Supporter Spotlight: Volunteer and Donor John Odell

It all started with a volunteer sign-up. When John Odell retired several years ago, he looked around for “a meaningful volunteer opportunity,” he shared recently. As a former educator and broadcast news editor/producer (he is Faculty Emeritus of the Broadcast Electronic Media Arts Department at City College of SF), John knows the importance of good writing and believes strongly in supporting youth of diverse backgrounds in achieving academic success.

John OdellPre-pandemic, John could be found volunteering in our Mission Center After-School Program nearly every Tuesday afternoon, working alongside “his kids.” As a result of his consistency, he grew to know several students over many years and, according to program staff, even had kids “fighting over who got to work with him.”

He approaches his giving in that same spirit of consistency, dedication, and thoughtfulness. John makes his annual gifts to 826 via Qualified Charitable Distributions (QCD) from his IRA. “At my age, I’m required by law to take a taxable Minimum Distribution, but I can distribute those funds directly to a favorite nonprofit, and pay no taxes on the withdrawal,” he explained. “While it’s okay to give it to the government, it’s more fun to give it to someone you like!”

We are so grateful to John for his commitment to serving young people, both with time and financial resources. Thank you for helping make the 826 magic happen!

There are many ways to give in support of our students and mission. Working with a Financial Advisor or Estate Planner can help determine the options that work best for you and your family. For more information, please contact us at