826 Boston Inc.

A youth writing and publishing nonprofit.

Roxbury, MA   |  www.826boston.org

Mission

826 Boston is a nonprofit youth writing and publishing organization that empowers traditionally underserved students ages 6-18 to find their voices, tell their stories, and gain communication skills to succeed in school and in life.

Ruling year info

2007

Executive Director

Ms. Jessica Drench

Main address

3035 Washington Street

Roxbury, MA 02119 USA

Show more contact info

EIN

20-8065915

NTEE code info

Printing, Publishing (A33)

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

Underserved students are disproportionately held back by lack of access to writing assistance. Public schools in the city of Boston, like others across the country, don't typically have the needed funds to provide students with “extras" like writing tutors and publishing projects. 826 Boston can provide the transformative experience of becoming an author to thousands of students every year.

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 Writing and Tutoring Program

Monday through Thursday afternoons students work one-on-one with tutors to complete homework, spend time reading aloud, and embark on ambitious, long-term writing projects. Weekday sessions last 90 minutes and engage students for the entire school year. Evening tutoring sessions, for students ages 12 to 18, are offered twice weekly and average 30 students per session.

Population(s) Served
Students

826 Boston currently partners with BPS schools to provide in-class writing tutoring and publishing opportunities through 826 Boston’s hallmark project-based learning. Each year, 826 Boston published a Young Authors' Book Project, which is professionally designed and distributed through a network of Boston-area bookstores, 826 Boston's own retail storefront, and the Boston Public Library.

Population(s) Served
Students

Located at six Boston Public Schools, Writers’ Rooms provide classroom support for writing assignments throughout the school day, drop-in support for individual students, and after-school activities and clubs ranging from a slam poetry team to literary journal.

Population(s) Served

Field trips are the chance for entire classes to come to our writing center for a few hours of high-energy learning. One of our most popular field trips is Storytelling & Bookmaking, designed for grades 1-4, in which a class creates, illustrates, and publishes a tale like "Bud, the Grumpy Earthquake” all in one morning. Each student then leaves with his or her own published book. 826 Boston also offers Scriptwriting Field Trips for grades 5-8.

Population(s) Served
Students

826 Boston’s Youth Literary Advisory Board (YLAB) represents students from all six of 826 Boston Writers’ Rooms. YLAB members apply and are selected in the fall and receive paid stipends for their work during the school year as artist-leaders and peer editors. The students meet weekly, and their work culminates every year in a final project. Past projects have included a podcast and a professionally printed book.

Population(s) Served
Adolescents
Ethnic and racial groups

The college essay is arguably one of the most important pieces of writing our students will ever produce in their lives, but many students are trying to chart a course to college on their own. College essay support from 826 Boston pairs students with trained tutors to help students move from idea to draft to submitted essay.

Population(s) Served
Students
Students
Adolescents

Where we work

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 paid participants on field trips

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Children and youth

Related Program

Storytelling and Bookmaking Field Trips

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

Free two-hour storytelling and bookmaking field trips at 826 Boston's center in Roxbury. Starting in 2018, all students from high-needs public schools. Services curtailed during pandemic.

Hours of tutoring administered

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Children and youth

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

Across all programs (in-school and out-of-school).

Number of students provided with college essay support.

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Adolescents

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

College Essay Boot Camp, Boot Camp on the Road, and College Essay Academies.

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.

826 Boston is changing the way that writing is approached in the city of Boston. Over the course of the current strategic plan, 826 Boston will double the number of students served (to 7,000) by expanding the successful Writers' Room model, an innovative in-school model based on the university writing center.

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. With this understanding in mind, we provide after-school tutoring, field trips, creative writing workshops, in-school tutoring, help for English Language Learners, and in-depth publishing projects. Each of our free programs seeks to empower students to express their ideas effectively, creatively, confidently, and in their individual voices.

826 Boston is well positioned to accomplish its goals, with the following assets in place:
1) A supportive board with a strong vision. 826 Boston has steadily built its board of directors from 9 to 15 members.
2) A capable and talented staff with low turnover. 826 Boston's founding executive director handed over the reins to Jessica Drench, a five-year veteran of the organization and its former associate director.
3) A strong financial track record. 826 Boston has proved it can grow during a recession. Its budget has expanded yearly since its inception in 2007. 826 Boston's growth is steadily monitored by the capable leadership of its executive director and board.
4) Dedicated volunteers. 826 Boston employs a full-time volunteer manager and achieved Service Enterprise accreditation through the Massachusetts Service Alliance. Volunteers often become strong allies and financial supporters.
5) A sense of community. 826 Boston is an active member of the Egleston Square community, and it has built relationships with neighbors and families who attend programming at its center. Staff regularly participate in Egleston Square Main Streets meetings and events.
6) A strong partnership model. 826 Boston is able to deliver stronger programming thanks to the many partners with which it works, including surrounding universities like Northeastern University, UMass Boston, Emerson College, Simmons College, Suffolk University, Boston College and Boston University.
7) The 826 Network. 826 Boston's strength is due in large part to its membership in 826 National's award-winning network of youth writing centers, co-founded by writer Dave Eggers. With hubs in eight U.S. cities, the 826 network includes a well-developed learning community that shares research, evaluation materials, and best practices.

826 Boston's vision is supported by a comprehensive strategic planning process that charts its course during that time period. The organization's strategic plan—vetted by education advisors, current funders, and 826 Boston board, staff, parents, teachers, and volunteers—positions 826 Boston to expand, leading with its most transformative programs, effectively and sustainably. From 2016-2021, 826 Boston will open and operate at least five additional Writers' Rooms in partner schools, delivering targeted writing assistance to an additional 2,500 BPS students. The organization will grow its budget from $1 million to $2.5 million.

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?

    Students ages 6-18 living in Boston and attending Boston Public Schools.

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

    Electronic surveys (by email, tablet, etc.), Paper surveys, Focus groups or interviews (by phone or in person), Community meetings/Town halls, Constituent (client or resident, etc.) advisory committees, Suggestion box/email,

  • 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?

    In 2019 we added the Youth Literary Advisory Board, which is a way for student voice and leadership to chart new paths for our programs. Students are paid for their work as authors/creatives, as well as serving as ambassadors and consultants for the organization.

  • With whom is the organization sharing feedback?

    Our staff, Our board, Our funders, Our community partners,

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

    Incorporating more student voice in our decision-making has helped shift the power to students and set a high standard for our own work.

  • 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 engage the people who provide feedback in looking for ways we can improve in response, We act on the feedback we receive,

  • What challenges does the organization face when collecting feedback?

    It is difficult to get the people we serve to respond to requests for feedback, We don’t have the right technology to collect and aggregate feedback efficiently, Staff find it hard to prioritize feedback collection and review due to lack of time, It is difficult to get honest feedback from the people we serve,

Financials

826 Boston Inc.
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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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lock

Connect with nonprofit leaders

Subscribe

Build relationships with key people who manage and lead nonprofit organizations with GuideStar Pro. Try a low commitment monthly plan today.

  • 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 Boston Inc.

Board of directors
as of 3/31/2021
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board chair

Gillian Kohli

Wellesley Books

Term: 2018 -

Jon Fullerton

Director of the Project for Policy Innovation in Education, H

Jeffrey Mayersohn

Owner of Harvard Book Store

Marc Foster

Transparency Life Sciences, LLC

Emily D’Amour

Mimi Curran

Retired WGBH

Andrew Cohn

LMEC

Charisse Howse

Liberty Mutual Insurance

Donna Cowan

Retired Bolt, Beranek, and Newman

Kevin Whalen

Morgan Stanley

Harvey Cotton

Ropes & Gray LLP

Janet Tiampo

Community volunteer

Pam Rosenberg

Community volunteer

Kate Taylor

Community volunteer

Benielle Sims

Liberty Mutual

Sam Simmons

Hubspot

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? Yes
  • 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? Yes

Organizational demographics

SOURCE: Self-reported; last updated 03/31/2021

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
White/Caucasian/European
Gender identity
Female, Not transgender (cisgender)
Disability status
Person without a disability

Race & ethnicity

Gender identity

 

Sexual orientation

No data

Disability

No data

Equity strategies

Last updated: 03/31/2021

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 employ non-traditional ways of gathering feedback on programs and trainings, which may include interviews, roundtables, and external reviews with/by community stakeholders.
  • 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 help senior leadership understand how to be inclusive leaders with learning approaches that emphasize reflection, iteration, and adaptability.
  • 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.