Planning with Purpose

At 826DC, we believe that writing education is part of building a better world—more just, more equitable, and more interesting. It’s important to us that we do that work with a solid blueprint. Enter: our strategic plan.

Every few years, 826DC puts together a strategic plan to guide how we frame and execute the writing programming that we offer. Our strategic plan also lays out our vision and why we do what we do.

This Matters

Our strategic plan doesn’t just keep us on track. It also helps show everyone who writes with us, partners with us, and supports us exactly who we are and what we’re all about.

What do we value? What does success look like here? What are we doing to make a real dent in this work, and how can we do that better?

Answering those questions for ourselves also helps us answer those questions for you. That’s important, especially in a world with so many organizations and causes worthy of your time and other resources.

A Unique Process

We just finished constructing a meaningful FY22-FY25 strategic plan with the sensational folks at Wayfinding Partners, and we’re going to share more about it in the coming weeks and months. 

This was, frankly, a doozy of a year in which to develop a long-term vision. We did it in the middle of a pandemic, under a historically polarized political climate, as the planet burned, and with increasingly—and increasingly visible—violence against BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Color) and transgender people.

Understandably, we took a little longer than usual. 

The end result, though, crystalizes the moment 826DC finds itself in. This strategic plan feels reflective of these times and true to both where we are and where we want to go. Simply put, it’s what we needed. 

Again, 826DC will continue to share more details about this strategic plan. For now, though, here’s a look at what we’ve made:


Our Vision

What would it look like for our efforts to succeed?

If we are wildly successful, young people will have a lasting, positive relationship with writing that catalyzes their ability to live into their fullest possibility.

They will have increased access to high-quality writing curriculum in schools and increased opportunities for publishing their work. Most importantly, they will know and understand the inherent value of their voice and their stories.

Our Values

What drives 826DC, in our programming and as a workplace?

creativity, kindness, empathy, finding joy, curiosity, authenticity

Our Identity Statement

How do we define who we are and what we do here?

Our mission is to support students with their creative and expository writing skills, and help teachers inspire their students to write. We seek to improve the chances and likelihood of fulfillment and success for every child by serving local writers ages 6-18 and their teachers in all eight wards of DC. We also emphasize our strength in publication and voice amplification; expertise in Social-Emotional Learning (SEL), and exposure to writers.

We advance our mission by providing tools, space, and time for students to develop their creative and expository writing skills. We work with students, teachers, and other supportive adults to inspire young people to write both at our writing lab and in schools and community institutions throughout the District. We know that having the tools for effective writing opens up changes and opportunities for young authors to access success as they define it. We know that writing development can include publication and voice
amplification opportunities.

Making our Strategic Plan Happen

How will we get to where we want to be?

We are going to organize our work around these four themes:

(Theme illustrations by Satwik Gade, @satwikgade on Instagram)


Hopeful about the Future

We are so grateful to the team at Wayfinding Partners for their help in forming this plan!

As strange as it is to be hopeful right now, that’s exactly how our staff feels. This strategic planning process has set us up to make some real magic happen in the next few years—in a genuine, lasting, and constructive way. 

If you feel similarly energized about this and want to support us, please do! Whether you join us as a volunteer or make a donation, you will be helping 826DC use this blueprint to build something truly special.