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. We work towards a country in which the power and the joy of writing is accessible to every student in every classroom.

The 826 Network serves approximately 470,000 students ages 6 to 18 each year via 826 Digital and through nine chapters: 826 Boston, 826CHI, 826DC, 826LA, 826michigan, 826 MSP, 826 New Orleans, 826NYC, and 826 Valencia. This work is possible thanks to the support of almost 2,000 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 student publications. In addition, there are over 50 organizations around the world inspired by the 826 model.

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. Together, we believe writing is the key to cultivating a new generation of creative and diverse thinkers who will define a better, brighter, and more compassionate future.

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 generic drug 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.

Research & Evaluation

The 826 network’s research and evaluation efforts are centralized in the National office. Our Director of Research 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 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. We work to reach more students through balancing the best practices of the 826 Network with the needs, resources, vision, and knowledge of the local community.

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.

826 Digital is an educator-facing 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