Recycling unwanted crayons into unlimited possibilities.

Danville, CA   |
GuideStar Charity Check


EIN: 80-0938971


Dedicated to providing children with the resources to express their creativity and individuality through the arts, The Crayon Initiative takes unwanted crayons, remanufactures them into new, occupational therapist-designed crayons and donates them to children's hospitals and their related child life services programs. We prevent thousands of pounds a year of crayons from going to landfills all over the United States. The Crayon Initiative supports children's hospitals in nearly every state, and collects crayons from all over the world.

Notes from the nonprofit

The Crayon Initiative is unique in that we cover a wide-range of areas - from recycling used and unwanted crayons from all around the world, to convert them into fresh, new, clean crayons that have been therapeutically designed by an occupational therapist to fit smaller hands and not roll off hospital trays - to sharing these crayons 100% free of charge to children's hospitals along with additional resources (coloring books, party packs, crowns and celebratory art work efforts) to their child life services programs. It is an amazing process to see crayons received in pounds and hundreds of pounds - from all over - to having them sorted, manually by volunteers and fundraisers (corporate team building) to seeing those 9 colors being melted down into liquid wax to being molded into the new 3-sided crayons, and seeing them packed in boxes of 8 colors - to seeing them packed and ready to ship all over the United States. It is an incredible thing.... Thanks for supporting!

Ruling year info


Founder & President

Bryan Ware

Main address

540 Glasgow Circle

Danville, CA 94526 USA

Show more contact info



Subject area info

Arts education




Population served info

Children and youth

NTEE code info

Health - General and Rehabilitative N.E.C. (E99)

IRS subsection

501(c)(3) Public Charity

IRS filing requirement

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

Tax forms



Programs and results

What we aim to solve

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

The Crayon Initiative organizes crayon collections that take unwanted crayons, remanufactures them, and provides them to hospitals that care caring for children.

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?

Share Your Colors

The Crayon Initiative helps preserve the environment and enrich the lives of hospitalized children through art and imagination. Through our work, we reduce environmental waste by remanufacturing used crayons (which are not biodegradable) into new ergonomically shaped crayons that are put in packs with eight different colors and then donated to art programs in children’s hospitals across the country.

Population(s) Served
Children and youth

Prior to the Covid-19 pandemic, The Crayon Initiative was able to send about 16,000 packs of crayons to hospitalized children all over the United States. When we had to close our doors to our volunteers, we lost a very valuable and significant participant in our process - as a result, we also lost the ability to raise funds to process and ship these crayons. 2023 marks the 10th Anniversary of The Crayon Initiative, so we are trying to get our strength and volunteer numbers back - thus, Bring Back the Crayons! By donating cash or in-kind support to The Crayon Initiative we will be able to get back to the level we were and surpass our numbers - we have sent nearly 750,000 packs of crayons to date - we want to get to 1,000,000 per year! Will you help?

Population(s) Served
Children and youth
People with diseases and illnesses

Where we work


Golden Arrow Award 2023

California Product Stewardship Council

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 sick children assessed

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

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success


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 mission is to preserve the environment by recycling used and unwanted crayons and to enrich the lives of hospitalized children through art and imagination.

While crayons unlock creativity and spark growth, they are also not biodegradable. We organize crayon collections and remanufacture used crayons into new packs. The packs are then shipped for free to pediatric patients across the United States.

By engaging thousands of local and corporate volunteers, we remove millions of crayons from landfills and provide hospitalized children with an outlet that reduces stress and unlocks imagination.

We accomplish our charity’s mission by focusing on three objectives.

Crayon Collections
We partner with corporations, restaurants, and communities to collect used crayons. Since 2016, Landry’s Restaurants has been a significant supporter by displaying our collection bins at over 110 Bubba Gump Shrimp, Rainforest Café and Joe’s Crab Shack restaurants. Donations arrive from across the country in large boxes from corporations such as A.C. Moore to shoe boxes from girl scout troops to envelopes from children.

Foundation and Corporate Fundraising
We seek financial support from the public and businesses to remove used crayons from landfills and give new crayons at no cost to pediatric patients. Funding is typically for general operating support and we receive in-kind packaging and shipping supply donations.

Local and National Community Support
We enlist thousands of local volunteers to operate our manufacturing facility as well as engage a robust corporate volunteer pipeline to organize crayon sorting events.

The Crayon Initiative has received 51 tons of used crayons in 2018, an increase of 242% from the prior year. Crayon donations are sent from across the country and even internationally.

From 2014 to 2017, TCI’s base of operations was the founder’s home. In late 2017, TCI built a production site next to downtown Danville. The production facility has two melting stations, four molding stations, and a crayon sorting area that is open 5 days per week. Custom molds, designed by the founder, produce durable ergonomic crayons that are easy to clean and will not roll off of tray tables.

Volunteers sign up for shifts online and the facility can be reserved for school fieldtrips and corporate teambuilding events. At full capacity, 2,000 pounds of crayons can be sorted, molded, packed, and shipped to 3,000 children per week.

In 2015, we received 10,500 pounds of used crayons and remanufactured and packaged 5,000 crayons. With our current supply of raw materials, we are on track to produce over 150,000 packs of new crayons in 2018.

We have a successful social media campaign and several grant proposals and corporate sponsorship opportunities in progress. We also have thousands of local volunteers, as well as a robust corporate volunteer pipeline.

In order to reach our production goals, we must fill critical roles in our organization and on our board so that current leaders and staff can spend more time expanding outreach channels and realizing our potential when it comes to critical donations and sponsorships.

By engaging a wider and deeper donor base, the incremental support will fund:
• Hiring an Executive Director to focus on the strategic growth of the organization
• Creating 2-3 full time positions to manage increased production
• Purchasing two additional crayon molds, bringing our total count to eight
• Designing and building proprietary equipment that will shorten melting times and filter crayon wrappers automatically, thus improving the efficiency of our operations

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 shared information about our current feedback practices.
  • How is your organization using feedback from the people you serve?

    To identify bright spots and enhance positive service experiences, To inform the development of new programs/projects, To strengthen relationships with the people we serve, To understand people's needs and how we can help them achieve their goals

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

    We aim to collect feedback from as many people we serve as possible, We act on the feedback we receive, We share the feedback we received with the people we serve

  • 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 find the ongoing funding to support feedback collection


Fiscal year: Jan 01 - Dec 31

Revenue vs. expenses:  breakdown

SOURCE: IRS Form 990 info
Note: When component data are not available, the graph displays the total Revenue and/or Expense values.

Liquidity in 2022 info

SOURCE: IRS Form 990


Average of 2.78 over 10 years

Months of cash in 2022 info

SOURCE: IRS Form 990


Average of 2 over 10 years

Fringe rate in 2022 info

SOURCE: IRS Form 990


Average of 5% over 10 years

Funding sources info

Source: IRS Form 990

Assets & liabilities info

Source: IRS Form 990

Financial data

SOURCE: IRS Form 990


Revenue & expenses

Fiscal Year: Jan 01 - Dec 31

SOURCE: IRS Form 990 info

Fiscal year ending: cloud_download Download Data


Balance sheet

Fiscal Year: Jan 01 - Dec 31

SOURCE: IRS Form 990 info

The balance sheet gives a snapshot of the financial health of an organization at a particular point in time. An organization's total assets should generally exceed its total liabilities, or it cannot survive long, but the types of assets and liabilities must also be considered. For instance, an organization's current assets (cash, receivables, securities, etc.) should be sufficient to cover its current liabilities (payables, deferred revenue, current year loan, and note payments). Otherwise, the organization may face solvency problems. On the other hand, an organization whose cash and equivalents greatly exceed its current liabilities might not be putting its money to best use.

Fiscal year ending: cloud_download Download Data


Financial trends analysis Glossary & formula definitions

Fiscal Year: Jan 01 - Dec 31

SOURCE: IRS Form 990 info

This snapshot of THE CRAYON INITIATIVE’s financial trends applies Nonprofit Finance Fund® analysis to data hosted by GuideStar. While it highlights the data that matter most, remember that context is key – numbers only tell part of any story.

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Business model indicators

Profitability info 2018 2019 2020 2021 2022
Unrestricted surplus (deficit) before depreciation $27,069 $37,347 -$109,975 $6,004 $25,467
As % of expenses 6.8% 11.8% -28.6% 1.5% 5.3%
Unrestricted surplus (deficit) after depreciation $6,116 $11,781 -$153,247 -$27,552 -$6,942
As % of expenses 1.5% 3.4% -35.8% -6.4% -1.4%
Revenue composition info
Total revenue (unrestricted & restricted) $426,286 $353,979 $254,484 $391,970 $504,622
Total revenue, % change over prior year 20.2% -17.0% -28.1% 54.0% 28.7%
Program services revenue 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0%
Membership dues 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0%
Investment income 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0%
Government grants 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 8.6% 1.8%
All other grants and contributions 99.5% 99.9% 99.8% 91.0% 98.1%
Other revenue 0.5% 0.1% 0.2% 0.4% 0.0%
Expense composition info
Total expenses before depreciation $398,700 $316,632 $384,960 $397,968 $479,155
Total expenses, % change over prior year 29.0% -20.6% 21.6% 3.4% 20.4%
Personnel 2.9% 1.0% 21.7% 16.1% 8.8%
Professional fees 7.7% 5.4% 3.3% 14.7% 7.3%
Occupancy 41.7% 60.1% 51.2% 47.0% 41.0%
Interest 0.3% 0.6% 0.5% 1.0% 3.2%
Pass-through 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0%
All other expenses 47.5% 32.9% 23.4% 21.2% 39.7%
Full cost components (estimated) info 2018 2019 2020 2021 2022
Total expenses (after depreciation) $419,653 $342,198 $428,232 $431,524 $511,564
One month of savings $33,225 $26,386 $32,080 $33,164 $39,930
Debt principal payment $0 $0 $0 $17,707 $0
Fixed asset additions $0 $82,204 $86,911 $0 $0
Total full costs (estimated) $452,878 $450,788 $547,223 $482,395 $551,494

Capital structure indicators

Liquidity info 2018 2019 2020 2021 2022
Months of cash 2.8 2.1 2.4 2.9 3.2
Months of cash and investments 2.8 2.1 2.4 2.9 3.2
Months of estimated liquid unrestricted net assets 2.5 1.5 -4.9 -4.8 -3.3
Balance sheet composition info 2018 2019 2020 2021 2022
Cash $92,464 $56,227 $78,329 $96,268 $129,347
Investments $0 $0 $0 $0 $0
Receivables $27,403 $50 $8,100 $18,118 $0
Gross land, buildings, equipment (LBE) $140,836 $223,040 $309,951 $317,551 $317,551
Accumulated depreciation (as a % of LBE) 39.7% 36.5% 40.3% 49.9% 60.1%
Liabilities (as a % of assets) 20.3% 11.9% 90.1% 99.9% 102.6%
Unrestricted net assets $169,204 $180,985 $27,738 $186 -$6,756
Temporarily restricted net assets $0 N/A N/A N/A N/A
Permanently restricted net assets $0 N/A N/A N/A N/A
Total restricted net assets $0 $0 $0 $0 $0
Total net assets $169,204 $180,985 $27,738 $186 -$6,756

Key data checks

Key data checks info 2018 2019 2020 2021 2022
Material data errors No No No No No


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

Form 1023/1024 is not available for this organization

Founder & President

Bryan Ware

Bryan is the creator of WareWorks, a consulting firm specializing in packaging and product design as well as manufacturing processes. After years of helping major companies such as Google, Franzia, Uncle Bens, and Scotts Miracle-Gro streamline their manufacturing and products for ultimate efficiency, Bryan has dedicated himself to combining his manufacturing skills and his love for the arts to help children in need.

Number of employees

Source: IRS Form 990


Officers, directors, trustees, and key employees

SOURCE: IRS Form 990

Show data for fiscal year
Compensation data
Download up to 5 most recent years of officer and director compensation data for this organization

There are no highest paid employees recorded for this organization.


Board of directors
as of 02/20/2024
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board of directors data
Download the most recent year of board of directors data for this organization
Board chair

Bryan Ware

The Crayon Initiative

Marissa Ware


Dwight Koda

William and Flora Hewlett Foundation

Melissa Krieg

Exxon Mobil

Allegra Abbey Berckmoes

Texas Children's Hospital - Houston

Lori Deselms

Retired - Wells Fargo

Tim Ahlenius Marketing

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 ? Not applicable
  • 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 2/20/2024

Who works and leads organizations that serve our diverse communities? Candid partnered with CHANGE Philanthropy on this demographic section.


No data

Race & ethnicity

Gender identity

Transgender Identity

Sexual orientation


No data

We do not display disability information for organizations with fewer than 15 staff.

Equity strategies

Last updated: 08/23/2023

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

  • We ask team members to identify racial disparities in their programs and / or portfolios.
  • We disaggregate data to adjust programming goals to keep pace with changing needs of the communities we support.
Policies and processes
  • 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.