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Organization DBA --
Former Names --
Organization received a competitive grant from the Boston Foundation in the past five years No

Summary

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Mission StatementMORE »

826 Boston is a nonprofit youth writing and publishing organization that empowers traditionally underserved students ages 6-18 to find their voices, tell their stories, and gain communication skills to succeed in school and in life.

Mission Statement

826 Boston is a nonprofit youth writing and publishing organization that empowers traditionally underserved students ages 6-18 to find their voices, tell their stories, and gain communication skills to succeed in school and in life.

FinancialsMORE »

Fiscal Year July 01, 2015 to June 30, 2016
Projected Income $1,046,917.00
Projected Expense $1,011,018.00

ProgramsMORE »

  • After-School Writing and Tutoring Program
  • In-School Writing and Publishing Program

Revenue vs. Expense ($000s)

Expense Breakdown 2015 (%)

Expense Breakdown 2014 (%)

Expense Breakdown 2013 (%)

For more details regarding the organization's financial information, select the financial tab and review available comments.


Overview

Mission Statement

826 Boston is a nonprofit youth writing and publishing organization that empowers traditionally underserved students ages 6-18 to find their voices, tell their stories, and gain communication skills to succeed in school and in life.

Background Statement

826 Boston is a nonprofit youth writing and publishing organization that empowers traditionally underserved students ages 6-18 to find their voices, tell their stories, and gain communication skills to succeed in school and in life.

Modeled after the youth writing center founded by author Dave Eggers in San Francisco, 826 Boston’s innovative programs—all offered free of charge—are implemented with the understanding that great leaps in learning can happen with one-on-one attention, and that strong writing skills are essential to future success in life.

In September 2013, the 826 network received the prestigious, inaugural American Literacy Prize from the Library of Congress for its “innovative history of addressing community illiteracy…and its unique approach to helping at-risk K-12 students achieve reading and writing proficiency.” And in November, the Wallace Foundation recognized the 826 network as an exemplary arts organization in their report, "Something to Say: Success Principles for Afterschool Arts Programs from Urban Youth and Other Experts."

Since opening its doors in 2007, 826 Boston has offered more than 20,000 students comprehensive literacy based programming. 826 Boston’s After-School Writing and Tutoring Program and creative writing workshops foster creativity, a love of reading, and storytelling skills. The organization’s Young Authors’ Book Project has transformed hundreds of BPS students into published writers featured in a dozen original collections of writing. The Boston Globe hailed I Want You to Have This: A Collection of Objects and Their Stories from Around the World as a “poignant” collection that “asks us to re-evaulate the material wealth in our lives.”


Impact Statement

The 2015-2016 academic year was one of particular programmatic and organizational growth for 826 Boston. In all, 826 Boston delivered more than 19,000 hours of one-on-one tutoring and writing help to more than 3,500 students with the help of more than 600 volunteers. The proud recipient of a 2008 “Best of Boston” award from the Boston Globe Magazine, 826 Boston relies on talented individuals who donate thousands of hours each year to help deliver the organization’s programs.

During the 2015-2016 school year, 826 Boston also:

  • Vetted, conducted exploratory programming, and signed a memo of understanding with the Jeremiah E. Burke High School to set up the next 826 Boston Writers' Room.
  • Professionally published 60 graduating seniors and 46 sophomores in two collections of student writing through its Young Authors’ Book Project;
  • Partnered with the American Repertory Theater to deliver a Summer Theater and Writing Collaborative to 20 middle school students;
  • Secured funding and solidified plans to launch a satellite after-school program in Fall 2014;
  • Hosted 69 Storytelling and Bookmaking Field Trips with 1,122 elementary and middle school students;
  • Provided, on average, 150 hours of one-on-one tutoring to the 274 students attending our After-School Writing and Tutoring Program.

Over the 2016-2017 academic year, 826 Boston seeks to achieve the following goals:

  • Operate two Writers’ Rooms inside the Jeremiah E. Burke High School and the John D. O’Bryant School of Math and Science, reading 1,750;
  • Vet and conduct exploratory programming in preparation for opening a third Writers' Room in a K-8 public school in Boston;
  • Deepen the level of service in the After-School Writing and Tutoring Program, including increased family engagement, college access resources and evaluation of social-emotional learning;
  • Operate a five-week Summer Theater and Writing Collaborative in partnership with the American Repertory Theater for 20 middle school students.                 

Needs Statement

  1. Volunteers: Increasing 826 Boston’s program delivery requires expanding its highly trained volunteer corps. While not a direct cost, volunteer recruitment requires staff time to pursue relationships that will result in sustainable, long-term partnerships.
  2. Graphic Design services: From book design to print needs for events and fundraising materials, 826 Boston maintains a steady need for high-quality print and web-ready design materials. The true cost of this need totals more than $50,000.
  3. Program support: Over the 2017 through 2021 fiscal years, 826 Boston will expand by one additional Writers' Room per year, growing its budget to $2.5 million.
  4. Staffing: In addition to its full-time staff of nine, 826 Boston relies on AmeriCorps VISTA and Commonwealth Corps service members to provide additional program and fundraising support. Over the next five years, 826 Boston will acquire five to seven more full-time positions.
  5. In-kind donations: 826 Boston will furnish space in Boston public schools with the opening of each new Writers' Room. Past partners have donated office furniture and decor to assist this endeavor. In-kind partners have also donated office supplies, technology, food and drink, and services to the organization.

CEO Statement

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Board Chair Statement

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Geographic Area Served

In a specific U.S. city, cities, state(s) and/or region.
City of Boston- Citywide (Indiv. neighborhoods also listed)

An estimated 10,000 school-aged children and teenagers live within a one-mile radius of 826 Boston’s center on Washington Street. Many speak a primary language other than English, and 77% qualify for free or reduced-price school lunch. According to an 826 Boston reading assessment, 66% of incoming after-school students are “at-risk” readers. In order to reach these high-needs students effectively, 826 Boston focuses its recruitment in neighborhood schools and nearby low-income housing units.

Organization Categories

  1. Education - Educational Services
  2. Arts,Culture & Humanities -
  3. -

Independent research has been conducted on this organization's theory of change or on the effectiveness of this organization's program(s)

Yes

Programs

After-School Writing and Tutoring Program

Monday through Thursday afternoons students work one-on-one with tutors to complete homework, spend time reading aloud, and embark on ambitious, long-term writing projects. Weekday sessions last 90 minutes and engage students for the entire school year. Saturday tutoring sessions, for students ages 12 to 18, draw a weekly average of 15 middle and high school students. In October 2014,  826 Boston’s after-school program launched a satellite site at the Grove Hall Branch of the Boston Public Library to provide one-on-one tutoring to 250 students across both sites, an increase of 84%.
Budget  --
Category  Education, General/Other
Population Served K-12 (5-19 years) At-Risk Populations Immigrant, Newcomers, Refugees
Program Short-Term Success 

826 Boston plans to achieve the following goals in its After-School Writing and Tutoring Program during the 2014-2015 academic year:

1. Launch a satellite after-school program to nearly double the number of students served annually, from 137 to more than 250 students, and increase program hours from 7,500 to more than 12,000 hours;

2. Engage students in hands-on writing projects and strengthen the writing skills of more than 80% of students;

3. Involve students in daily reading practice, build student home libraries, and increase the reading proficiency of more than 80% of students; and

4. Expand 826 Boston’s after-school tutor corps from 350 volunteers annually to more than 500.

Program Long-Term Success 

826 Boston operates on a theory of change model that posits one-on-one attention in a safe, “third space” can accomplish the following outcomes in its after-school students:

1. Increased performance on language arts assignments

2. Increased performance on writing assignments

3. Increased homework completion and understanding

4. Increased readiness for new lessons in school

5. Improved self-confidence in academic performance

6. Increased self-efficacy

7. Improved ability to express oneself, and

8. Increased sense of belonging to 826 Boston’s writing community.

Program Success Monitored By 

The 826 after-school model has been proven effective by educational experts. The Wallace Foundation’s 2013 study, “Something to Say: Success Principles for Afterschool Arts Programs from Urban Youth and Other Experts,” recognizes 826 out-of-school programming for employing best practices and standing out in its field.

To gauge writing improvement, 826 Boston maintains student writing portfolios showing growth over time; tutors also maintain daily homework logs. In order to help students choose books at the appropriate reading level, 826 Boston uses the Fountas and Pinnell reading assessment system; this assessment also helps identify at-risk readers. 826 Boston staff members administer pre- and post-program surveys to students and parents. Surveys gauge how students and parents perceive academic and social-emotional growth as a result of participating in the after-school program.

Examples of Program Success 

2012-2013 survey results from 826 Boston’s after-school students and parents were overwhelmingly positive. They illustrate the following:

  • 98% of parents say their child is getting better grades at school with 826 Boston’s help;
  • 98% of parents say their child is more confident doing schoolwork with 826 Boston’s help; and
  • 91% of parents report their child has improved his/her ability to work independently.

After-school students reported the following results in 2012-2013:

  • 94% feel confident about finishing their homework assignments;
  • 88% have become better writers; and
  • 83% have become better readers.

In-School Writing and Publishing Program

826 Boston currently partners with 12 BPS schools to provide in-class writing tutoring to hundreds of students each academic year. Each teacher’s request for in-class writing tutoring is unique, and 826 Boston responds by customizing curricula and sending trained volunteers into the classrooms for multi-session projects. 826 Boston’s hallmark in-school projects are long-term writing assignments that culminate in professional publications. In the 2014-2015 school year, 826 Boston will conduct more than 350 in-school sessions that will serve more than 2,500 students.
Budget  --
Category  Education, General/Other
Population Served K-12 (5-19 years) At-Risk Populations Immigrant, Newcomers, Refugees
Program Short-Term Success 

826 Boston plans to achieve the following goals in its In-School Writing and Publishing Program during the 2014-2015 academic year:

1. Offer 14,000 hours of high-quality, one-on-one writing tutoring to 2,500 students and 20 teachers in 25 under-resourced BPS schools

2. Publish the work of 50 historically underrepresented BPS students in a professionally designed, nationally distributed collection; and

3. Operate a Writers’ Room on-site at the John D. O’Bryant School of Mathematics and Science, serving more than 1,200 students.

Program Long-Term Success 

826 Boston’s In-School Writing and Publishing Program delivers trained tutoring into the Boston Public Schools, working with BPS teachers who request curricular support for short-term or long-term publishing projects. By decreasing the student-to-teacher ratio, 826 Boston accomplishes the following student and teacher outcomes through its in-school program:

1. Improved student writing skills

2. Improved writing grades

3. Increased student confidence and self-esteem as a result of publishing writing in a professionally-designed collection, and

4. Increased number of teachers reporting that 826 Boston has given them new tools for teaching writing.

Program Success Monitored By 

In the 2014-2015 school year, 826 Boston will use writing portfolios and pre- and post- student and teacher program surveys to gauge the impact of its in-school program. The organization also tracks number of teachers served, number of in-school sessions, and average number of volunteers per session.

In 2012-2013, 826 Boston’s In-School Writing and Publishing Program was evaluated by Arbor Consulting Partners. The year-long study utilized a variety of measures, including direct observation, student interviews, pre- and post-surveys, and administration of the Test of Written Language (TOWL) to gauge the impact of a Young Authors’ Book Project on a group of 54 English Language Learner high school students. According to the evaluation’s authors, students displayed “greater enjoyment and persistence in the process of writing, increased confidence in the ability to write, belief that their own writing has value, and, ultimately, improvement in the quality of their written work.”

Examples of Program Success 

2012-2013 survey and test results indicate that nearly 70% of students increased their TOWL scores on story construction skills between pre- and post-tests. Additional report findings illustrate that:

· 96% of students learned new skills to be a better writer;

· 91.5% of students reported feeling confident they can complete their writing assignments;

· 90% of students reported feeling proud of their writing;

· 81% of students reported they “like to write;” and

· 71% of students reported they are “good writers.”


CEO/Executive Director/Board Comments

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Management


CEO/Executive Director Ms. Jessica Drench
CEO Term Start Apr 2016
CEO Email [email protected]
CEO Experience Jessica joined the 826 Boston team in the role of program director in 2011 and became Executive Director in 2016. A Boston native, she earned a B.A. in English from Brown and an M.A. in Teaching English from Columbia Teachers College, and is a certified English and Special Education teacher. Jessica began her career teaching high school ELA at the McKinley School, a program for at-risk youth in the Boston Public Schools. In 2013, Jessica attended the Institute of Nonprofit Management and Executive Leadership at Boston University. She brings 10 years of non-profit leadership to her work at 826 Boston.
Co-CEO --
Co-CEO Term Start --
Co-CEO Email --
Co-CEO Experience --

Former CEOs and Terms

Name Start End
-- -- --

Senior Staff

Name Title Experience/Biography
Ms. Kristin Barrali Development Director --
Ms. Jessica Drench Associate Director --
Ms. April Wang Education Director April grew up in Cincinnati, Ohio, and started her career in education as an 11th grade English teacher in the Arkansas Delta. She holds a doctorate in education leadership from the Harvard Graduate School of Education, and believes that when students share their voice, they break down barriers. April collects library cards.

Awards

Award Awarding Organization Year
-- -- --

Affiliations

Affiliation Year
-- --
Member of state association of nonprofits? No
Name of state association --

External Assessments and Accreditations

External Assessment or Accreditation Year
-- --

Collaborations

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CEO/Executive Director/Board Comments

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Foundation Comments

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Staff Information

Number of Full Time Staff 9
Number of Part Time Staff 1
Number of Volunteers 600
Number of Contract Staff 7
Staff Retention Rate % 100%

Staff Demographics

Ethnicity African American/Black: 1
Asian American/Pacific Islander: 2
Caucasian: 4
Hispanic/Latino: 2
Native American/American Indian: 0
Other: 0
Other (if specified): --
Gender Female: 8
Male: 1
Not Specified 0

Plans & Policies

Organization has Fundraising Plan? Under Development
Organization has Strategic Plan? Under Development
Years Strategic Plan Considers 5
Management Succession Plan --
Business Continuity of Operations Plan --
Organization Policies And Procedures Under Development
Nondiscrimination Policy Under Development
Whistle Blower Policy No
Document Destruction Policy No
Directors and Officers Insurance Policy --
State Charitable Solicitations Permit --
State Registration --

Risk Management Provisions

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Reporting and Evaluations

Management Reports to Board? Yes
CEO Formal Evaluation and Frequency Yes Annually
Senior Management Formal Evaluation and Frequency Yes Annually
Non Management Formal Evaluation and Frequency Yes Annually

Governance


Board Chair Mr. Kevin Whalen
Board Chair Company Affiliation Morgan Stanley
Board Chair Term June 2010 -
Board Co-Chair Donna Cowan
Board Co-Chair Company Affiliation --
Board Co-Chair Term -

Board Members

Name Company Affiliations Status
Linda Button Children's Hospital Trust Voting
Andrew Cohn WilmerHale NonVoting
Donna Cowan Retired Voting
Mimi Curran Retired Voting
Emily D’Amour Pardo Director of Business Development at Harvard Bookstore --
Marc Foster Technology Consultant --
Jon Fullerton Director of the Project for Policy Innovation in Education, H --
Carol Greenwald Executive Producer of Children's Programming at WGBH --
Reverend Tim House Foxborough Universalist Church --
Charisse Howse Liberty Mutual Insurance Voting
Gillian Kohli Wellesley Books Voting
Jeffrey Mayersohn Owner of Harvard Book Store --
Kevin Whalen Morgan Stanley Voting
Ande Zellman Communications Consultant Voting

Constituent Board Members

Name Company Affiliations Status
-- -- --

Youth Board Members

Name Company Affiliations Status
-- -- --

Advisory Board Members

Name Company Affiliations Status
-- -- --

Board Demographics

Ethnicity African American/Black: 1
Asian American/Pacific Islander: 0
Caucasian: 13
Hispanic/Latino: 0
Native American/American Indian: 0
Other: 0
Other (if specified): 0
Gender Female: 7
Male: 6
Not Specified 0

Board Information

Board Term Lengths 3
Board Term Limits 0
Board Meeting Attendance % 100%
Written Board Selection Criteria Under Development
Written Conflict Of Interest Policy Under Development
Percentage of Monetary Contributions 100%
Percentage of In-Kind Contributions 20%
Constituency Includes Client Representation Yes

Standing Committees

  • Board Governance
  • Development / Fund Development / Fund Raising / Grant Writing / Major Gifts
  • Marketing

CEO/Executive Director/Board Comments

                                 

Foundation Comments

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Financials


Revenue vs. Expense ($000s)

Expense Breakdown 2015 (%)

Expense Breakdown 2014 (%)

Expense Breakdown 2013 (%)

Fiscal Year July 01, 2015 to June 30, 2016
Projected Income $1,046,917.00
Projected Expense $1,011,018.00
Form 990s

2015 Form 990

2014 Form 990

2013 Form 990

2012 Form 990

2011 Form 990

Audit Documents

2015 Audited Financials

2014 Audited Financials

2013 Audited Financials

2012 Review

2011 Review

IRS Letter of Exemption

IRS Letter of Determination

Prior Three Years Total Revenue and Expense Totals

Fiscal Year 2015 2014 2013
Total Revenue $860,833 $882,120 $632,112
Total Expenses $843,370 $759,259 $620,634

Prior Three Years Revenue Sources

Fiscal Year 2015 2014 2013
Foundation and
Corporation Contributions
-- -- --
Government Contributions $0 $0 $0
    Federal -- -- --
    State -- -- --
    Local -- -- --
    Unspecified -- $0 --
Individual Contributions $463,806 $516,139 $292,512
Indirect Public Support -- $0 --
Earned Revenue $-6,752 $5,741 $5,182
Investment Income, Net of Losses $2 $12 $43
Membership Dues -- $0 --
Special Events $403,777 $360,228 $334,375
Revenue In-Kind -- -- --
Other -- $0 --

Prior Three Years Expense Allocations

Fiscal Year 2015 2014 2013
Program Expense $575,121 $524,180 $431,442
Administration Expense $62,657 $65,067 $51,021
Fundraising Expense $205,592 $170,012 $138,171
Payments to Affiliates -- -- --
Total Revenue/Total Expenses 1.02 1.16 1.02
Program Expense/Total Expenses 68% 69% 70%
Fundraising Expense/Contributed Revenue 24% 19% 22%

Prior Three Years Assets and Liabilities

Fiscal Year 2015 2014 2013
Total Assets $374,579 $349,689 $226,087
Current Assets $351,868 $302,543 $196,673
Long-Term Liabilities $0 $0 $0
Current Liabilities $35,021 $27,594 $26,853
Total Net Assets $339,558 $322,095 $199,234

Prior Three Years Top Three Funding Sources

Fiscal Year 2015 2014 2013
1st (Source and Amount) -- --
-- --
-- --
2nd (Source and Amount) -- --
-- --
-- --
3rd (Source and Amount) -- --
-- --
-- --

Financial Planning

Endowment Value --
Spending Policy N/A
Percentage(If selected) --
Credit Line No
Reserve Fund Yes
How many months does reserve cover? 3.00

Capital Campaign

Are you currently in a Capital Campaign? Anticipated In 3 Years
Capital Campaign Purpose --
Campaign Goal --
Capital Campaign Dates -
Capital Campaign Raised-to-Date Amount --
Capital Campaign Anticipated in Next 5 Years? --

Short Term Solvency

Fiscal Year 2015 2014 2013
Current Ratio: Current Assets/Current Liabilities 10.05 10.96 7.32

Long Term Solvency

Fiscal Year 2015 2014 2013
Long-term Liabilities/Total Assets 0% 0% 0%

CEO/Executive Director/Board Comments

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Foundation Comments

Financial summary data in charts and graphs are per the organization's IRS Form 990s. Contributions from foundations and corporations are listed under individuals when the breakout was not available.

Documents


Other Documents

No Other Documents currently available.

Impact

The Impact tab is a section on the Giving Common added in October 2013; as such the majority of nonprofits have not yet had the chance to complete this voluntary section. The purpose of the Impact section is to ask five deceptively simple questions that require reflection and promote communication about what really matters – results. The goal is to encourage strategic thinking about how a nonprofit will achieve its goals. The following Impact questions are being completed by nonprofits slowly, thoughtfully and at the right time for their respective organizations to ensure the most accurate information possible.


1. What is your organization aiming to accomplish?

826 Boston is guided by its mission to improve the creative and expository writing skills of underserved students, ages 6 to 18, and to help teachers inspire their students to write. 826 Boston’s vision is to build communities of empowered young writers who will succeed in school, attend college, and carry with them a life-long love of writing and reading.

Recognizing that there is compelling community need for 826 Boston’s services, the organization will work to expand its programs in a high-impact, cost-effective manner in geographic areas where 826 Boston maintains a steady presence, particularly in the organization’s current Roxbury neighborhood, at its facility, and in nearby Boston Public Schools. Over the next five years, 826 Boston aims to focus on dosage, quality, and continuum of service, using a “high-touch” approach to address the needs of its students rather than trying to serve as many students as possible.

2. What are your strategies for making this happen?

826 Boston’s programs are based on a theory of change that demonstrates how involving underserved students in project-based learning and immersing them in a culture of creativity can harness their creativity, boost their literacy skills, and heighten their academic performance. This theory of change governs 826 Boston’s long-term and short-term programmatic strategies, which include:

  1. Providing a safe, third space for students to complete homework with one-on-one attention, participate in creative writing projects, and develop daily reading habits;
  2. Creating opportunities for project-based learning, notably student publications that showcase student accomplishments publicly;
  3. Fostering a culture of creativity, allowing students to take risks in a controlled environment and to identify as a writer;
  4. Developing habits of mind in its students, increasing persistence and self-discipline, improving self-esteem, and instilling a sense of accomplishment; and
  5. Encouraging a sense of belonging in the 826 Boston community by developing positive relationships with adult mentors, including tutors and staff members, and other program participants.

In addition to these strategies for making a lasting impact on the lives of its students, 826 Boston’s ambitious goals for expanding its programs and deepening its dosage include plans for sustainable growth by partnership. For example, in 2013 826 Boston opened a Writers’ Room on-site at the John D. O’Bryant School of Mathematics and Science to deepen the impact of its In-School Writing and Publishing Program and to provide students at the STEM-focused school with regular access to arts education. In its first year, the Writers’ Room served 1,200 students, or the entire student population. 826 Boston opened the second Writers' Room in September of 2016 at the Jeremiah E. Burke High School in Dorchester, and will open four more Writers' Rooms each year for the next four years.

The organization has also expanded service of its After-School Writing and Tutoring Program by piloting a satellite location at the Grove Hall Branch of the Boston Public Library. These programmatic expansions are fueled by institutional partnerships within BPS and the Boston Public Library, as well as partnerships with Northeastern University’s Writing Program, which provides tutors and tutor training to the Writers’ Room. 826 Boston also partners with the Boston College PULSE Program, which provides tutors for the Grove Hall after-school tutoring location. Program support needs are augmented by strong relationships with AmeriCorps VISTA and Commonwealth Corps, which provide 826 Boston with 3-4 service members annually.
 
One of the most concrete examples of 826 Boston’s strategy for engaging students in hands-on creative projects and improving their writing skills are its year-long publishing projects. Since 2007, 826 Boston’s In-School Writing and Publishing Program has worked with more than 20,000 students in its center in Egleston Square and in BPS classrooms in  underserved Boston neighborhoods.
 
The organization’s Young Authors’ Book Project has transformed hundreds of BPS students into published writers featured in a dozen original collections of writing. Its 2012 book project, A Place for Me in the World, profiled workers from across Boston and was hailed by The Boston Globe as a “triumph of middle school education.” Its most recent collections include They Don't See What I See, personal op-eds by 10th grade students at the O’Bryant School, and Attendance Would Be 100%: Student Proposals for High School Redesign Boston, written by graduating seniors at the Margarita Muñiz Academy.

3. What are your organization’s capabilities for doing this?

826 Boston is well positioned to accomplish its goals. In fact, almost four years into its five-year strategic plan, it has already achieved the majority of goals set during the planning process. 826 Boston has the following assets in place:

1) A supportive board with a strong vision. 826 Boston has steadily built its board of directors from 9 to 14 members.

2) A capable and talented staff with low turnover. 826 Boston’s founding executive director handed over the reins to Jessica Drench, a five-year veteran of the organization and its former associate director.

3) A strong financial track record. 826 Boston has proved it can grow during a recession. Its budget has expanded yearly since its inception in 2007. 826 Boston’s growth is steadily monitored by the capable leadership of its executive director and board.

4) Dedicated volunteers. 826 Boston employs a full-time volunteer manager and is seeking Service Enterprise accreditation through the Massachusetts Service Alliance.Volunteers often become strong allies and financial supporters.

5) A sense of community. 826 Boston is an active member of the Egleston Square community, and it has built relationships with neighbors and families who attend programming at its center. Staff regularly participate in Egleston Square Main Streets meetings and events.

6) A strong partnership model. 826 Boston is able to deliver stronger programming thanks to the many partners with which it works, including surrounding universities like Northeastern, partner BPS schools like the John D. O'Bryant School of Math and Science and the Jeremiah E. Burke High School, and community organizations like the Boston Public Library and the American Repertory Theater.

7) The 826 Network. 826 Boston’s strength is due in large part to its membership in 826 National’s award-winning network of youth writing centers, co-founded by writer Dave Eggers. With hubs in seven U.S. cities, the 826 network includes a well-developed learning community that shares research, evaluation materials, and best practices.

4. How will your organization know if you are making progress?

826 Boston uses the following metrics to track its success:

  1. The number of teachers who report improved quality of their students’ writing produced in 826 Boston sessions;
  2. The number of teachers who report positive outcomes from a lower student to adult ratio in the classroom;
  3. The number of students who report improved writing grades;
  4. The number of students who report improved confidence and attitudes toward writing;
  5. The number of sessions, teachers, schools, and volunteers for all in-school activities during the school year; and
  6. The number of parents of after-school students who report improved student grades and improved attitude towards writing.

To gauge its progress against these outcomes, 826 Boston employs a multi-pronged evaluation strategy involving the collection and analysis of quantitative and qualitative data. For its after-school program, 826 Boston staff members track homework completion by requiring after-school tutors to complete daily logs. Parents are also required to share student report cards with 826 Boston staff. To gauge writing improvement for both its in-school and after-school programs, 826 Boston maintains student writing portfolios showing growth over time. 826 Boston identifies at-risk readers and then uses the levels to help students choose books at the appropriate level for one-on-one reading conferences with trained tutors. Additionally, 826 Boston staff members administer pre- and post-surveys to students, parents, and teachers in order to gauge how students and parents perceive academic and social-emotional growth as a result of participating in the after-school program. An impact page illustrating additional after-school outcomes can be viewed here: http://826boston.org/impact.

Additionally, 826 Boston is part of the 826 National network of youth writing and tutoring centers, which has eight chapters located across the county. 826 National employs a Director of Research and Evaluation who collects and analyzes program statistics from all chapters and provides an annual report used in future program planning.
 
826 Boston staff members recognize that the organization’s after-school program can have the biggest impact by working consistently with students over time. For this reason, 826 Boston’s after-school program is an enrollment model that encourages sustained attendance during the school year and over time. In order to track student participation, 826 Boston staff members collect enrollment and attendance data indicating which students participate in multiple programs during the course of a single school year.

826 Boston has participated in two third-party assessments of its work. The first study, I Want You To Have This: An Evaluation of 826 Boston’s Young Authors’ Book Project in Partnership with Boston International High School examined the impact of 826 Boston’s Young Author’s Book Project. A second study completed in 2014 examined 826 Boston’s after-school program. Data from these two assessments has been fuel for discussion at the national level of 826 executive directors and program directors and has lead directly to programmatic adjustments in the Boston chapter.

5. What have and haven’t you accomplished so far?

826 Boston is poised to grow exponentially in the next five years, and its vision is supported by a comprehensive strategic planning process that charts its course during that time period. The organization's strategic plan—vetted by education advisors, current funders, and 826 Boston board, staff, parents, teachers, and volunteers—positions 826 Boston to expand, leading with its most transformative programs, effectively and sustainably. From 2016-2021, 826 Boston will open and operate at least five additional Writers' Rooms in partner schools, delivering targeted writing assistance to an additional 2,500 BPS students. The organization will grow its budget from $1 million to $2.5 million.