SF literary nonprofit 826 Valencia expanding to Tenderloin

A beloved and unique pirate-themed shop that doubles as a literary organization seeking to make writing fun for kids is planning to open a second location in The City after 12 years in the Mission.

Named for its physical location, 826 Valencia has received a three-year, $500,000 grant from an anonymous foundation that will allow the nonprofit to open a Tenderloin site as early as August 2015, said Executive Director Bita Nazarian.

Founded in 2002 by educator Ninive Calegari and author Dave Eggers, 826 Valencia supports writing aspirations among 6- to 18-year-olds through one-on-one attention and programs that produce various student publications. It also encourages teachers to inspire students to write.

The new site will maintain the original location's “brand of whimsy and fun and creativity,” according to Nazarian, and will serve an additional 2,000 students per year. The organization currently serves about 6,000 students annually, including at its annexed locations at three San Francisco Unified School District campuses.

For the next year, 826 Valencia will spend planning for its new site, which will likely also include some retail space. It's trying to raise an additional $2 million to help secure a location and continue programming for the next several years, said Nazarian.

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