826 Valencia

aka 826 Valencia   |   San Francisco, CA   |  www.826valencia.org

Mission

826 Valencia is a nonprofit organization dedicated to supporting under-resourced students ages six to eighteen with their creative and expository writing skills and to helping teachers inspire their students to write. Our services are structured around the understanding that great leaps in learning can happen with one-on-one attention and that strong writing skills are fundamental to future success.

Ruling year info

2003

Executive Director

Bita Nazarian

Main address

"Temporary DAF Mailing Address" PO Box 410595

San Francisco, CA 94141-0595 USA

Show more contact info

EIN

04-3694151

NTEE code info

Remedial Reading, Reading Encouragement (B92)

Nonmonetary Support N.E.C. (O19)

IRS filing requirement

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

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Communication

Programs and results

What we aim to solve

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

826 Valencia works to close the academic achievement gap for under-resourced youth by providing the resources necessary for success in school and beyond, connecting caring adults to young people in need of individualized support, and making the path to college and career less of a leap. We offer a range of free programs for students and schools.

We serve the student population of the SFUSD, of which 24% are English Language Learners (ELL), and 55% qualify for free and/or reduced-cost lunch. A report by the National Center on Education and the Economy notes that we live in a world where a high level of writing “will be an indispensable foundation for everything." Unfortunately, these skills are under-supported in underserved schools. In the 2015-16 California Assessment of Student Performance, 53% of SFUSD students scored at proficient or above in English Language Arts. This number drops to 27% for Latino students, 18% for African American students, and just 13% for English Learners.

Our programs

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

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

After-School Tutoring

In our Writing Centers, students receive homework help in all subjects with additional reading and writing support from trained volunteer tutors.

Population(s) Served
Children and youth
Economically disadvantaged people
At-risk youth
Immigrants

We offer creative, high-energy field trips that impart writing skills and foster creativity; and are offered at each of our Writing Centers.

- Mission Center: Collaborative storytelling adventures for 2d - 5th graders that reinforce vocabulary, writing concepts, and imagination;

- Tenderloin Center: Podcasting field trips where students learn the concepts and skills of podcasting, then brainstorm, write, and record their own podcasts;

- Mission Bay Center: Elementary students compose adventure stories inspired by the Enchanted Forest theme.

Population(s) Served
Children and youth
Economically disadvantaged people
At-risk youth
Immigrants

We partner with neighboring organizations to offer free creative writing support to students enrolled in their programs. Topics range from academic essentials like SAT-prep and college-entrance essays, to more imaginative forms of writing like fiction, non-fiction, cartooning, and bookmaking. Each workshop is designed and taught by talented volunteers.

Population(s) Served
Children and youth
Students
Immigrants
At-risk youth

We offer customized, Common Core-aligned writing curricula developed in collaboration with teachers, and individualized in-class writing support for students throughout the school year. Each school day, we bring teams of volunteers into classrooms around San Francisco to support teachers and students. Whether students are composing sonnets, researching for term papers, or mastering verb conjugations, 826 tutors are available to sit side-by-side with them.

Population(s) Served
Children and youth
Economically disadvantaged people
At-risk youth
Immigrants

At 826 Valencia, we know that building writing skills is vital to building future success, on whatever path our students choose. We’ve set up multiple programs to help our young writers continue to thrive and grow as they embark upon their future paths: from college essay writing support, to internships, to college scholarships, to leadership development programs, we strive to provide students with the tools they need to succeed wherever they wish to go.

Population(s) Served
Adolescents
Economically disadvantaged people
Immigrants
At-risk youth

We offer a variety of programs to keep students from elementary through high school engaged and writing throughout the summer months — from Exploring Words Summer Camp, to Exploring Leadership Summer Camp, to our Young Authors’ Workshop, and other fun workshops, all of which engage students and result in a piece of creative work.

Population(s) Served

A paid internship that trains and engages 8th-12th-graders weekly throughout each semester. YLAB-ers are trained as tutors for K-5 students in After-School Tutoring and serve as peer mentors. YLAB-ers also participate in leadership projects and career exploration.

Population(s) Served

We offer a weekly school-year program where students embrace a positive outlook on their Black identity via writing; exploring Black literary icons and leaders; Black history, and community; mentoring; and leadership building.

Population(s) Served
Economically disadvantaged people
At-risk youth
Immigrants
Children and youth
Economically disadvantaged people
At-risk youth
Immigrants
Children and youth
Economically disadvantaged people
At-risk youth
Immigrants
Children and youth
People of African descent

Where we work

Awards

CATE Award of Merit 2017

CATE

Our results

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

How does this organization measure their results? It's a hard question but an important one.

Number of students enrolled

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Holding steady

Context Notes

We measure students served across all of our programs by fiscal year (July 1 - June 30).

Hours of programing delivered

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Holding steady

Context Notes

This is the total number of free tutoring and writing workshops that we provide to students.

Number of volunteers

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Type of Metric

Input - describing resources we use

Direction of Success

Holding steady

Percent of students, parents, and teachers who report that students' writing skills increased as a result of 826 programs.

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Type of Metric

Outcome - describing the effects on people or issues

Direction of Success

Holding steady

Percent of students, paretns, and teachers who reported that students took pride in what they wrote in 826 programs.

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Type of Metric

Outcome - describing the effects on people or issues

Direction of Success

Holding steady

Percent of students, parents, and teachers who reported that students' confidence in themselves as writers increased as a result of being published by 826 Valencia.

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Type of Metric

Outcome - describing the effects on people or issues

Direction of Success

Holding steady

Average growth (in percent) of student writing skills per pre- and post-program writing samples scored with the National Writing Project’s Analytic Writing Continuum.

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Type of Metric

Outcome - describing the effects on people or issues

Direction of Success

Holding steady

Context Notes

Because of COVID-19, we did not track this metric during 2020 and 2021.

Our Sustainable Development Goals

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn more about Sustainable Development Goals.

Goals & Strategy

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn about the organization's key goals, strategies, capabilities, and progress.

Charting impact

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

Our goals are to promote student success in school and life by strengthening writing skills and cultivating an affinity for writing in young people through creative exercises that promote wonder and fun; to provide youth with individualized attention from caring, trained tutors; to provide publishing opportunities that give students tangible proof of their hard work; to provide support to overburdened teachers by reducing class size and lowering the student-to-teacher ratio; and to prepare underserved young people for college and careers by cultivating 21st century skills.

We tackle these goals through our programming and project-based learning system, strengthening students' ability to express themselves in their own voice. More than 7,000 students participated in 826 Valencia's programs in the 2016-17 fiscal year. With the addition of a new center in the Mission Bay in early 2019, we anticipate serving 8,000 students in SF annually.

Our work is guided by these principles: Partnering with schools and teachers is the key to improving student achievement, and that it is essential to engage the community in meaningful opportunities to improve young people's lives. Our school partnerships center on the idea that teachers are professionals who have a deep understanding of their students' needs, but with oversized classrooms they lack the time to offer attention to each student, making our ongoing support a crucial tool to help meet their diverse needs. We support teachers by assisting in planning for project-based learning opportunities and by enlisting volunteers to provide 1:1 support to their students. When students work alongside engaged and caring professionals in their community, and when these volunteers make a commitment to help students succeed, students' skill and confidence levels go up, and we make significant progress toward closing the achievement gap.
In order to accommodate the diverse student population and their needs, we aim to provide services both during and after the school day, in the summer, and on the weekends. We provide meaningful and impactful support for every interest and age level, including: customized field trips for school classes, in-class tutoring support, after-school academic tutoring in all subject areas, evening and weekend writing workshops, specialized programming for English Language Learners, student publications including newspapers, chapbooks, podcasts and professionally-bound and published books, personal statement writing support, and college scholarships for graduating high school students. We host a wide variety of programs across our centers and satellite locations in local schools and we partner with neighboring organizations in the Tenderloin, including Glide, The Boys and Girls Club, and DeMarillac Academy. Projects can take place in a single session or last as long as an entire school year. Programs are offered all through the academic year and summer.

Our staff consists of experienced teachers and credentialled educators who have been working closely with students for many years. All of our professionals are fully committed to our community and deeply understand the population we're aiming to serve. We're also building capacity in the areas of board leadership, staff leadership, and onboarding/team-building. All three levels of support incorporate a strong emphasis on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion.

In order to accommodate two growing centers, and in preparation for the expansion to the Mission Bay, we welcomed new staff this year, and have plans to keep growing in the coming years. In order to orient new staff to 826's organizational culture, spaces and systems, we will continue to build-out our onboarding plan and develop policies and procedures. We have also hosted all-staff retreats with a focus on the StrengthsFinder assessment. This assessment allows new members an overview of how they fit into their teams and the organization as a whole. These types of sessions create more stability and connectivity among our staff and will be important as we continue to grow. We also offer professional development opportunities for staff in areas of leadership, conflict resolution, and more.

Our biggest partnership is with the San Francisco Unified School District. We work with 140+ teachers each year to bring tailored writing support to their students. In our Tenderloin Center, we work with community organizations like Glide, the Boys and Girls Club, the Cross-Cultural Family Center, Tenderloin Neighborhood Development Center (TNDC), Raphael House, and the Salvation Army Kroc Center, all of whom want to enhance their programs with the addition of writing, literacy, and publishing. Students from these organizations alternate attending after-school workshops once a week, writing poetry or conjuring up their superheroes, supported by tutors who encourage their creativity and clear development and expression of ideas.

We have also collaborated on projects with Precita Eyes Muralists, Litquake, and an intensive summer program with the Jamestown Community Center.

Founded in 2002, 826 Valencia is dedicated to supporting under-resourced students aged 6-18 with their writing skills, and to helping teachers get their students excited about writing. Our work is based on the understanding that great leaps in learning can be made when trained and caring volunteers work one-on-one with students, and that strong writing skills are fundamental to future success. We invite students to share their stories and engage their imaginations through the writing process. Our free programs include field trips, one-on-one tutoring and homework help, specialized writing workshops, in-school support, college- and career- readiness, and professional student publishing opportunities.

Last year, we worked with roughly 7,000 students in the Bay Area through 2,861 hours of writing and tutoring programs. We published 36 books, chapbooks, magazines, and newspapers, and 108 field trip titles. Our work supported 130 teachers in 175 partner schools and organizations. We held 23 volunteer orientations, welcoming 350+ new faces to our dedicated team of tutors for a total of roughly 1,300 volunteers supporting us last fiscal year.

We've found that in order to foster long-term commitment in the development of academic skills, we must equally focus on engaging kids with their academic success by making them passionate and active participants in the creative process. Our work bridges the spheres of education and the arts -- we aim to transform a young person's relationship to writing by boosting critical literacy skills from an early age, supporting fluency and writing conventions, and cultivating a young person's voice. We see students shift their attitudes about writing from reluctance and intimidation, to affinity, confidence, and pride.

As our staff works with teachers and volunteers to benefit students, we see volunteers deepening their relationship with youth in the Bay Area. When students work alongside engaged and caring professionals, students' skill and confidence levels go up, and we make signigicant progress toward closing the achievement gap. These combined efforts lead to mutually beneficial outcomes: supported teachers, engaged learners, and invested community members.

In 2019, we will again expand our impact and become the anchor educational support organization in the Tenderloin Neighborhood Development Corporation's (TNDC) new low-income housing development in the Mission Bay. The Mission Bay is the city's newest neighborhood, diverse by design, where 63% of its children will be economically disadvantaged; 1,000 living within a few blocks of our third Center. There are few support services available there, and we are excited to be among the first to support it in this way. TNDC is providing us substantial capital funds coupled with 20 years of operating funds and free rent for the new space to ensure that we are sustainable.

How we listen

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Seeking feedback from people served makes programs more responsive and effective. Here’s how this organization is listening.

done We demonstrated a willingness to learn more by reviewing resources about feedback practice.
done We shared information about our current feedback practices.
  • Who are the people you serve with your mission?

    826 Valencia offers public school students and teachers in grades K-12 across San Francisco with free, individualized writing and tutoring programs. As of the 2021-2022 Fiscal Year, 65% of our students receive a free/reduced cost lunch, which is one (not the sole) determining indicator of living with a low income, and 41% are English learners. Our student population is 1% Native American/Alaska Native/Indigenous; 20% Asian; 10% Black; 2% Hawaiian/Pacific Islander; 44% Hispanic/Latinx; 2% Middle Eastern; 10% white; 2% multiracial; and 9% are other or prefer not to state.

  • How is your organization collecting feedback from the people you serve?

    Electronic surveys (by email, tablet, etc.), Paper surveys,

  • How is your organization using feedback from the people you serve?

    To identify and remedy poor client service experiences, To identify bright spots and enhance positive service experiences, To make fundamental changes to our programs and/or operations, To inform the development of new programs/projects, To identify where we are less inclusive or equitable across demographic groups, To strengthen relationships with the people we serve, To understand people's needs and how we can help them achieve their goals,

  • What significant change resulted from feedback?

    826 Valencia works with multiple partners to design and implement programs and to meet the needs of our students and community. We have fostered deep collaborations with 12 San Francisco school partners, particularly with Mission High School, Everett Middle School, and Buena Vista Horace Mann K-8, which host permanent 826-branded Writers' Rooms. At the school’s request, we currently are in the process of creating our fourth onsite Writers’ Room at San Francisco International High School. Additionally, In FY22, we created a new Middle School Leadership Program based on our successful Youth Leadership Advisory Board for high schoolers - one of the YLABers said the program was so valuable they wished it had been offered to them earlier, so we did just that.

  • With whom is the organization sharing feedback?

    Our staff, Our board, Our funders,

  • How has asking for feedback from the people you serve changed your relationship?

    When students are given opportunities to share about their experiences with 826 Valencia and offer feedback to staff, they engage more deeply in our programs. Oftentimes, students provide writing prompts and project suggestions in their feedback which our staff then use, allowing students and their peers to write about topics that are meaningful and relevant to their lived experiences. When we take our students' feedback and suggestion to heart and update our programs with that feedback in mind, students know they are empowered, engaged community members who make a difference and have valuable stories to tell.

  • Which of the following feedback practices does your organization routinely carry out?

    We collect feedback from the people we serve at least annually, We take steps to get feedback from marginalized or under-represented people, We aim to collect feedback from as many people we serve as possible, We take steps to ensure people feel comfortable being honest with us, We look for patterns in feedback based on demographics (e.g., race, age, gender, etc.), We look for patterns in feedback based on people’s interactions with us (e.g., site, frequency of service, etc.), We engage the people who provide feedback in looking for ways we can improve in response, We act on the feedback we receive, We tell the people who gave us feedback how we acted on their feedback,

  • What challenges does the organization face when collecting feedback?

    It is difficult to get the people we serve to respond to requests for feedback, It is difficult to get honest feedback from the people we serve,

Financials

826 Valencia
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Operations

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

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Connect with nonprofit leaders

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Connect with nonprofit leaders

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  • Analyze a variety of pre-calculated financial metrics
  • Access beautifully interactive analysis and comparison tools
  • Compare nonprofit financials to similar organizations

Want to see how you can enhance your nonprofit research and unlock more insights? Learn More about GuideStar Pro.

826 Valencia

Board of directors
as of 11/10/2022
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board chair

Lisa Brown

Illustrator, Author

Term: 2021 -

Lisa Brown

Illustrator, Author, Designer, Cartoonist, Teacher

Joe Vasquez

Venture Partner, Revel Partners Founding Partner, iLab Collective

Rachel Swain Yeaman

Writer, Social Justice and Civil Rights Advocate

Carolyn Feinstein Edwards

Chief Marketing, Growth, and Design Officer Varo Bank

Enikia Morthel

Superintendent Berkeley Unified School District

Liza Ramrayka

Freelance Journalist, Social Justice Advocate

Ambar Bhattacharyya

Managing Director Maverick Ventures

Osvaldo Marquez

Fintech Payment Advisor Silicon Valley Bank

Anna Luna

Associate Director - Programs Hirsch & Associates, LLC; Philanthropic Advisors

Bianca Catalan

Instructor of Community Engagement San Francisco University High School

Keith Hunter

Associate Professor, Organizational Behavior and Management University of San Francisco

Josh McHugh

Chief Executive Officer, Attention Span Media Co-Founder, Fanatical

Scott Rubin

Chief Marketing Officer Lux Capital

Monica Varman

Partner, G2 Venture Partners

Board leadership practices

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section.

  • Board orientation and 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? Yes
  • CEO oversight
    Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year ? Yes
  • Ethics and transparency
    Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year? No
  • Board composition
    Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership? Yes
  • Board performance
    Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years? No

Organizational demographics

SOURCE: Self-reported; last updated 11/10/2022

Who works and leads organizations that serve our diverse communities? GuideStar partnered on this section with CHANGE Philanthropy and Equity in the Center.

Leadership

The organization's leader identifies as:

Race & ethnicity
Middle Eastern
Gender identity
Female, Not transgender (cisgender)
Sexual orientation
Heterosexual or Straight
Disability status
Person without a disability

Race & ethnicity

Gender identity

 

Sexual orientation

No data

Disability

No data

Equity strategies

Last updated: 11/10/2022

GuideStar partnered with Equity in the Center - an organization that works to shift mindsets, practices, and systems to increase racial equity - to create this section. Learn more

Data
  • We review compensation data across the organization (and by staff levels) to identify disparities by race.
  • We ask team members to identify racial disparities in their programs and / or portfolios.
  • We analyze disaggregated data and root causes of race disparities that impact the organization's programs, portfolios, and the populations served.
  • We disaggregate data to adjust programming goals to keep pace with changing needs of the communities we support.
  • We employ non-traditional ways of gathering feedback on programs and trainings, which may include interviews, roundtables, and external reviews with/by community stakeholders.
  • We disaggregate data by demographics, including race, in every policy and program measured.
  • We have long-term strategic plans and measurable goals for creating a culture such that one’s race identity has no influence on how they fare within the organization.
Policies and processes
  • We have a promotion process that anticipates and mitigates implicit and explicit biases about people of color serving in leadership positions.
  • We seek individuals from various race backgrounds for board and executive director/CEO positions within our organization.
  • We have community representation at the board level, either on the board itself or through a community advisory board.
  • We help senior leadership understand how to be inclusive leaders with learning approaches that emphasize reflection, iteration, and adaptability.
  • We measure and then disaggregate job satisfaction and retention data by race, function, level, and/or team.
  • We engage everyone, from the board to staff levels of the organization, in race equity work and ensure that individuals understand their roles in creating culture such that one’s race identity has no influence on how they fare within the organization.