Co-founded by writer Dave Eggers and educator Ninive Calegari (and named for the street address of its first home), 826 National is grounded in the belief that great leaps in learning happen when students receive the right kind of one-on-one attention. Here at home, 826DC recruits and trains volunteers who provide educational support and critically important mentoring to address the dauntingly low literacy skills that plague DC youngsters, some two-thirds of whom cannot read or write at the "proficient" level. Youth ages 6-18 attend writing workshops, participate in author roundtables, and professionally publish their work (the proof is in the pudding!). They write and revise, sharpen their skills, build their confidence, improve their schoolwork and, importantly, learn to express themselves with meaning and power. Since first opening its doors in Columbia Heights in 2008, the program has expanded from 134 students to more than 4,500, and the numbers continue to grow. 826DC provides a much-needed bridge between talented adults and the students and teachers who need them.

Headquarters: DC-Ward 1

Where They Operate: DC-Citywide

Ethnic Groups Served: African American; Latino/Hispanic

Population(s) Served: Low- to Moderate-Income Community Members; Students

Awards & Recognition

2012 Finalist for the Mayor's Arts Awards
2013 Finalist for the Mayor's Arts Awards
2014 Winner of the Mayor's Arts Awards for Outstanding Contribution to Arts Education
2013 The American Prize - Library of Congress Literacy Awards


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Budget (FY2015)

  • $3 million or higher
  • $1 million to $3 million
  • The current budget for 826DC is: $500k to $1 million
  • Less than $500k

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