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826 Valencia’s


About Our Strategic Plan With over a decade of unique and meaningful writing, tutoring, and publishing programs under our belts, 826 Valencia is in the midst of an exciting period of growth. As we prepared to launch our most ambitious project yet, opening a second center in the Tenderloin, we also embarked on the creation of a Strategic Plan. The process was collaborative, with the voices of both staff and board members at the table and much shared passion in the air. Together we articulated the principles and priorities that guide us and shape our goals.

Our Core Focus Areas Through the strategic planning process, we identified five values that are at the heart of our work:





Naming these focus areas helped us draw up a map of where we’re headed next.

Photo by Lisa Beth Anderson

Where Are We Now? We have much to be proud of when we reflect on our strengths as an organization and a community. Our unique programs are in high demand. We have a skilled staff, dedicated volunteers, a proven impact, and a respected brand that is evident everywhere from our unique storefront to our professional publications of student writing. We are also identifying what stands between where we are and where we’re headed. We need to recruit more volunteers, deepen our training practices, create more effective impact measurement tools, and develop the financial resources and human infrastructure that will enable us to expand and grow. We’re ready to embark on this next (big, bold, ambitious, necessary!) leg of our journey. Onward!



Transform a Young Person’s Relationship to Writing “When I entered this program two years ago, I thought that I couldn’t do things. Now, when someone tells me we are going to write, I think, ‘This is going to be easy.’” — Yuridiana Cleofas, age 10 We believe that creative and authentic opportunities for expression allow students to cultivate fundamental skills and build confidence that leads to success in school and beyond. Every student deserves to feel empowered to master the written word.



Improve students’ writing skills in meaningful and measurable ways

Develop customized metrics that will allow us to collect essential data, improve project-based programs, and capture and share our impact

Positively impact students’ attitudes toward writing Amplify students’ voices

Prioritize deeper, longer-term engagement with our students Increase the number, quality, and diversity of our publishing platforms, both print and digital Strengthen our brand and increase our audience in order to broaden our connection to a larger community

Cultivate Wonder In the universe, I would find an alien and take it back to 826. He would see 826 as an awesome place. The alien would see kids reading, writing, doing their homework, and see how smart they are. — From “The Universe to Fly to With My Wings” by Marlon Hernandez, age 9 Many who walk into 826 Valencia or our Writers’ Rooms speak of the feeling of magic that greets them there. This spirit of creativity and wonder, fueled by a belief in the transformative power of writing, permeates everything we do.



Cultivate wonder at every point of intersection with 826 Valencia’s programs, for students, parents, teachers, volunteers, and the community

Develop creative metrics to quantify the virtue of wonder and assess the difference it makes in our programs and outcomes

Inspire creativity through our pedagogy, physical spaces, online presence, and publications

Increase the number, quality, and diversity of our publishing platforms, both print and digital Increase our audience in order to professionalize our students’ experience as published authors and broaden our connection to a larger community

Provide Individualized Attention and Support to Students “Tutors help me write a creative story because they care and because they have big, creative brains. It changes everything when my tutor helps me.” — Natalie Ramirez, age 8 We believe that one-on-one attention from a caring adult results in great leaps in learning. We know that schools and teachers are often stretched too thin to provide the kind of individualized support that students need in order to thrive.



Ensure that there is sufficient volunteer support in all of our programs

Recruit more volunteers by increasing our outreach and developing new partnerships with universities and corporations

Increase racial, ethnic, and gender diversity among our volunteers and interns to better reflect the students we serve Increase our tutors’ effectiveness

Create pathways for students and parents to grow into leadership roles at 826 More deeply engage volunteers and interns to increase retention rates Require more volunteer trainings, and make our existing trainings more accessible to all

Partner with Under-Served Schools and Communities “I wouldn’t have had the chance to work with a tutor face-to-face like this at school, due to the fact that people are very busy!”­ — A high school senior at Personal Statement Weekend We believe that all students, regardless of income or background, deserve a chance to be successful, and that teachers often lack sufficient support and resources. We offer our services free of charge to the communities with the greatest need.



Provide meaningful support to teachers to help them do their difficult jobs

Deepen service learning partnerships in order to recruit more volunteers who can provide classroom support

Take a partnership role with schools and organizations, rather than a vendor role

Increase outreach to funders with a specific interest in addressing inequities in education, the arts, and college and career readiness Develop customized metrics that will allow us to collect essential data, improve project-based programs, and capture and share our impact

Grow Sustainably “My suggestion for the future of 826 programs: keep the good vibes, add an electric pencil sharpener.” — A 10th grade student in the Young Authors’ Workshop As we continue to provide our services to thousands of students annually and aim to grow this number significantly with new locations, new programs, and a wider reach, we need to ensure that everything we build stands on a strong foundation.



Secure adequate funding to support new programming

Increase fundraising outreach to corporations, foundations, and individuals who share our values and are invested in our mission

Become a more data-driven organization Improve our organizational effectiveness to accommodate and sustain growth

Increase internal capacity by growing our board, adding staff, and professionalizing systems and infrastructure Develop customized metrics that will allow us to collect essential data, improve project- based programs, and capture and share our impact

Are you ready to help chart the course for the next generation of writers and thinkers?

826 Valencia is a nonprofit organization dedicated to supporting under-resourced students ages six to eighteen with their creative and expository writing skills and to helping teachers inspire their students to write. Our services are structured around the understanding that great leaps in learning can happen with one-on-one attention and that strong writing skills are fundamental to future success. 826 Valencia Street, San Francisco, CA 94110 415.642.5905

826 Valencia Strategic Plan 2015–2018  
826 Valencia Strategic Plan 2015–2018