Announcing the 826 Valencia Associate Board

By Talia Moyal, Board Chair

The Magic
I recently brought a friend to the 826 Valencia Tenderloin Center, and I couldn’t have been more nervous.
It was a tricky situation—I wanted to show (not tell) him the magic of 826, but I didn’t want it to seem like I was trying to “sell him” on the organization. This person is a friend, a mentor, and someone I respect; I wanted to give him a behind-the-scenes look at what I had been working on over the last few months.
We were greeted at the store, King Carl’s Emporium, where we shopped vintage-books-turned-into-notebooks, adventure keychains, fish pens, spy glasses, and published books of students’ writing. But, among all the trinkets, the most important “find” was a book on a mantle that opened a secret door to what we were really there to see: the Writing Lab.
It was brimming with energy; the creativity and excitement filled the long wooden tables of chattering students and engulfed the high-ceilinged-space. The backdrop, a curious treehouse built from a student’s inspiration.
After exploring the space and watching the students create, learn, and write, we sat down with the staff, who shared the organization’s origin story and mission. My friend was absolutely captivated—he had seen the magic of 826. After the meeting was over, he turned to me and asked, “What can I do to help?”
My Journey to 826
Four months earlier, I had asked the same question myself. That’s what 826 Valencia does to you. It’s an atmosphere bursting with creativity and opportunity, and you can’t help but want to be a part of it.
I found 826 Valencia through YCore—a nonprofit that matches young professionals to local organizations working in the social sector. My four teammates and I worked closely with the 826 staff to identify areas of collaboration where we might offer consulting services to help streamline or improve some aspect of operations. Initially positioned as a three-month project, it became clear that we, as individuals, were now deeply committed to this organization that we had grown to love.
I have worked on a few inaugural Associate Boards—some successful, some not as successful. The core tenants of those that are successful include: staff support, excitement about the organization, and deep connections between members. 826 Valencia has all of this and more.
So, I’m excited to share that we are kicking off 826 Valencia’s first-ever Associate Board!
What is the Associate Board?
Our mission as the Associate Board is to cultivate and inspire the next generation of philanthropic and volunteer support for 826 Valencia. The group is made up of members from a variety of professions and sectors—from product managers to editors to program managers at other nonprofits. As the Board Chair, I hope to establish a truly cohesive working relationship between all of us and the social sector. I want this board to serve as an example for other Associate Boards; demonstrating how to set ambitious but tangible goals, how to engage your personal community to rally around one mission, and how to commit to your community as a young working professional and a citizen of that community.
826 Valencia is part of the fabric of our community, and we take our commitment seriously. We want to redefine what it means for a community to become engaged with a local nonprofit in a way that helps them achieve their vision, not just reach their goals.
I am honored to Chair this group with the help of our Vice Chair, Jess Asperger. We have an amazing team of 22 members—read all about them here—and I can’t wait to see what this year brings!
Want to connect with 826VAB? Reach out to Talia Moyal ( and Jess Asperger (