About Us


Talented, hard-working, dedicated, caring — these are just a few of the rock-solid qualities the people of 826 possess. Portraits by the wonderfully generous volunteer photographer Stephanie Theune of Schmootography.


Bita Nazarian, Executive DirectorBita NazarianExecutive Director, earned her BA in English literature and her MA in Education from UC Berkeley. She has been an educator in SFUSD for eighteen years, serving as a teacher, leader, and administrator. She currently supports new school administrators by facilitating a class for UC Berkeley’s Leadership Support Program. Bita fell in love with 826 when the organization established its first Writers’ Room at Everett Middle School in 2003, and then was ecstatic to build a second Writers’ Room at James Lick Middle School, where she was principal. Bita joined 826 Valencia’s Board of Directors in 2006 and served for five years, three of them as President. She was recently recognized as a Superbowl 5o Fund’s Playmaker and as one of 7×7 magazine’s 2015 Hot 20.
Alyssa Aninag, Volunteer CoordinatorAlyssa Aninag, Volunteer Coordinator, was raised in Stockton, California, the Asparagus Capital of the World. (We’re spear-it-ed!) She studied English and Media Communications at the University of San Diego, and from there headed to the magical city by the bay where she earned her MFA in creative writing from the University of San Francisco. She joined 826 in summer 2014 as a volunteer, continued as an AmeriCorps VISTA Associate, and is honored to be staying on to support the volunteer outreach efforts.
Elaina Bruna, Development CoordinatorElaina BrunaDevelopment Coordinator, first showcased her own collection of stories at her third-grade hobby fair, complete with glitter-glue-decorated titles. She received her creative writing degree from Gonzaga University in 2013 alongside a semester-long project encouraging elementary and high school students to write. She is originally from South Dakota, but now has become an SF secret cupcake connoisseur, volleyball player, and muni-expert. Elaina was a development intern with 826 National prior to joining 826 Valencia and is delighted to have the opportunity to help in the expansion process.
Ricardo Cruz Chong, Programs Associate, was raised in the most popular border city in the world—Tijuana. Seeking new adventures after finishing high school in San Diego, he couldn’t get enough of the different cultures, so he moved to San Francisco to attend SF State. While studying media arts in the BECA department, he interned with Ben Manilla Productions where he first got a taste of editing podcasts. He later joined BAYCAT as an intern and became employed as a video editor. When not working, Ricardo spends his time chasing his childhood dreams of either playing soccer in Europe or playing drums in the corner of a restaurant.
Jorge Eduardo Garcia, Program DirectorJorge Eduardo Garcia, Programs Director, commutes from Oakland by swimming the cold waters of the bay with a swimmer’s satchel full of oranges. Beside addressing scurvy in the pirate community of the Oakland/San Francisco maritime channel, he has spent fourteen years working as an organizer, educator, teacher, case manager, advocate, and mentor to Oakland youth of all ages. His BA in Sociology was earned at Claremont McKenna College, and his DJ title in backyards, ballrooms, and cafes from LA to the Bay. He tinkers, laughs, and volunteers at the EastSide Arts Alliance, an Oakland cultural arts center and performance space of which he is a founding member.
Lauren Hall, Grants and Evaluations DirectorLauren Hall, Grants and Evaluations Directoris celebrating 10+ years at 826 Valencia. Since 2005, she’s held positions in both student programming and development, at both the flagship center on Valencia Street and at 826 National during its founding in 2008. She earned an interdisciplinary BA in American Studies from Hendrix College, where she received the Hendrix Care Award for her dedication to social justice work. Her writing about women’s leadership and activism in Arkansas was published in the Journal of Social Policy and Lessons from the Field: Organizing in Rural Communities. Lauren supports the important work of the Teacher Salary Project as a board member.
Allyson Halpern, Development DirectorAllyson Halpern, Development Director, hails from MA, and can still drop her “r”s on request. A career fundraiser, she is most inspired by organizations with a local focus on arts, education and community building. Allyson has an undergrad degree in writing and a graduate degree in nonprofit management, both from Carnegie Mellon, where she also taught business writing to actors, artists, and musicians. When not at 826, you can find her hanging out with her husband and two daughters or sneaking Scrabble turns on her iPhone. She loves coming to work, and is thrilled to be part of a team that sets the standard for wit, style, and positive change.
Caroline Kangas, Stores Manager, was drawn to 826 Valencia and San Francisco from a different kind of gray in her hometown of Seattle. Here she still spends a lot of time in coffee shops, wears a lot of layers, and talks about the weather more than is really necessary. The University of San Francisco built upon her foundation of life experiences to create a well-educated person who loves to chat about community gardens, Borges, summer camp, thrifting for the color pink, travel, french bulldogs, Sarah Ruhl, leftovers, and fierce lady pirates. Or anything, really.
Kona Lai, Programs CoordinatorKona Lai, Programs Coordinator, grew up flying between Taiwan and her hometown in sunny southern California. In between brief flings with the east coast during which she drank too much bubble tea and received a degree in Spanish from Wellesley College and an MA in International Education from NYU, she travelled around the world and worked with youth in France, China, and Ghana. She recently completed both the Camino de Santiago and the Kumano Kodō, two historical pilgrimage routes on opposite ends of the globe. When she’s not dreaming up new ways to educate and connect with students, she can usually be found folding origami, reading fanfiction, and petting cats at the SFSPCA.
Kavitha Lotun, Program CoordinatorKavitha Lotun, Programs Coordinator, grew up in the Great White North along the beautiful shores of Vancouver, BC. She studied Sociology and Elementary Education at UBC before venturing across the pond to London, UK, where she was an Early Years educator in several city schools. After 5 years of supping tea and perfecting her British accent, she relocated with her better half to the foggy shores of San Francisco in 2012. Eager to learn more about the local students and schools, she began volunteering at 826 Valencia as a tutor and leading field trips. Kavitha joined staff in the summer of 2015, and is honored to be working alongside such talented crew of staff, volunteers, and students.
Molly Parent, Programs and Communications ManagerMolly Parent, Communications and Programs Manager, has been involved with 826 since 2009, as an intern and as a volunteer before joining the staff in 2012. She graduated from UC San Diego with a degree in Literature/Writing. Previously, Molly has co-owned a food co-op, spent summers devising elaborate twists on capture-the-flag in the forests of New Hampshire, and taught babies how to swim. When not at 826, she can usually be found organizing literary events, dreaming up and executing the perfect day-trip, or gesturing wildly about books over tacos.
Christina V. Perry, Programs DirectorChristina Villaseñor Perry, Education Director, hails from the sunny South Bay. She ventured east for college, where she studied Social Anthropology at Harvard University. Seeking a more agreeable clime, Christina began her career as a Special Educator in Los Angeles and earned her MA in Special Education. She then taught at Everett Middle School in San Francisco for five years. Christina recently enjoyed a trip to the Caribbean shores of the Yucatan Peninsula, where she swam alongside whale sharks, witnessed nesting sea turtles in the moonlight, and mingled with iguanas amidst Mayan ruins. She is thrilled to be aboard 826 Valencia, while continuing her involvement in local public schools.
Amy Popovich, Production CoordinatorAmy Popovich, Production Manager, was raised in Northern California and studied English at UC Santa Barbara before completing an MA in Creative Writing at Birkbeck, University of London. Before joining the design staff at 826, Amy volunteered as a writing tutor beginning in 2009, and as a designer in 2013. She has worked for a variety of publishing ventures, most recently running the production department at Night Shade Books, where she faithfully delivered Science Fiction and Fantasy to the masses on a monthly basis. When she’s not making books for 826, you can usually find her at Quantum Martial Arts, where she trains, teaches karate, and serves on the board as the Marketing and Communications Director.
Jenesha de Rivera, Finance and Operations ManagerJenesha de Rivera, Finance and Operations Manager, or Jinky, as they are also known, has worked as a financial manager within the nonprofit sector for nearly two decades. Prior to joining the staff at 826, they were the Financial Services Supervisor for fiscally sponsored projects at Tides. They currently serve on the Board of Directors for the East Bay Meditation Center (EBMC) in Oakland. A native New Yorker, Jenesha moved to Oakland in 2004 where they earned their MFA in English & Creative Writing at Mills College. They are the co-editor of the anthology Homelands: Women’s Journeys Across Race, Place, and Time (Seal Press, ed. 2007).
Ashley Varady, Program ManagerAshley Varady, Program Manager, was born in the Bay Area, where she grew up searching for lost pirate treasure. She left to explore life back east, and develop an understanding of all four seasons. After graduating from Middlebury College, she moved to New York City, where she taught middle school English and earned her masters. Missing the views of the Golden Gate, she returned to San Francisco, and spent six years teaching reading and writing at KIPP San Francisco Bay Academy, while also developing a robot to grade student essays. Since returning to the City by the Bay, she has enjoyed tasting her way through the delicious culinary options San Francisco has to offer.
Jillian Wasick, Program ManagerJillian Wasick, Program Manager, grew up in the swampy depths of New Jersey.  She then moved northward to study history at McGill University in Montreal, where her curly hair frequently turned to icy ringlets. After college, Jillian was an AmeriCorps volunteer in New Mexico and then became a founding teacher at a middle school in Watsonville, California. Seeking more uncomfortably extreme weather, she headed back east where she earned her Master of Education, taught writing, and coached other teachers in Brooklyn, New York. In 2012, she set her barnacle-covered anchor in the bay and began teaching writing at KIPP SF Bay Academy. There, she also served as an instructional coach and the literacy department chair before joining 826 Valencia.
Byron Weiss, Assistant Stores Manager, was raised in the desert heat of Los Angeles, California, but as soon as he was able he left for the City by the Bay. His time with 826 began as a fun part-time job peddling pirate wares while he studied Creative Writing at San Francisco State University, but soon he expanded his role to running the ship, as well as assisting with workshop programming. When away from work on shore leave, Byron can be found fencing, on his bike, or climbing rocks. Either that or shining his treasure.
Olivia White Lopez, Volunteer ManagerOlivia White Lopez, Volunteer and Intern Engagement Manager, hails from central Florida, a land of oppressive heat, mangrove trees, and manatees. Prior to her current role, she managed the sales of wholesome pirate wares at our very own Pirate Supply Store, and volunteered and interned with 826. A graduate of Agnes Scott College, she has previously served as the student chair of the metro-Atlanta undergraduate arts symposium, Collage, and as a Dalton Gallery Fellow.

AmeriCorps support staff through summer 2016

Dana Belott, Programs AssociateDana Belott, Programs Associate, BAYAC AmeriCorps, is a recent graduate from Oberlin College where she studied Religion and Creative Writing. A New Jersey native, this is her first time experiencing the West Coast and all of its moderate weather glory. She is passionate about podcasts, feminist graphic novels, South Indian food, and learning about other people. This past summer she served as an intern at 826 and is stoked to continue helping students develop their voice through their writing. Outside of 826, you can find Dana outside running, in the gym (hopefully this year she will develop muscles), or reading ferociously. She has also begun working on her own graphic novel despite her underdeveloped drawing abilities. It heavily features mermaids.
Kiley McLaughlinVolunteer Engagement Associate, AmeriCorps VISTA, was raised in Somerville, Massachusetts, hallowed birthplace of Marshmallow Fluff (look it up!). She studied English and Social Anthropology at Harvard University, and from there traveled to the Midwestern prairie, where she earned her MFA in creative writing from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, and saw her first butter sculpture. After a turn volunteering and interning at 826 Boston’s Greater Boston Bigfoot Research Institute, Kiley is elated to be braving the high seas with the crew of 826 Valencia.

Board of Directors

Eric Abrams is Diversity Director at University of California, Berkeley’s Haas School of Business. Born in Berkeley, Abrams spent his childhood in the Bay Area and Chicago before matriculating at Stanford, where he majored in political science and drama and served on the student senate as well as acting in and directing a number of student theatrical productions. As a graduate student at UCLA, Abrams studied political science, as well as being elected Secretary of the Black Graduate Student Association. He has served as Director of Admissions at Pitzer College, Berkeley Law, and the Stanford MBA Admission Office, where he worked to increase diversity and enrollment of traditionally underrepresented groups. Abrams has led workshops on topics such as public speaking for admissions professionals, outreach to students from underrepresented communities, and working with student groups, and he is member of the Finalist Selection Committee for the Harry S. Truman Scholarship Program. Eric lives in Oakland with his wife and two teenage sons. He is a huge sports fan, a beginning motorcyclist, and an avid barbecue pitmaster.

Colleen Quinn Amster is a writer and editor from Boca Raton, Florida who earned degrees in English literature and Spanish from Middlebury College and Northwestern’s Medill School of Journalism. Colleen worked as a reporter and assistant editor at New York Magazine and moved to San Francisco to work as an associate editor at Mother Jones. Colleen now lives in San Francisco with her husband, John, and their three children, Finn, Aidan, and Curran. She has served on the boards of several San Francisco philanthropic organizations, including Children of Shelters and the National Charity League.

Joya Banerjee is a Program Officer at the S. D. Bechtel, Jr. Foundation, a private family foundation based in San Francisco, where she oversees a grant portfolio that advances the sustainable management of California’s water resources. Prior to joining the foundation, Joya was an attorney at Latham & Watkins and worked for the New York City Mayor’s Office. Joya graduated from the University of Southern California with a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration, and she received a Juris Doctor degree from Columbia Law School. She lives in San Francisco.

Michael Beckwith, Treasurer, is a principal at Maverick Capital, a global investment firm founded in 1993, where he is the Sector Head overseeing the firm’s global industrial and energy investments. Michael rejoined Maverick in 2009 after serving as General Partner of Sequoia Capital, LLP. Michael originally joined Maverick in 2004 after serving as a Senior Vice President at Andor Capital Management and having worked at Robertson Stephens in equity research. Prior to working in the investment world, Michael was the associate director of the Summerbridge AmeriCorps Teaching Program—a federally funded program that was part of Summerbridge National (re-named Breakthrough Collaborative). Michael received a B.A. from Middlebury College and a JD from Harvard Law School. Michael is currently a Board Member at Central Montana Resources, a privately held natural resources company.

Barb Bersche is a partner and the former president of McSweeney’s Publishing, as well as a founding board member of 826 Valencia and the Valentino Achak Deng Foundation. On her own time, Barb has been a designer (with a Grammy-nominated box set called Alan Lomax in Haiti), and a New York Times best-selling children’s book author, as well as a consultant to other creative agencies and nonprofits. She is also a member of the Marin County Search and Rescue/Mountain Rescue team.

Michelle Yunhi Lee is a writer and educator born in San Francisco raised between the city’s Tenderloin district and suburban Hercules. She is the recipient of the New York Hip Hop Theater Festival’s Future Aesthetic Grant and a storyteller whose work has been featured at the National Asian American Theater Festival, Girlfest:Hawai’i, Intersection for the Arts’ New Works Theater Festival, and on HBO’s Def Poetry Jam. Michelle has taught in universities across the country and is frequently a featured speaker on 21st century literacy, critical pedagogy, and contemporary youth voice movement. Her most memorable work, however, is in the presence of her teenage students, facilitating moments of individual and collective epiphany in places where most don’t expect it: drab cafeterias, pristine juvenile correctional centers, and impromptu ciphers on a stoop in an urban metropolis. She currently serves in Alameda County Office of Education’s Integrated Learning Specialist Program (ILSP) and as a Senior Teaching Artist at Youth Speaks. She lives in East Oakland with her superstar husband and their three children, and is honored and thrilled to serve 826 Valencia.

Alex Lerner is a principal of Indaba Capital, an investment firm based in San Francisco. Alex originally joined Indaba at the time of the fund’s launch in 2011 and rejoined in 2014 after earning his MBA from the Graduate School of Business at Stanford University. He began his career in the Mergers & Acquisitions group at Lazard Ltd following forays in journalism and publishing at Farrar, Strauss and Giroux. Alex also received a B.A. in English from Stanford University.

Jim Lesser is one of the few Executive Creative Directors in the advertising industry who is the President and CEO of a major agency network office. In the fourteen years he’s been at BBDO San Francisco the office has gone from five people to winning gold at Cannes and the Effies in the same year. He has worked with some of the world’s best brands from Target to Chrysler to Bank of America. He began his career as the receptionist in a New York agency before being promoted to copywriter. As a result he always believes that a great idea can and often will come from anywhere. Especially the new receptionist. Jim has served on the Boards of BBDO New York and Dwell Magazine. He spends as much time as possible in the mountains hiking with his wife and two sons.

Matt Middlebrook, President, is Senior Vice President for Development with the Los Angeles-based retail developer Caruso Affiliated. In his role, Matt oversees all new development projects for the company from acquisition to the start of construction. Matt joined Caruso Affiliated in 2004 overseeing government relation and communications strategies in seeking approvals for new development projects before taking over as head of development earlier this year. Previously Matt served as a political and communications strategist, working closely with elected and corporate leaders including United States Senator Dianne Feinstein, whom he served for many years both as a campaign and Senate aide, including as her Deputy State Director. Following his tenure with Feinstein, Matt became a campaign consultant and among other campaigns, he managed Jim Hahn’s successful election as Mayor of Los Angeles in 2001. Matt served as a Deputy Mayor in Los Angeles from 2001-2003 before returning to San Francisco. Upon returning to the Bay Area, Matt became a Senior Vice President with the international public relations firm Fleishman-Hillard, leading the Bay Area’s public affairs group. Matt graduated from the University of California, Berkeley with a degree in Political Science.

Dave Pell spends the first half of each day writing the NextDraft newsletter and iOS app where he covers the day’s most fascinating news. The newsletter is syndicated by Time. During the second half of his day, he is the managing partner of Arba Group, a family-owned company that invests in early stage Internet startups. Dave has deep experience in education, having taught high school in Brooklyn and Boston. He has degrees from UC Berkeley and the Harvard Graduate School of Education. Dave lives in Marin with his wife and two young children, Herschel and Octavia.

Han Phung is an educator, collaborator, and equity-focused advocate for our public school system. As a second-language-learner and refugee from Vietnam, she viewed her own schooling as both a safe haven and an opportunity pathway. That is the essence of why she does this work: to provide a safe and productive climate so that we can increase equitable learning opportunities for students. During fifteen years of working in urban school districts, her experience has spanned multiple levels from middle school students to adult learners, including two years as a leadership coach and facilitator, seven years as a high- and middle-school administrator, and six years teaching grades 6–12. Han received a BA in English Literature from Bowdoin College and MA in Education from UC Berkeley.

Andrew Strickman, Secretary, leads Brand and Creative Services at Move, Inc., home to Realtor.com, one of the top real estate sites on the Web. Prior to Move, Andrew headed Yahoo!’s award-winning global experiential marketing team, creating rich opportunities for consumers to experience the Yahoo! brand in the offline world. Andrew spent eight years as a partner at Ammo Marketing (acquired in 2006 by London-based Aegis Media). At Ammo—The Original Influencer Marketing Agency—Andrew led the development of creative word-of-mouth program strategy for clients like Brown-Forman, Volvo, Philips, AT&T, Blurb, Method Home and Miller Brewing. Pre-marketing career, Andrew spent more than fifteen years as an award-winning entertainment and pop culture journalist for such publications as Rolling Stone, Details, The Village Voice and many others. During ten years of volunteering at 826 Valencia, Andrew has worn nearly every hat at the writing center—he was a deck-swabber in the early days when the roof would leak, he taught workshops on critical writing and persuasion, he was a fundraiser and founding member of the 826 development committee, and most importantly, Andrew co-led the drop-in tutoring program on Sundays for eight years.

Joe Vasquez is the Manager of Partnerships & Strategy at Runway. Joe is an iOS developer and early co-founder of StartX, an accelerator for Stanford entrepreneurs. Prior to joining Runway, Joe taught at the Kauffman Fellows Academy and was a Data Analyst Fellow at LocoMotive Labs. Joe started his career in investment banking at Goldman Sachs and spent two years teaching bilingual math with Teach For America. Joe holds a BS in Atmosphere & Energy Engineering from Stanford University.

826 Valencia Co-Founders

Nínive Calegari is a veteran public school teacher and served as the Executive Director of 826 Valencia until 2007 and the CEO of 826 National until 2010. Before teaching in her family’s hometown in Mexico, Nínive worked at Leadership High School, San Francisco’s first charter school, where she also served on the Board of Directors. She holds a Masters of Education in Teaching and Curriculum from Harvard University’s Graduate School of Education. Nínive, along with two co-authors, published Teachers Have it Easy: The Big Sacrifices and Small Salaries of America’s Teachers. In 2007, Nínive was awarded the ‘Daring Dozen’ award from the George Lucas Foundation, recognizing her for effective work in education. Nínive also founded and serves as president of The Teacher Salary Project, a nonprofit designed to build the political will necessary to transform how US society values effective teachers.

Dave Eggers is the author of seven books including A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius, What is the What, and most recently A Hologram for the King, Where the Wild Things Are, and Away We Go. He was named one of TIME Magazine‘s 100 Most Influential People in 2005, and received the 2007 Heinz Award and the 2008 TED prize. His book Zeitoun received the 2010 American Book Award, and A Hologram for the King was named one of the ten best books of 2012 by The New York Times.


The members of 826 Valencia’s Shipmates Society are some of our most committed sponsors. We’d like to extend a gigantic, heartfelt thank you to those of you who have donated funds to support 826 Valencia’s programs. Your support will help us make a meaningful impact on the lives of thousands of young San Franciscans this year.

We strive for accuracy in our listings. Please email us at development@826valencia.org if your information is incorrect. This list reflects gifts of $100 or more, from July 1, 2014 to June 30, 2015.

For more information on joining the Shipmates Society, check out our membership page.


Kirsten & Michael Beckwith
Art Berliner & Marian Lever
Daniel Handler & Lisa Brown
Lee & Russ Flynn
Pamela & George Hamel, Jr.
Frances Hellman & Warren Breslau
Mark Lampert & Susan Byrd
Lauder Family Foundation
George C. Lee
Coltrane & Christopher Lord
Nicholas V. Mori
Michael Moritz & Harriet Heyman
Dave & Gina Pell
Tom Savignano
Michael & Shauna Stark
Andrew Strickman & Michal Ettinger
Laurie & Jeff Ubben
Karen & Jim Wagstaffe


Colleen Quinn Amster & John Amster
David Austin
Joya Banerjee & Harris Cohen
Susie & Sam Britton
Arlene Buechert & Family
Matt Currie & CM Commercial Real Estate Inc.
Gina Falsetto & Warren Brown
Jessica Goldman Foung
Jill Grossman Family Fund
Pamela & David Hornik
Gail & Ian Jardine
Jeri & Jeffrey Johnson
Holly Johnson
Jim & Tricia Lesser
Coltrane & Christopher Lord
Kavitha & Reza Lotun
Frances McDormand
Matt Middlebrook & Lisa Presta
Meridee Moore & Kevin King
Sarah Morrison & Bill Rogers
Derek Schrier & Cecily Horsting Cameron
Lee & Perry Smith
Mike Wilkins & Sheila Duignan
Terry Wit
Nicole & Rick Wolfgram


Lawrence & Stacey Bancroft
Jennifer & Nick Bartle
Ethan Beard & Wayee Chu
Josephine Berler
Dominique Bischoff-Brown in honor of Different Fur Studios & Patrick Brown
Scott & Jacqueline Botterman
Adriene Bowles
Matthew Bye & Ellen Laguerta Uy
Nínive & Jean Claude Calegari
Emily & Jason Cheng
Chris Clark
Patrick Connolly & Family
Breanna DeGeere
Mark Dempster
Caroline & Warren Dowd
Kelly Dubisar
Isabel Duffy-Pinner & Dickon Pinner
Dave Eggers & Vendela Vida
John Eidinger
Caterina Fake
Girts Folkmanis
Francis-Chapman Charitable Fund
Jon Gans
Michael Glaser & Kristine Hernandez
Green Bicycle Fund
Joe & Barbara Gurkoff Philanthropic Fund
Paul Haahr & Susan Karp
John & Marsha Hall in memory of Brian Hall
Shepard & Melissa Harris
N & K Hawley
Paul Herman
Liz Hume & Jay Jacobs
Melind John
Diana Kapp
Matthew Kinsella
Jordan Kurland
Michael S. Kwun & Sigrid Anderson-Kwun
James & Sarah Manyika
John G. & Lynda W. Marren
Geoff McHugh
Amir Najmi & Linda Woo
Kate O’Sullivan & Kurt Bauer
Dan & Ginger Oros
Barbara Parkyn in memory of Anna Picchi
Grant Petersen/Rivendell Bicycle Works
Robin Petravic
Rob Phillips & Elisa Lee
Melissa Powar in honor of Meg Ray
Joan Price
Merle & Leslie Rabine
Michael Rafferty & the Rafferty
Family Fund
Ramya Raghavan
Matt Rivitz & Blythe Lang
Celia Sack & Omnivore Books on Food
Maté Schissler
Will Scullin
Nicholas Sholley & the Sholley Foundation
Staci & Jamie Slaughter
Matthew Sonefeldt in honor of Gabe Escovar
Matt Spence
Ken & Kelly Steinthal
Susan Sueiro
Marjorie & Barry Traub
Susan Tunnell in honor of Common Sense Media
Ellen Valetta
Valerie Veronin & Robert Porter
Ayelet Waldman & Michael Chabon
Heidi & William Whalen
Sandy & Katie White
Tim Wirth & Anne Stuhldreher
Jesse & Michelle Zeifman


PJ & Bruce Bean
Jill & Layne Bourque
Janice Caveliere
Diana Cohn & Craig Merrilees
Kimberly Connor
Amanda Kelso
Daniel Lanza Rivers & Joshua Harris
Derek Linder
Joshua J. Mahoney
Josh McHugh
Steven Miller & Jennifer Durand
Jeffrey Veen


Alex & Diana Adamson
Jenny Bunshoft
Jack & Molly Cargas
Sandra Chu
William Collins
David & Carla Crane Philanthropic Fund
Sean Cumiskey
Marie D’Amico as a gift for Emma T. Capps
Fredrica Drotos
Michael Duckworth
Matt Ellsworth
Arline Epstein/Quadra Foundation
Joel Fruchtman
Gail Levitt Gershon
Kayvaan Ghassemieh
Allyson Halpern & Dan Cohen
Eric Heiman
Jessica Hemerly
Josh House
Katrina Jankowski
Steve & Josie Kelley
David Kosecoff
Joshua Landy & Angela Sebastiana
Gloria Lenhart
Angus MacLane
Jeanette & Kevin Moore
Bob Mullen & Jennifer Kriz
Lisa Nahmanson
Bruce & Risa Nye
Ike & Zohreh Okuda
Sara Owens
Toby Paterson
Mark Perry
Carolyn Pollock
Jessica Powell
Alexandre Puvilland & LeUyen Pham
Quinn Lowenthal Family Fund
Marcia Rodgers & Garrett Loube
Scott Rubin
William Terrell
Chase Tingley
Twitter SMB Team in memory of Bess Lee Wing
Kimberly Walker
Ellyn & Brett Weisel
Peter & Lisa Westley
Karen H. Wickre Fund
Charlie Wyman
Rob & Suzi Young
Ben Zotto
Eric Abrams
Dawn & Xavier Agnew
Mokhtar Alkanshali
Sarah Andrews
Blakely & John Atherton
Jay Bacrania in honor of our community
Marie Barrett as a gift for Meredith Barrett
Justin Bass
Wendy Bean
George Beckwith in honor of the Beckwiths
Allison Bengtson
Cassandra Benjamin
Barb Bersche & Dave Katznelson
Jessica Berta
Connie Bertuca
Anthony Bertuca
Susannah Bettag
Alden Bourne & Joeli Hettler
Deborah Bowers in honor of
Kimberly Connor
Kelsey Boylan
Erin Bright
Erica Brown
Jamieson Bunn
Scott & Suzanne Carswell
The CB Fund
Sir Brandon Chalk
Doris Y. Chang in memory of Jane Han
Justin Chen
Diana Chien
Morris Chow
Evelyn Clair
Kristine Coco
Courtney Colburn
Russell Corrigan & Pamela McGuire
David Covell
Brent D’Amico
Laura Dave in honor of Sylvie Rabineau
David DeRose
Joe Doctor
William Donahoe & Kristin Klein
Norman Patrick Doyle
Kenneth Eddings
Ronald Elving in honor of Kelsey Elving
Marianne Emblad
Victoria Emery
Marc Engel in honor of the Team at Voicebox Creative
Adam Eschner
Lenore Estrada
Deborah Fedorchuk
Lisa Feldstein & Maxwell Drukman
Brett Fenzel
Cristina Figone
John Fisher & Michael Sherrod-Flores on behalf of Books Inc.
Four Dollar Books & the Four is a little, Four is a LOT team
Jody Fox
Lisa Freeman
Vicki Friedberg
Karen & Stuart Gansky in honor of Rose Gansky
Antonio Garcia
Tom Gauld
Linda Gebroe
Guy Gilbert
Tara & Shane Ginsberg
Sarah Glicken
Gregorio Gonzalez in honor of Bryan & Gemma
Shannon Grant
Mary Lynn Greenhow
Jean-Denis Greze
Dixie & Richard Grossman
Megan Gupta & Philanthropic Panda
Abhas Gupta
Aditi Gupta
Aimee Haeussler
Morgan Hankins
Howard Harband
AJ Harm
Carol Hazenfield
John Herschend & Marleen
Schroder Herschend
Linda & Kit Hinrichs
Susan Houin on behalf of Douglas & Kelsey Booth
James & Anna Hsu
Michael Immerman in honor of Jonathan Freedman
Natalie Inouye
Medea Isphording & Bruce Bern
Benjamin Jacobs
David Jedrzejek
Joseph & Urmila John
Barbara Keating & Charles Reiker
Matthew Keleman
Mike Kelly
Aviv Keshet
Oliver Khakwani
Sasha Kinney
Michelle Klein Camacho
Susan Kramer in memory of Kenneth Aslanian Williams
Kerry Kretchmar
Robyn Kruse
Vakil Kuner in memory of Susan Kuner
Cynthia Lee
Emily & William Leider
Feralee & Charles Levin
Ellen Levin
Robert Lodge
Michael Lojkovic & LaffSongFest
Michelle Long
Amanda Loo
Anne & Jorge Lopez
Tom Luttrell
Jennifer MacCloskey
Erika Malzberg in memory of Mark McAuliffe
Cathy Manshel in honor of the BVHM Afterschool 826 Program
Markow Family Foundation
Frank Marquardt on behalf of the SF Bay Area Content Strategy Meetup
Anne Marxer
Kathleen Mateas-Hall in memory of Brian Hall
Chris Matthews
Kathryn McCarthy in honor of Tim Holt
Margaret McCarthy
Maudie McCormick
William McCune in honor of
Louise McCune
Adam McLearan in honor of Mary & Brett
Helaine & Rudy Melnitzer
Tess & John Melvin
Sandra & Burt Meyer
Randall Meyer
Elisa Mills in memory of Florence & Irving Hochman
Tara Misra
Carole Morrell & Anton Kast
Katrina & Tim Morshead
Amy Mullen
Logan Murphy in memory of Beth Pearce
Marjorie Murstein
Bita Nazarian
Thuy Nguyen
Juliya Novolt
John O’Hara
Jill Ohline & the Ohlines as a gift for Lisa Angstreich & Tom Troy
Kasra Omid-Zohoor
Kathleen Paniagua
Jordan Peavey
Luis & Kristen Peña
Christine Penfield
Ellen Perelman
Geoff Perrin
Andrea Perry in honor of Christina V. Perry
Christina V. Perry
Rhishi Kesh Pethe
Mark Plakias & Carolyn Schulz Plakias
William Poole
Elizabeth Popovich
Tara Prescott as a gift for Alexandra Dove & Rick Ballard
Mike Psinakis in honor of Yuri Psinakis
Christopher & Yaromil Ralph
Jayaprakash Ramachandran & Savita Jayaprakash
Scott Redick
Devon Reed
Patrick Reeves
Kaye Reeves
Joshua Robison
Thomas Rogers
Jennifer Roy
Russ & Sandy Ryan
Sean & Claudine Ryan
Marlene Saritsky & Tom Corwin
Ellen Schatz & Alex Kriney
Jennifer & Josh Scheer
Johanna Schlereth-Lehmann
Katharine Schultz
Fred & Christine Seely in honor of Blake Seely & Santiago Farias
Vaughan Shields
Tiffany Shlain & Ken Goldberg
Phil & Vanessa Siino Haack
Carole Sirulnick
Leef Smith
Wendy Smith
Elaine Smith
Terry Sonoda in memory of Robin Williams
Peter Sownie
Nicholas Spuhler
Lara Starr in honor of May the 4th at Chronicle Books
James Stearns & Kimberly Stewart Hopper
Kim Steckler
Tania Stepanian
Stacy Stevens
Nathaniel & Jodi Stookey
Daniel Streng
Mary Taugher & F. Martin Booth
Marcia Tingley as a gift for Chase Tingley
Turbow Family Fund
Eugene & Suzanne Valla
Sarah Vetters
David Victoria in honor of Mary & Brett
Kim Wade
Kate Wadsworth
Jesse Wendel
Jeff Whitaker
Rachel Wikoff
Lindsay Logan
Christopher H. & Cynthia G. Winship
Kevin Wofsy
Geri Wolfsheimer & Steven Bloom
Maggie Wooll
Leslie Yuan
Iwei & Shine Yun


826 National
Amazon Smile
Anonymous Corporate Foundation
The Bazaarvoice Foundation and the Entrepreneurs Foundation
BBDO San Francisco
Betabrand Corporation
Bi-Rite Market
Buffalo Exchange
Callan and Associates
Caruso Family Foundation
Chambers & Chambers Wine Merchants
Chronicle Books
City Arts & Lectures
Cole Haan
Cournale & Co.
Criterion Capital Management
Folio Books
Friends of School of the Arts
Gideon Hausner Jewish Day School
Goldman Sachs
Gundlach Bundschu Winery & Vineyard
Hotel Rex
Judd Apatow’s Trainwreck Comedy Tour
Latham & Watkins LLP
Lobster Theater Project
Merge Records
Middle-earth Enterprises
Miette Patisserie
Next Level SMG, LLC
O’Reilly Media, Inc.
Pacific Gas and Electric Company
Peet’s Coffee & Tea
Rackspace Hosting
Revolutions Per Minute on behalf of Treasure Island Music Festival
Russell Bede School
SF Sketchfest
Sub Rosa
Teespring IIC
Velos Mobile LLC
Wells Fargo Community Support Campaign


Alexander M. & June L. Maisin Foundation of the Jewish Community Federation and Endowment Fund
Anonymous Foundation
Anonymous Foundation
The Bernard Osher Foundation
Bill Graham Supporting Foundation of the Jewish Community Federation and Endowment Fund
Clif Bar Family Foundation
Clinton Reilly Foundation
The Comis Foundation
David Foster Wallace Literary Trust
The Donald and Carole Chaiken Foundation
Elder Family Foundation and Eoin Bullock
Fleishhacker Foundation
The Fred Terman and Nan Borreson Fund of the Community Foundation for Monterey County
The Gamble Foundation
The Gelfand Family Foundation, Inc. and Nicole Avril and Daniel Gelfand
GGS Foundation
Hellman Foundation
The Isabel Allende Foundation
John Baldessari Family Foundation
The Joseph R. McMicking Foundation
Kahle/Austin Foundation
KARIS Foundation
Kelly Ann Brown Foundation
The Kimball Foundation
Kochi Foundation
Lisa & Douglas Goldman Fund
Louis R. Lurie Foundation
Mary K. Robertson Family Fund
Maryann E. Kirchner Family Foundation
Maverick Capital Foundation
Maxine and Jack Zarrow Family Foundation
Morehouse Family Fund
The Odell/Kemp Fund
Panta Rhea Foundation
Pincus Family Fund of Silicon Valley Community Foundation
Remick Family Foundation
Rose and David Dortort Foundation
Salesforce.com Foundation
Scandling Family Foundation
Severns Family Foundation
Silicon Valley Community Foundation
Stanford Center on Philanthropy and Civil Society
The Stephen and Paula Smith Family Foundation
Steven Nathaniel Wolkoff Foundation
The Stocker Foundation
UVAS Foundation
The W Trust
Walter and Elise Haas Fund
The Walther Foundation
Windrose Fund of RSF Social Finance
Woodward Family Foundation
Endowment Fund


ExCEL After School Programs
San Francisco Department of Children, Youth and Their Families


Adobe Systems Incorporated
Matching Gifts
Bank of America Charitable Foundation
Callan & Associates
Esurance Insurance Service, Inc.
Gap Foundation Gift Match Program
Google Matching Gifts Program
Levi Strauss
Maverick Capital Foundation
Microsoft Matching Gifts Program
PG&E Corporation Campaign for
the Community
Qualcomm Incorporated
Salesforce Foundation
Select Equity Group Foundation
Skoll Global Threats Fund
Thomson Reuters
Trip Advisor Charitable Foundation
Visa Matching Gift Program


18 Rabbits
Almanac Beer Co.
Lisa Beth Anderson
David Becker
Barb Bersche
Adam Bienvenu
Bi-Rite Market
Jessica Blair
Jennifer Braun
Lisa Brown
Bryan Burkhart
City Arts & Lectures
Lori Collins
Kimberly Connor
Natasha Dangond
Dependable Letterpress, Inc.
Angela Dominguez
Dave Eggers
Fatted Calf
Four Barrel Coffee
Will Georgantas
Emily Goldburg
Seth Golub
Joel Gregory
Gundlach Bundschu
Yosh Han
Christine Herrin
Hewlett Packard via Collectively
Reece Hirsch
Bryan Hughes
Anthony Iamurri
Ichi Sushi
Jory John
Eda Kaban
Lucy Kirschner
Michael & Katrina Krantz
Patricia Jimenez
Gloria Lenhart
Jessica Lin
Tracy Liu
Lucky Peach Magazine
Brandon Ly
Kehau Lyons
Wendy MacNaughton
Adriana del Mar
Ana Mason
Andrea Michaels
Miette Patisserie
Mission Community Market
Melissa Vaarzon Morel
Eunice Moyle
Lauren Mulkey
New Belgium Brewing Company
Thao Nguyen
Noise Pop Industries
LeUyen Pham
Tim Ratanapreukskul
Meg Ray
San Francisco Film Society
Randy Salazar
Helaine Lasky Schweitzer
Emma Sherwood-Forbes
Shibumi Gallery
Cristina Spano
Peter Stein
St. Regis San Francisco
The Chapel
Union Made
Urban Digital Color
Venga Empanadas
Karen Wagstaffe
Whole Foods Market St.
Donna Williamson
Jody Worthington
Gene Luen Yang
Sydney Zelenak


The staff at 826 Valencia is small compared to the output of the organization. There’s absolutely no way we could create hundreds of publications and serve thousands of students annually without a legion of volunteers. This group of superstars works in all realms, from tutoring to fundraising and beyond. They range in age, background, and expertise but all have a shared passion for our work with young people.


A dedicated group of volunteers from across our programs comprise our V.E.S.T leadership board, also known as the Volunteer Engagement and Support Team. These folks of wide-ranging skills provide ongoing guidance to new volunteers and give feedback to 826 staff on the volunteer experience. They also help plan our bi-annual 100 Club volunteer celebration, among other volunteer engagement activities. Individuals on the board are recommended by 826 staff, and each member serves for a minimum of one school-year. Read on to meet a selection of our fabulous V.E.S.T. members!

Tim Ratanapreukskul was born in Los Angeles but has led a multi-regional lifestyle since high school. When Tim was a teenager, he lived and studied in Japan, and went on to live in various parts of the East Coast. The promise of higher education brought him to the Rhode Island School of Design where he studied apparel and graphic design in his undergrad and architecture for his master’s degree. Although Tim is artistically inclined, he has admittedly terrible taste in music. A few years ago, Tim came to San Francisco’s Mission District for the sunshine, but since then has discovered so much more to love about the neighborhood: free yoga, homemade bikes, mandated composting and recycling, cheap Mexican food, the Muni’s J-line, and 826 Valencia. He is a designer and prefers to have as small a footprint in the public/internet life as possible.

Gloria Lenhart loves San Francisco the way only an East Coast transplant can. She arrived in San Francisco just in time for the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake. When she’s not helping with field trips at 826, you can find her leading walking tours around the city for San Francisco City Guides. In 2014, she launched the City Explorer San Francisco app offering downloadable tours of SF neighborhoods for smartphones and tablets. Find sunken ships in the financial district, explore hidden gardens downtown, and more. Proceeds from the app benefit 826 Valencia.

Kavitha Lotun came to 826 Valencia in the summer of 2012 after spending 5 years teaching young students in London, England. One day while exploring the Mission and pining after the buzz of her classroom, she stumbled upon the 826 Valencia Exploring Words Summer Camp. Serendipitously, this ended up being a way to meet students in San Francisco and learn more about their schools and learning styles. Kavitha took a hiatus from 826 to welcome her son Khalil in 2013 (he’s currently exploring his own words). She can now be found leading Storytelling & Bookmaking Field Trips, tutoring, and serving on the Volunteer Engagement Support Team.

Shannon David began as an intern with 826 Valencia in 2010 and has been hanging around as a volunteer ever since. She has participated on the editorial board for two Young Authors’ Book Projects, and now co-teaches our only in-house student newspaper, the Valencia Bayfarer, alongside fellow volunteer Austin Hoffman. She’s always learning something new from our intrepid young reporters and loves seeing each new Bayfarer issue come to life. Shannon is delighted to serve the 826 volunteer community as a VEST member and can easily be convinced to go out for coffee (or ice cream) any time. When not at 826, you’ll find her across the street at McSweeney’s, where she recently joined the staff.

Jess Hemerly grew up in the remote reaches of rural eastern Pennsylvania, where she longed to leave the sticks behind for life in the city. She attended college in the Big Apple and quickly sought her fortunes across the country in San Francisco, where she’s been for ten years. After several unsatisfying jobs, she decided to enroll at UC Berkeley, earning her Master’s degree in Information Management and Systems and garnered several honors for her prodigious research. A freelance culture critic in her spare time, her writing has appeared in 7×7, Make, and The Onion, as well as on several local music blogs. Jess currently works in technology public policy, focused on transparency and accessibility. When she’s not grappling with Internet policy, she runs marathons, rides her bike, and is learning to swim. As a life-long writer in both her personal and professional life, she savors the opportunity to help the young writing minds at BVHM.

Jonathan Koshi Jonathan—known to most by his last name, Koshi—was born and raised on the sunny beaches of Oahu. At the age of 18, he left his tropical paradise to experience the northeastern seasons while at school in Rhode Island. After college, he did a brief stint in Houston before coming back west and settling in the Bay Area, and has been a San Francisco resident for 15 years. He has worked as a user-experience designer for several Bay Area companies, including Yahoo! and Minted, and co-founded Songbird, an open source music player (RIP). He now spends his days as a freelance user-experience design consultant for early stage companies and his evenings engrossed in various art projects. His artistic work has appeared at several galleries in San Francisco, including Secession Art & Design and Campfire Gallery, and in the classroom of BVHM, where he has become popular with the kids for his on-demand drawings of various things the kids love, including San Francisco 49ers players, cartoon mashups, and penguins.

Lindsay Logan first got involved with 826 Valencia as part of the Young Authors’ Book project in 2014, and is a proud member of VEST. She graduated from Stanford University, and is currently helping small businesses learn how to Tweet as a Content Marketing Lead at Twitter. Lindsay loves reading, going for runs across the Golden Gate Bridge, and adventures with her husband, Patrick, and their French bulldog, Jimmy McNulty.