newsletters, lectures, free access to our indoor playspace, free museum passes, retail discounts, reduced rates on select children's classes, family activities, and social events for children and parents. In addition, Parent Talk offers clubs and committees designed to engage members in the community and develop life-long friendships.

Main Programs

  1. Lectures
  2. Events
  3. Preschool Fair
  4. Summer Camp Fair
  5. Community Service

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Service Areas

Self-reported

Massachusetts

With over 400 of our 500 member families living in Needham, Massachusetts, and a plurality of the rest in the surrounding towns, Parent Talk focuses our community service work on the MetroWest Region as well as Greater Boston. There is no residency requirement for membership, but many member benefits are focused in this area.

ruling year

1993

Principal Officer since 2015

Self-reported

Ms. Susan Tufts Kagan

Keywords

Self-reported

Parent Talk, Inc.; Parent Talk;

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EIN

04-3155110

 Number

4931357679

Contact

Cause Area (NTEE Code)

Community Coalitions (S21)

IRS Filing Requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

Programs + Results

How does this organization make a difference?

Overview

Self-reported by organization

Accomplishments: Parent Talk organizes a semi-annual Used Toy, Clothing and Equipment Sale in Needham. The Sale provides hundreds of young families from all over the Metro West Boston area with high quality, inexpensive clothing, toys and equipment and are the organization's two largest fundraising events. At the end of each sale, merchandise that has not been sold is donated to a variety of appropriate local non-profits.We provide the community with five to six lectures each year by nationally acclaimed authors. These lectures are open to the public, and on a variety of subjects from parenting to career changes. We organize playgroups for families with children based on their birth year, and a play space in Dover, MA where they can meet. We provide low-cost and free events for families with small children to come together and begin to build their community. We provide events which are opportunities for these same families to give to others in the community who are in need. Goals:We are raising funds to contribute to a central community park, Greens Field in Needham, MA We are developing a monthly educational program in the Parent Talk Play Space, including reading time and craft work. We are developing processes and systems that will facilitate the efficiency of this 20 year old 500+ strong member/volunteer organization. Chief among these developing processes is one to match volunteer members to community opportunities. Priority factors include skills, time availability, and motivation. Parent Talk has a wide variety of opportunities and a broad spectrum of membership interests and skills.

Programs

Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

Program 1

Lectures

A series of lectures at which nationally known authors speak to the public on their area of expertise.

Category

Arts, Culture & Humanities, General/Other

Population(s) Served

Adults

Other Named Groups

Budget

$10,391.00

Program 2

Events

Parent Talk sponsors a wide variety of events each year, often more than two a month for young children and families. Many of the events are for the whole family, but sometimes there are events just for parents, giving them time with other adults who are raising children much like they.

Category

Arts, Culture & Humanities, General/Other

Population(s) Served

Other Named Groups

Children and Youth (0 - 19 years)

Budget

$6,650.00

Program 3

Preschool Fair

The annual Preschool & Kindergarten Fair brings together more than 40 preschools and enrichment programs for an information night open to the public. The volunteers who organize the fair also provide resources to those who attend, including a booklet listing information on many programs, the National Association for the Education of Young Children's 10 Signs of a Great Preschool and a preschool checklist.

Category

Education, General/Other

Population(s) Served

Other Named Groups

Infants/Babies (under age 5)

Adults

Budget

$1,600.00

Program 4

Summer Camp Fair

The 2013 Summer Camp Fair was the first of this program. This is an example of Parent Talk's support of members' efforts to serve their community. This informational fair provided the general community with information on xx camps and programs available in the metrowest area for children 3 to 15 years of age. The information includes a list of the programs, including local town sponsored programs and the American Camp Association

Category

Education, General/Other

Population(s) Served

Other Named Groups

Children and Youth (0 - 19 years)

Budget

$1,100.00

Program 5

Community Service

At Parent Talk, we aim to involve members in meaningful opportunites to give back to the communities where we live and work. Past projects include: Assembling bags for children in homeless centers via Project Night-Night.Food drive for Needham Community Council's Food Pantry.Assembling baskets for REACH (a hotline and shelter for victims of domestic violence.Park and town forest clean-ups in partnership with Departments of Public Works.Fundraising for the re-development of area playgrounds (e.g. Greene's Field, Mills Field and Perry Park)Preschool Scholarship ProgramIn addition to member service, Parent Talk sponsors and funds a Preschool Scholarship granted to one Parent Talk member family and one family from the community each year.

Category

Public, Society Benefit, General/Other

Population(s) Served

Other Named Groups

Budget

$5,600.00

Charting Impact

Self-reported by organization

Five powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

  1. What is the organization aiming to accomplish?
    Parent Talk was formed by parents in 1991 and we continue to have the same ultimate goal for impact, helping families with young children connect, learn, play and grow together. We offer comprehensive enrichment activities designed to help members build relationships as well as educational tools and vehicles focused on child development and parenting. Our membership is comprised of more than 500 families in Needham, Newton, Natick, Westwood, Dover, Medfield, Wellesley and surrounding towns. ParentTalk members enjoy numerous benefits including playgroups, support/affinity groups, networking opportunities, a lecture series, free access to an indoor playspace, free museum passes and retail discounts. Parent Talk activities are designed to encourage a sense of community, giving back to the community and developing lifelong friendships.
  2. What are the organization's key strategies for making this happen?
    ParentTalk is committed to providing events of different size and scope that will involve parents within the community. We offer volunteering opportunities for adults/parents only and family volunteering opportunities. It is our hope that by exposing children within our communities to the concept of giving back and volunteering that it will instill a sense of community at a young age. We connect new parents with resources available within the community through our website, our online discussion forum, and our PreSchool and Kindergarten Fairs. It can be overwhelming to find a perfect preschool, a camp that will meet the needs of a young child with disabilities, etc. and ParentTalk mobilizes volunteers and gathers resources to host these networking and informational events.
  3. What are the organization's capabilities for doing this?
    ParentTalk relies solely on the work of volunteers. It is astonishing the amount of work and number of successful community events are provided by volunteer members. Our organization was established by a parent in 1991 and in 2013 hired its first Executive Director. We currently have a part-time Executive Director, part-time Business Administrator and part-time/contract web administrator. Our Board of Directors co-chair Committees that oversee Marketing, Fundraising, Events, Community Relations, Membership, Volunteers and our Playspace. Each Board member commits numerous hours to their role, so that the organization can run itself and have the impact of a much larger non-profit-but, with virtually little to no overhead. Administrative expenses include the lease of our Playspace within the Community Center in Dover. The Playspace offers a safe and fun environment for member parents to gather and network as a playgroup or on their own. Our two annual Parent Talk Sales generate revenue that provides support for to continue to offer the Playspace to our members and the community. It is often stated that when someone moves to the Needham area and has small children, they are told "You have to join ParentTalk". We are fortunate to have great visibility within our community and are grateful to all of our partners. ParentTalk is supported by Needham Bank, LINX, Charles River School, Copley Motor Cars, JC Timmerman, TripAdvisor, the Charles River YMCA and many other partners.
  4. How will they know if they are making progress?
    ParentTalk Board of Directors monitor the growth of the organization closely. Each month, Directors are provided with the number of new member families and are presented with detailed financials. ParentTalk measures success by:increased partnerships within the communities we serve;increased membership each month;increased attendance at small events (three events per week);increased attendance at larger events (we provide at least six per year);increased activity of our playgroups and affinity groups;an increase in support to other local charitable organizations; increased visibility within the community; and,increased activity and connections made through our online forum, website, newsletters and other social media. For e.g.; we recently provided a Communications Survey to our membership. The results from this survey, led by our volunteer Marketing Committee, yielded data that will drive strategic changes in our communications. We will launch a new website to integrate these new strategies in 2016.
  5. What have and haven't they accomplished so far?
    ParentTalk has continued to struggle with the turnover of its Board of Directors. Since the Board is instrumental to our work, the one and two year terms of our Directors is similar to a change over of senior management staff within a larger organization. ParentTalk will be working with pro-bono consultants, SOAR55 to consider a change to the organizational By-Laws and to explore other strategic initiatives. An additional challenge is the management of so many volunteers-we have begun to streamline our Marketing, Communications and Fundraising activities for all of our events. These activities were previously accomplished, though successfully, in silos. It has been decided that all of the organizations efforts and need to be streamlined for greater impact. We are committed to working with those partners who have supported ParentTalk since 1991 and to grow new partnerships to benefit our communities and the families we serve.
Service Areas

Self-reported

Massachusetts

With over 400 of our 500 member families living in Needham, Massachusetts, and a plurality of the rest in the surrounding towns, Parent Talk focuses our community service work on the MetroWest Region as well as Greater Boston. There is no residency requirement for membership, but many member benefits are focused in this area.

Additional Documents

Funding Needs

Parent Talk maintains a Parent Talk Playspace in Dover, MA. Many of our early childhood programs available to the public at a nominal fee take place here. This space carries with it a cost of $30,000 a year. Parent Talk member volunteers organize a wide variety of events, from crafts to reading to entertainment like music and puppet shows. Parent Talk hosts a Flicks on the Field event each summer to which over 800 community members come, and which is free to the public. The cost of this event is $4,500. Parent Talk brings 5 to 6 nationally known speakers and authors to give lectures in the MetroWest area each year. This series serves the public, includes a wide variety of subjects of interest to parents of young families, and costs Parent Talk $10,000 annually. Each year, Parent Talk hosts a fundraiser to fund a community service project. Many years, this has included four $1,000 pre-school sponsorships for families in the area. Continuing these sponsorships while funding other community service projects requires partnership with another funder. Parent Talk also sponsors various events throughout the year for young families. These events have a budget of $6,000 annually.

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Financials

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Operations

The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

Parent Talk

Leadership

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Free: Gain immediate access to the following:
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  • Board Chair and Board Members
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Principal Officer

Ms. Susan Tufts Kagan

BIO

Susan recently led fundraising efforts for the Disability Rights Fund and she has been an advocate for equal access to education, recreation and the community for people with disabilities over twenty years. Susan has served as a fundraising and non-profit organizational consultant and was the Executive Director of Outdoor Explorations, an organization dedicated to providing access to outdoor adventures for people of all abilities. Susan is very involved as a volunteer Board member with BOSTnet, (Build the Out-of-School Time Network) a network of organizations dedicated to early care and afterschool professionals in Massachusetts. Susan has a Master's Degree in Educational Psychology with a specialization in Rehabilitation Psychology and an undergraduate degree in Rehabilitation Services from the University of Connecticut.

Governance

BOARD CHAIR

Ms. Megan Bourque

Community Leader

Term: June 2015 - May 2017

BOARD LEADERSHIP PRACTICES

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section, which enables organizations and donors to transparently share information about essential board leadership practices. Self-reported by organization


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BOARD ORIENTATION & EDUCATION

Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations?


RESPONSE NOT PROVIDED

CEO OVERSIGHT

Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year?


RESPONSE NOT PROVIDED

ETHICS & TRANSPARENCY

Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year?


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BOARD COMPOSITION

Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership?


RESPONSE NOT PROVIDED

BOARD PERFORMANCE

Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years?