San Francisco, CA   |  www.826national.org


826 is the largest youth writing network in the country. 826 was founded in 2002 by author Dave Eggers and educator Nínive Calegari. Rooted in the belief that strong writing skills are essential for academic and lifelong success, the 826 Network now serves close to 80,000 students ages 6-18 in under-resourced communities each year, with the support of almost 5,000 volunteers. 826 has chapters in nine U.S. cities: Boston, Chicago, Detroit/Ann Arbor, Los Angeles, Minneapolis/St. Paul, New Orleans, New York City, San Francisco, and Washington, D.C. Each chapter offers five core programs for free: After-School Tutoring, Field Trips, Workshops, Young Authors' Book Project, and In-School program. 826Digital.com makes our inventive writing resources available to educators everywhere for free.

Ruling year info



Laura Brief

Main address

1388 Haight Street #245

San Francisco, CA 94117 USA

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NTEE code info

Elementary, Secondary Ed (B20)

Arts Education/Schools (A25)

Other Youth Development N.E.C. (O99)

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Programs and results

What we aim to solve

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Three out of four 12th graders are not writing at grade level proficiency; that number increases to nine out of ten for students of color. This opportunity gap translates almost directly to the professional world, where writing is a critical skill for professional success: In the U.S., Hispanic, Black and Asian women make up less than five percent of newsroom personnel at traditional print and online news publications. This lack of representation extends to our classrooms, boardrooms, and halls of government—in part due to a missed opportunity to invest in the writing, communication, and problem-solving skills of our nation’s students.

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?

826 Chapter Program: Young Authors' Book Project

The Young Authors’ Book Project partners local schools with professional writers and editors. Students spend three to four months, on average, writing about a particular theme and collaborating with volunteers throughout the editing and publishing process. Once the project is complete, students, volunteers, and families celebrate with a book release party in which students read excerpts from their work.

Population(s) Served

Teams of trained volunteers are dispatched to local, under-served public schools to support teachers and students. Students get individualized support as they tackle various writing projects—including school newspapers, college entrance essays, oral histories, and more.

Population(s) Served

Free workshops encourage students to explore creativity and strengthen their writing skills. Topics range from academic essentials like SAT-prep and college-entrance essays to more imaginative forms of writing like fiction and cartooning. Workshops are project-based and taught by experienced, accomplished professionals.

Population(s) Served

Neighborhood students receive free, individualized homework help four to five days a week in all subject areas. 826's after-school tutoring program is designed to inspire learning, foster creativity, and help students understand and complete their homework each day. We accomplish this by giving youth--particularly low-income youth--access to invaluable academic assistance from
caring volunteers.

Population(s) Served

We address common challenges and opportunities amongst 826 Network chapters by providing ongoing professional development and facilitating best practice sharing.

Population(s) Served

We support the growth among our existing chapters and work to bring the 826 model and approach to new communities.

Population(s) Served

We aim to empower more educators by sharing our fresh approach and curricula through intuitive and captivating teaching resources.

Population(s) Served

We raise funds to sustain our own operations and direct approximately 20% of all funds raised to chapters.

Population(s) Served

We manage and create program assessment tools, analyze and interpret program data, document best practices, and research new education pedagogy to inform and strengthen the impact of our programs.

Population(s) Served

Imagine a classroom of students in Tulsa, Oklahoma writing social justice poetry and inventing miracle elixirs, while an educator in Buenos Aires, Argentina invites students to write about bullying they’ve experienced in school.

826 Digital makes this type of engaged and creative learning possible anywhere in the world. In November 2017, 826 National officially launched 826 Digital, a free, online platform that aims to empower educators and inspire students by sharing our fresh approach and curricula through intuitive and captivating teaching resources. The teacher-facing platform enables students everywhere to experience the transformative power of writing at a price all educators can afford.

Population(s) Served

Where we work

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.

At 826, we believe every student has the potential to succeed with the right opportunities and support. Which is why we've chosen to serve students and communities who are under-represented, under-resourced, and under-heard. Of the students who attend
our after-school tutoring program, 47% identify as Hispanic/Latinx, 26% as African-American, 8% as Asian, 4% as White, and 6% as Multiracial. In addition, 40% of After-School Tutoring students identify a language other than English as their first language. Our chapters also prioritize school partners where 51% or more of the students qualify for free or reduced-price lunches. Most partner schools far exceed this requirement.

From civic leaders to the private sector, our country is in need of strong communicators and creative, diverse thinkers. The data continually shows that our nation's students—particularly students of color—are not graduating with the necessary writing and creative-thinking skills that lead to academic and professional success.

Priority #1: Develop Our Talent
826 National will increase professional development for staff, volunteers, and boards at all levels of experience across the network to increase staff retention; build strong, effective boards; and develop new leaders to ensure network sustainability.

Priority #2: Track & Evaluate Our Impact
Since 826 National's founding, better evaluating the impact of our programs has been a major focus of our work. We will continue to foster this culture of evaluation by creating systems to track student gains and outcomes in academic skills and social-emotional learning, so that we may inform future program development with data-driven, community-based decisions, and effectively share our work and best practices with the field.

Priority #3: Sustainably Scale the 826 Approach
Given the increasing demand for 826 Network services, the National office will build upon current strategies to move toward a more proactive model of expansion, bringing 826's unique approach to writing education to communities across the country. As we expand into new locations and program areas, we do so keeping in mind our commitment to growing and sustaining our existing programs and locations.

Priority #4: Communications & Outreach
826 National will strengthen our external messaging and branding in order to communicate with the education community and civic leaders about writing as a tool for academic and lifelong success. Our signature creativity and our playful voice is integral to our brand, and making that voice heard nationwide is key to effectively building awareness about the importance of writing.

THE THIRD PLACE Each of 826’s writing and tutoring centers provide a “third place”—separate from home or school—which models emotional and physical safety as the norm. All 826 centers welcome students through an inviting storefront with an imaginative theme. These storefronts remove perceived stigmas associated with going to a tutoring center. Our storefronts proudly sell student publications alongside books by established authors, helping to imbue students with confidence in their voice and allowing students to see the impact of their own work.

PROJECT-BASED LEARNING Students become published authors as they see their writing progress from a draft to a final polished piece. Each year, the 826 Network publishes hundreds of pieces of student writing, celebrating their hard work and showcasing the result as a tangible object that students can share not only with their peers and teachers, but with their families. In the process, students are placed in decision-making roles, and developing critical thinking skills as they collaborate with instructors and peers.

VOLUNTEER & COMMUNITY INVOLVEMENT The 826 National Network believes in connecting our students to caring adults— volunteers who are eager to listen as students search for answers and discover themselves. Our vast, dedicated, and generous corps of volunteers and community members enable us to offer our students individualized attention, provide teachers with extra support in the classroom, and cultivate a welcoming and creative learning environment.

COMMITMENT TO FUN From creating miracle elixirs for baldness and Twitter handles for fairytale characters, to writing poem mixtapes and creation myths, students engage in interdisciplinary learning, using writing to enrich and expand upon their studies in school. 826 chapters provide students with high-quality and hands-on programming that aims to make all writing enjoyable for reluctant writers and budding young authors alike.

TEACHER & CLASSROOM SUPPORT Supporting educators has always been central to the 826 model. We accomplish this by bringing the 826 methodology and programming into the classroom, both in-person with the support of caring volunteers and through inspiring, easy-to-use educator resources like our Don’t Forget to Write and STEM to Story: Enthralling and Effective Lesson Plans for Grades 5-8 publications and 826 Digital, a new, pay-what-you-wish on-line platform.

CULTURE OF CREATIVITY 826, by design, is a creative space that fosters a culture of creativity by encouraging students to experiment and take risks with writing, while simultaneously honoring diversity of opinion and experience.

This year, 826 National worked with the National Writing Project to score papers using the Analytic Writing Continuum. The scoring of
student writing showed that engagement with 826 programming results in statistically significant increases across all six writing attributes. For example, writing skills increased an average of 15% in content and 18% in conventions between an early and later draft. This gain moved our students almost half a point closer to approximate grade level proficiency.

Over the last 16 years, we've published thousands of young writers. 826 Network students have seen their words printed in The New York Times and brought to life by Cartoon Network animations. They’ve grown into acclaimed authors, college graduates, and emerging leaders at their local 826 chapters. 84% of our after-school tutoring students surveyed say 826 has helped them become a better writer, and their parents agree (94%). Beyond the academic and professional benefits of writing, writing also unlocks opportunities for students to think more creatively, discover new ways to express themselves and explore identity through storytelling. Simply put, writing inspires action, agency, and power.



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Board of directors
as of 2/25/2021
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board chair

Toni Morell

Zingermans Mail Order

Term: 2017 - 2019

Kate O'Sullivan


Donna Cowan

Community Volunteer

Toni Morell

Zingerman's Mail Order

Anne Wintroub


Eric Abrams

Stanford Graduate School of Education

John Couch

Goldman Sachs

Louis Lucido

DoubleLine, CASA of Los Angeles

Alexandra Suich Bass

The Economist

Sameer Gadkaree

Joyce Foundation

Amanda Gorman

Poet, Activist, and Inaugural U.S. Youth Poet Laureate

Ronicka Harrison-Briscoe

Legacy Inventive Solution for Schools

Elia Herrera

Munger, Tolles & Olson LLP

Michael Masserman


Erika Pulley-Hayes

Corporation for Public Broadcasting

Tom Racciatti

West Monroe Partners

Lacie Sandstrom


Morgan Tovey

Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan, LLP

Kathryn Yontef

Everytown for Gun Safety

Howard Yoon

Ross Yoon Agency