826's goal is to encourage the exploration of endless possibility through the power of writing.

for Students

To create space for students to develop the skills they need to write their own paths forward, undefined by circumstance.

for Teachers

To support new and exciting approaches to writing and inspire student engagement.

for Communities

To foster generations of creative writers and thinkers, who together will define a better future.

826 is the largest youth writing network in the country.

826 National amplifies the impact of our national network of youth writing and publishing centers, and the words of young authors. We serve as an international proof point for writing as a tool for young people to ignite and channel their creativity, explore identity, advocate for themselves and their community, and achieve academic and professional success.

Currently, the 826 Network is in nine major U.S. cities and serves nearly 40,000 under-resourced students ages 6-18 each year, thanks to the support of almost 5,000 volunteers. Each chapter has an imaginative storefront that reimagines tutoring as anything, but traditional; provides a gateway for meeting families, teachers, and volunteers; and connects students with community members. And of course, sells Canned Laughter and Robot Toupées.

In addition, there are fifty 826-inspired organizations across the globe. We support educators through 826 Digital, our new online pay-what- you-wish platform designed to help teach and ignite a love of writing. 826 National is the hub of the 826 Network: facilitating collaboration and alignment among our chapters, and bringing the 826 Network model and approach to new communities.

Of 826 National’s operations directly support our chapters’ writing and tutoring centers

of 826 National’s operations serve to advance the network as a whole

“We wanted to figure out a way to use the limitless energy of the writing community to provide help.”

– Dave Eggers

In 2002, internationally-acclaimed author Dave Eggers and award-winning educator Nínive Calegari opened a writing and tutoring center to support overburdened teachers by connecting community members with students who could use their help the most. The space they chose was 826 Valencia Street in the Mission District of San Francisco.

The proximity to families, schools, and volunteers was ideal, but there was one small problem: the building was zoned for retail. So when someone remarked that the space, a former gym, looked strangely like the hull of a ship, the Pirate Supply Store was born. We set sail into the uncharted waters of pencils and parlay. Ahoy.

826 Valencia quickly became a success and soon after, 826 Network chapters opened up across the country. The chapters follow the original 826 model and offer the same core programs, but each chapter has their own unique storefront, theme, and responsive approach to meet the needs of their local students and educators. 826 National was founded in 2008 to serve as the hub of the 826 Network and to bring the 826 model to new communities.

Today, the 826 Network has grown by leaps and bounds—from a single location in San Francisco to a global movement dedicated to getting young people to experience the transformative power of writing.

Meet the 826 National Team
The staff at the National Office are dedicated to supporting the work of our chapters and the students they serve.

Network Collaboration

At its heart, 826 National is a central office that functions to support each of its chapters. Therefore, one of our greatest priorities is facilitating collaboration and unification among 826 staff across the country. 826 National leads monthly calls to convene, share best practices, and discuss anything from volunteer coordination to fundraising to diversity and inclusion efforts. While each 826 community is unique, our common practices and vision unify us.

826 National also helps facilitate national programmatic partnerships, like Read This Poem, our collaboration with the Academy of American Poets to celebrate National Poetry Month. The project, which highlights and connects local poets in each of 826 National’s chapter cities, asks participating poets to commit to an act of service with their local 826 chapter.

Research & Evaluation

The 826 network’s research and evaluation efforts are centralized in the National office. Our Director of Research and Evaluation is responsible for managing program assessments for students, volunteers, parents, and teachers; collecting and interpreting data to both inform our chapters’ programming and to share best practices; and researching new education pedagogy to continually improve our programs. In addition to this, 826 National routinely works with outside evaluators to facilitate and produce independent evaluations of 826’s programs.

Network Expansion

In addition to supporting the tremendous growth among our existing chapters, 826 National works to build the network’s expansion efforts and initiatives. Because 826 is a community-based organization, it’s important to us to support developments spearheaded by local working groups and organizations who best understand their community, local arts, and education landscape. Groups interested in joining the network can apply to enter our Chapter Development Process.

To aid these groups, and other interested parties, we host a two-day 101 Seminar to bring together individuals from around the world who are interested in either the 826 model, or in starting their own arts-based, community-based nonprofit.

Networkwide Infrastructure

  • Fundraising In addition to raising funds to sustain 826 National’s own operations, we also seek national funding and partnership opportunities that directly support our chapters’ programs. Additionally, we support chapters in their local development efforts by providing training and research resources and identifying local funding sources.
  • Database Management The 826 Network uses a shared database that is managed at the National office for tracking donor, volunteer, and student information. Integrated systems ensure the network’s data is up-to-date, informing advancements in programs and fundraising.
  • Annual Staff Conference 826 National organizes a network-wide, three-day staff development conference focused on professional development that includes guest speakers, panel discussions, peer-to-peer learning, intra-chapter planning, best-practice sharing, and more.

Resources for Educators

826 National strives to provide educators with quality writing lessons and curriculum to get students excited about and engaged in writing. We’ve published several resources for educators and parents:

826 Digital is a new educator-facing, pay-what-you-wish, online platform to enable students everywhere to experience the transformative power of writing. 826 Digital hosts an ever-expanding collection of Common Core-aligned lessons, projects, writing prompts, and student writing that bring an unconventional and engaging approach to teaching writing. All content was developed and field-tested by educators, volunteers, and students affiliated with the 826 National Network.

Don’t Forget to Write is a set of creative writing lesson plans for elementary and secondary grades. Created as a resource to reach all students (even those most resistant to creative writing), the lessons range from goofy fun (like “The Other Toy Story: Make Your Toys Come to Life”) to practical, from sports to science, music to mysteries. These lessons are written by experts, and favorite novelists, actors, and other celebrities pitched in too. Lessons are aligned with the Common Core State Standards.

STEM to Story: Enthralling and Effective Lesson Plans for Grades 5-8 inspires learning through fun, engaging, and meaningful lesson plans that fuse hands-on discovery in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) with creative writing. Aligned with both the Common Core State Standards and the Next Generation Science Standards, this book provides teachers, after-school and out-of-school providers, and parents with field-tested lessons, workshops, and projects designed by professionals in each field.

2016 Gerald Richards, former CEO, named 2016's Murdoch Community Hero by News Corp

2013 Library of Congress American Literacy Award presented to 826 National for achievements in the field of literacy

2012 Strategic Horizons LLP Experience Stager of the Year Award presented to 826 National

2012 INFORUM's 21st Century Visionary Award presented to Dave Eggers

2010 Jim Henson Community award presented to 826 National

2009 Los Angeles Times Book Prize Innovators Award presented to Dave Eggers

2008 TED Prize presented to Dave Eggers for his work with 826 National

2007 Heinz Award for Arts & Humanities presented to Dave Eggers

Join the 826 National Network


Join our team of trusty, dedicated staff members here at the 826 National office, or at one of our chapters.



Interns make our world go ’round at 826 National.

We offer a variety of tracked internships that provide you with practical in-depth experience into the world of nonprofits.


Chapter Application

Bring the 826 model to your community.

Learn what we look for in organizations hoping to join our Chapter Development Process, and find resources to help you get started.