Giving Compass' Take:

• At EdSurge, Betsy Corcoran discusses the recent partnership between Beyond 12 and GraduGuru, combining tech with emotional support for college students.

• During coronavirus, why is it so important to form positive relationships between tech and emotional support? How can we learn from these organizations to foster helpful environments for disadvantaged college students?

• Read about why you should double your coronavirus giving today.

Alexandra Bernadotte knows a lot about getting over obstacles. As founder of the Oakland, Calif.-based nonprofit Beyond 12, Bernadotte has devoted the past decade of her life to providing historically under-represented students the academic, social and emotional support they need to succeed in college.

This week, Beyond 12 said it has acquired GradGuru, a mobile platform designed to give students “nudges,” or text-based reminders about tasks that will help them succeed in college. At a time when many organizations are slowing their 2020 plans and reassessing their costs and revenues, Bernadotte is doubling down. In 2018, Bernadotte said that Beyond 12 aimed to serve 1 million students annually by 2025. Adding the GradGuru platform will accelerate those plans, she asserts.

The deal closed on March 17, just as “shelter in place” became reality in California. If anything, the crisis provoked by the coronavirus has made the combination even more compelling, Bernadotte says. “The COVID-19 pandemic has isolated students from essential guidance and support and put their years of hard work in jeopardy,” she says.

In its early days, Beyond 12 developed a peer-mentoring network where students supported each other. Although students identified with their peer-coaches, the service placed a big burden on the coaches.

Beyond 12 evolved to relying on “near peers”—recent graduates—who took on coaching as a full-time occupation. It currently employs about 20 full-time coaches, each of whom serves about 125 students. Overall Beyond 12 works with 47,000 students, about 30 percent of whom are in community colleges.

But it’s the combination of Beyond 12 and GradGuru—both the technology and the people—that Bernadotte believes will ignite her organization’s ability to serve students in need.

Read the full article about partnering tech and emotional support by Betsy Corcoran at EdSurge.