826DC is dedicated to working with students ages 6-18 in developing their creative and expository writing skills, and to working with teachers to inspire their students to write. We believe that great leaps in learning can happen with one-on-one attention and that strong writing skills are fundamental to future success.
As demonstrated through a variety of adaptable program models held both on site and in schools, we believe that great leaps in learning can happen with one-on-one attention, and that strong writing skills are fundamental to future success. With this in mind, we provide after-school tutoring, in-school programming, evening and weekend workshops, field trips, and student publishing opportunities. Most of our programs end with a tangible, finished product such as a newspaper, book, or film. This project-based learning model encourages students to collaborate, make creative decisions, and gives them ownership over the learning process.
Our combined programs’ attendance and participation have seen dramatic increases over the last four years. The number of students served has shot up from 134 students in 2008-2009, to more than 3,369 students in 2013-2014; we are projected to serve 4,000 students in SY2014-15.
826DC is centered on the following programs:
• After-School Tutoring runs four days per week from 3:30pm to 6:00pm. Staff and trained volunteer tutors first provide one-on-one homework help (on any subject and skill level), and then work on individualized reading and writing projects. Our after-school tutoring program serves more than 100 students, ages 6-18, throughout the school year.
• Field Trips provide the opportunity for teachers to take their students out of the classroom and bring them to our space for two hours of high-energy learning. In our most popular field trip, Storytelling & Bookmaking, we work with a class of elementary school students to create, illustrate, and publish a collaborative storybook. Each student leaves with his or her own published book, a tangible product of his or her hard work and imagination. During the 2014-2015 school year, we are projected to host 120 field trips, serving more than 1,500 students and 92 teachers, assisting more than 70 schools.
• In-School Sessions allow our corps of devoted tutors and teaching artists to assist and support teachers in the classroom. 826DC helps teachers succeed at fulfilling their dream curriculum by providing support and helping to lower the student-teacher ratio in the classroom. Most importantly, it allows us to help students who otherwise might not ask for help on their own. We are projected to serve more than 1,100 students through our In-School Programs during the 2014-15 school year.
• Workshops are led by talented volunteer teaching artists (including published authors, educators, playwrights, etc.) during evenings, on weekends, and throughout the summer. Workshops cover a wide range of literary topics including music writing, poetry, and personal essays. We will serve more than 600 students through our Workshops, which are open to the public.
• Reading All-Stars is a school-based Saturday morning reading program at Harriet Tubman Elementary School. Each week in the school year, trained volunteers worked one-on-one with students and read together from 10 AM to 12 PM. Using the Fountas and Pennell leveling system, students work with volunteers and focus on developing a range of skills from basic phonetics to reading comprehension. Following 1.5 hours of reading, students complete a writing exercise designed to foster increased reading comprehension skills. We have more than 100 students enrolled in Reading All-Stars this year.
• The Young Authors’ Book Project is 826DC’s flagship publishing program. Each year 826DC partners with a professional writer-mentor and several schools to create an anthology of student work. Students (guided by tutors and teaching artists who help them polish initial drafts) are involved in every step of the process—from writing pieces and sitting on an editorial board, to making critical decisions about the design and layout. The writer-mentor provides an introduction for the finished book and hosts a reading for all the students, their families, and the community. Because of the professional quality of the publications, students work diligently on their essays and become invested in the publishing process. They’re a big source of pride for us, and for the young authors. To date, 826DC has successfully published six anthologies; we are currently developing a partnership with DCPS to make the Young Author’s Book Project a competitive entry process among public high school students.
Originally founded in 2008, 826DC (formerly Capitol Letters Writing Center) is the newest affiliate in the 826 National network, which was founded by award-winning author Dave Eggers. Since 2008, 826DC has been dedicated to supporting students ages 6-18 with their creative and expository writing skills, and to helping teachers inspire their students to write. On October 23, 2010, we opened our first permanent home, and within the first year had nearly quadrupled the number of students we served. 826DC’s goal is to turn students into published authors and to strengthen students’ power to express ideas effectively, creatively, confidently, and in their own individual voices. 826DC is proud to have served 3,369 children in SY2014-15, and we plan to serve 5,000 students this school year.
In 2014, 826DC received the Mayor’s Art Award for Outstanding Contribution to Arts Education, and as part of the 826 National network, 826DC was awarded the inaugural American Literacy Prize from the Library of Congress for our “outstanding work in combating illiteracy and alliteracy.” Our combined programs’ attendance and participation have seen dramatic increases over the last three years. The number of students served has shot up from 134 students in 2008-2009, to more than 3,369 students in 2013-2014; by the end of the 2014-2015 school year, we plan to serve 4,000.
826DC has a Board of 11 Directors, and we hope to grow it to 13 in the coming fiscal year. Represented on the board are writers, former journalists, education policy experts, nonprofit managers, philanthropists, insurance officer, political fundraiser, a literary agent, and members of the corporate world. We have board members that participate in programming, either by recruiting volunteers and interns, or leading programs themselves.
Our Board of Directors plays an active role in the governance and financial stability of 826DC. Our Directors sit on various committees including Executive, Finance, and Fundraising. During the last two fiscal years, the Board began the hard work of establishing an operational reserve to ensure financial sustainability. With a significant Give/Get policy, we are proud to say that we enjoy 100% participation from our Board members, and they contribute to our financial success in fundraising both through special events and major donor/corporate partner cultivation.
In May 2013, the 826DC Board of Directors approved a three-year strategic plan, that identified not just some significant opportunities for 826DC, but identified our most significant past and present challenges, but ones we will face moving forward:
• Financial stability and sustainability. Over the next three years, 826DC will focus on building our general operating reserve, paying down our debt, and developing a sustainable and stable fundraising base. Additionally, we are exploring the feasibility of a five-year anniversary campaign to culminate in October 2015.
• Program Demand and Organizational Capacity. 826DC has a small staff – four full-time employees, one Public Allies member, and an AmeriCorps VISTA service member. With aggressive program growth goals, we need to build our staff, as well as diversify and build our volunteer base.
• Finding a New Home for 826DC. Our current location in Columbia Heights has reached program capacity, and lacks adequate office space for us to grow. As our lease comes to an end, the cost of our space is also unsustainable in the long-term. Therefore, 826DC is exploring new long-term solutions.
- Year established:2010
- Organization type:Grantseeker
- Country of registration:United States
- Tax Determination Letter:Received Determination Letter
- IRS Section:501(c)(3)
- IRS Subsection:509(a)(1)
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Types of funding being sought (i.e. funding type)
- None specified
Program areas of focus and activity (i.e. funding cause)
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Geographic areas of focus and activity (i.e. geographic area)
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