Status: Full-time, exempt employee
Location: Washington, DC
Reports to: Board of Directors
Deadline: Apply by March 22, 2024 for best consideration. Early applications encouraged.
826DC is a nonprofit arts education organization that helps Washington, DC students build their writing skills, share what matters to them, and forge a lifelong relationship with writing. 826DC offers free writing and publishing programs for students ages 6-18, supporting young people with their creative and expository writing skills and helping teachers inspire their students to write.
Led by writers and educators who value writing as a form of personal expression, 826DC recognizes that for any individual to fully step into their own power, writing must be part of their skill set. 826DC programs center students and cultivate a sense of fun as part of learning and the creative process.
The small nonprofit works with more than 2,000 students each year and partners with over three dozen schools across all eight wards. 826DC works with students in classrooms and community spaces throughout the city, as well as in a dedicated writing center in DC's Columbia Heights neighborhood.
826DC's programs include the After-School Writing Lab, hosted on-site at 826DC; in-school short- and long-term residencies in collaboration with K-12 teachers on writing, editing, and publishing; thematic writing workshops; two-hour writing and bookmaking field trips; and the Young Author’s Book Project, a full-year classroom program culminating in a published book and celebrated via a popular publication event for authors and their families.
The 826DC writing center also hosts a magic-themed novelty storefront, Tivoli’s Astounding Magic Supply Company. In addition to generating revenue by selling gifts, student publications, and 826DC merchandise, the store serves as a creative entry point for the community to discover and engage with 826DC's work.
826DC is one of nine chapters in the 826 National network. In 2002, the first chapter was founded in San Francisco as 826 Valencia by educator Nínive Calegari and author Dave Eggers, and was named after the street address of the first Writing Center. Through digital resources and in-person programs, the 826 network serves close to 350,000 students each year. Learn more at 826DC.org.
826DC seeks an Executive Director to enthusiastically steer its highly successful and unique model into its next era. Guided by a shared exuberance for the mission, an existing strategic plan, firm financial footing, and a track record of success, the next Executive Director has the opportunity to meaningfully ensure young people throughout DC have a lasting, positive relationship with writing and creativity that catalyzes their ability to step into their fullest possibility.
The Executive Director is responsible for the overall administration and management of 826DC, including fundraising, business operations, and educational programs. They direct planning and evaluation, policy development and administration, personnel and fiscal management, and public relations.
Washington, DC suffers from a staggering disparity in wealth, which minimizes many students’ access to high-quality educational resources in and outside the classroom. Post-2020 Covid lockdowns, DC public schools saw a significant decrease in English Language Arts (ELA) proficiency rates, particularly in early grades and among Black and Latinx students.
826DC addresses the urgent need for high-quality writing education by leveraging an imaginative, rigorous, and arts-focused writing curriculum to inspire youth to develop a lifelong practice of writing. 826DC primarily serves African American and Latinx students in Title I schools. In 2023, the organization had a revenue budget of approximately $1M composed of public and private grants and individual contributions. Increasing this budget to support staff capacity and programs will be a key part of the new Executive Director’s portfolio.
The next Executive Director will have a passion for the power of writing and a drive to ensure that power is accessible to students with limited financial, educational, and community resources. They will also have enthusiasm for youthful energy, appreciation for a wide spectrum of self-expression, and dedication to student-centered programming.
In an organization driven by a strong sense of social justice, the next Executive Director will be committed to embracing a collaborative, human-focused management style that engages staff and volunteers alike.
The position reports to a 12-member Board of Directors and manages a small and dedicated professional staff in Washington, DC that includes a Director of Education, an Associate Director of School Programs, a Director of Development, an Associate Director of Communications and Development, a Program Operations Manager, a Community Programs Manager, a School Residency Coordinator, a Store Coordinator, and an After-School Writing Lab Assistant.
Like all leaders of small nonprofits, the next Executive Director should bring a balanced approach as a visionary and operational executive. They should have the capacity for organized, focused work, an ability to manage multiple projects, and an openness to changing situations and opportunities. Keen self-awareness and high emotional intelligence are also highly valued. Specific areas of responsibility include:
Strategy, Vision, and Leadership
Fundraising, Advocacy, and Partnerships
Organizational Development and Management
Experience, Skills, and Qualities
The position of Executive Director is an exciting opportunity that requires a diverse set of skills and experiences. The Board is seeking qualified candidates who can lead the organization with vision, skill, empathy, and creativity. While we understand that no single candidate can possess every qualification listed below, the following are priority areas:
Considered a Major Plus:
The budgeted salary is $100,000-$115,000 with a benefits package that includes: a 36-hour work week (half-days on Fridays); 100% employer-covered healthcare, including vision and dental, for employees; competitive parental leave policy; generous PTO and flex-time policy; 401K with 1% match; annual professional development stipend; funding from the National network to attend conferences; and connection to cohorts of peers across the 826 Network.
826DC is based in Washington, DC. The organization has a hybrid work arrangement.
The Board of Directors has retained the services of Good Insight, a national executive search firm serving small nonprofits. Interested applicants should submit a resume and a cover letter that describes their interest in and qualifications for this role, emphasizing related leadership experience. Visit www.good-insight.org/careers to upload application materials. Direct confidential inquiries to Claire Huschle, Senior Consultant, at 826DC@good-insight.org.
For best consideration, apply by March 22, 2024. Qualified applicants will be contacted on a rolling basis. Early applications are encouraged due to the pace of the search.
Equal Opportunity Employer
826DC is dedicated to equal employment opportunity. It has been and will continue to be the policy of 826DC to be fair and impartial in all of its relations with its employees and applicants for employment, and to base all employment-related decisions upon valid job-related factors, without regard to race, sex, ancestry, gender, gender identity, national origin, color, disability, age, sexual orientation, military or veteran status, marital status, religion, pregnancy, childbirth or related medical conditions including lactation, or any other status protected by law.