About 826 Boston
826 Boston is a nonprofit writing, tutoring, and publishing organization where students in grades K-12 and beyond can share their stories, amplify their voices, and develop as leaders in school and in life. We work in collaboration with Boston Public Schools (BPS) to provide highly customized programs free of charge, and we have served more than 29,000 students since our founding in 2007. 826 Boston’s youth writers have published their work in The New York Times, The Boston Globe, and in numerous award-winning 826 Boston books.
Our programs are structured around the principles that great leaps in learning can happen with individualized attention and that strong writing skills are fundamental to future success. With this understanding in mind, and with a commitment to continuous learning, we have developed a range of programs to respond to the evolving needs of our students, with the goal of empowering students to express their ideas effectively, creatively, confidently, and in their individual voices. These programs include:
Out-of-school programs: After-School Writing and Tutoring; and STEM Literacy
In-school programs: School-Based Partnerships that infuse trained tutors into BPS classrooms; dedicated Writers’ Room classrooms within BPS buildings; and Young Authors’ Book Projects
College preparedness and youth leadership programs: College Essay Assistance; Alumni Hiring and Scholarship Opportunities for teens and program alumni to serve as mentors and tutors; and our Youth Literary Advisory Board.
Our team includes 36 staff and service members working across our headquarters, also known as The Greater Boston Bigfoot Research Institute, and in our school-based sites. Our team shares a steadfast commitment to empowering youth and improving the quality of K-12 education. We show warmth and care for our students and each other. As a team of creative individuals with a diverse range of identities, perspectives, and experiences, we bring curiosity and an imaginative, whimsical approach to our work.
We are supported by a highly engaged Board that brings a longstanding commitment to our mission. Our $3M budget is supported by a diverse mix of funders that includes individual, foundation, corporate, and government donors.
We are part of the 826 National network of youth writing centers, co-founded by the award-winning author Dave Eggers and educator Nínive Calegari. We are proud that 826 Boston has been recognized by The Boston Globe as one of the best places in the city to volunteer.
To learn more about our work and team and to read student work, please visit our website.
Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion at 826 Boston
At 826 Boston, we honor and actively work toward diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) across our organization. We are committed to centering the voices of the students we serve, to creating inclusive spaces, and to incorporating feedback from our community into our decision-making processes. Our DEI lens is always evolving through the courageous conversations in which we participate and the relationships that we build through our work and service. We strengthen our cultural competency through experience, training, and feedback, which informs the development of all new organizational practices and goals and the evaluation of all existing procedures.
826 Boston is dedicated to providing a platform for student advocacy through writing and publishing opportunities. In our work and mission, we are committed to dismantling white supremacy culture by recognizing that we are complicit in systems of racism and oppression. We will work to hold ourselves accountable in addressing these harmful structures and behaviors.
The Executive Director Opportunity
During our first 16 years, we have grown through our start-up phase and a subsequent expansion period, which has included building a highly diverse team and increasing both our programmatic reach and our budget. Now, we are seeking an Executive Director who will bring an inclusive leadership style and strategic mindset, working with our team, Board, and community to explore what is possible in our next chapter, with an eye toward continued impact and organizational sustainability.
This role offers an exciting opportunity for an individual who is passionate about youth empowerment and education and skilled in organizational leadership and relationship-building. The Executive Director will guide us to fulfill the goals of our current strategic plan, upholding our commitment to delivering high-quality programs for our students. The Executive Director will lead us in developing our next strategic plan, weighing opportunities to inform the best course of action and identifying the resources we will need to implement that plan. Building on our existing culture and values, the Executive Director will share our commitment to anti-racist and anti-oppressive approaches and lead with a grounding in diversity, equity, and inclusion. Serving as a champion for our work, they will advance our mission and impact by building awareness and support with donors, partners, and the broader community, leveraging strong relationship-building skills.
Organizational Strategy and Management
- Lead our team and Board in implementing and refining our current strategic plan (through Spring 2025); prepare for and lead us in developing our next strategic plan
- Lead our team and Board in revisiting, revising, implementing, and establishing accountability measures for our DEI Action Plans (current version available in this PDF)
- Supervise the senior management team with a focus on ensuring clarity of the vision and goals for our impact; provide coaching to foster their ongoing development and success as team leaders and to support them in aligning their teams around organizational vision and goals
- Work with the Board and key staff to develop budgets, human resource strategies, and other operational resources necessary to support our current scale
Development and External Relationship-Building
- Share 826 Boston’s story and impact with donors, partners, and the broader community, acting as an engaging and passionate advocate in order to grow our visibility and our networks of support
- Act as a leading representative of 826 Boston in donor cultivation, solicitation, and stewardship, collaborating with development staff and Board members to build development strategy and donor relationships in support of our annual fundraising goals and upcoming capital campaign
- Collaborate with the development team to ensure alignment with community-centric fundraising practices
- Partner with program staff and Board members to sustain strong relationships with our partners at Boston Public Schools
Team Leadership and Culture-Building
- Uphold our commitment to providing an inclusive, equitable, and supportive environment for our diverse and distributed team, including attention to how we can best support connection and cohesion among members working in a wide range of settings
- Partner with our team to identify opportunities to align our internal and external practices with our values, with a focus on infusing diversity, equity, inclusion, and anti-racist/anti-oppression approaches
- Serve as a strong listener, engaging with team members throughout the organization as well as our external community, and promote a culture of feedback and continuous learning
- Support a distributed team, both distributed across program sites as well as between virtual and physical
- Foster ongoing professional development for members of our team
- Promote active Board involvement, providing information necessary for the Board to make informed decisions and fulfill its responsibilities
- Ensure appropriate preparation and support for Board and Committee meetings
- Lead recruitment to support a strong, diverse pipeline of prospective Board members
826 Boston recognizes that imposter syndrome and the confidence gap might prevent some applicants from applying. Few candidates will have all of the relevant experience listed below, but 826 Boston is committed to assessing candidates with transferable skills and a readiness to continue learning and growing in this role.
- You are deeply motivated by our mission, demonstrating a clear commitment to youth empowerment, writing, and improving K-12 education for students of color and from underperforming schools. You share our commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion and anti-racist/anti-oppressive approaches.
- Prior experience working in or partnering with urban educational organizations, or other experiences that demonstrate awareness of the specific dynamics of working with an urban school district, will be considered a strong benefit.
- You are an experienced leader, with proven success in developing and implementing strategic plans and supporting highly diverse teams, and with skill in guiding relatively lean organizations or teams through change and transition.
- You are a skilled strategic thinker, able to move a team from ideation to implementation, with experience in identifying how to measure the success and impact of a strategy and course-correct when needed.
- You are highly relational and a strong listener, able to engage and synthesize input from a wide range of constituencies, creating inclusive, collaborative processes and culture. You have a proven record of success in building effective relationships with external constituents (donors, partners, community members) and with internal teams.
- You have experience in individual, corporate, or foundation fundraising and/or transferrable relationship-building experience, and you value community-centric fundraising practices.
- As a staff leader, you demonstrate a dedication to empowering and growing team members as leaders at all levels. You have a background and comfort level in working outside of traditional hierarchies.
- You are experienced with infusing diversity, equity, and inclusion into organizational practices, and you are committed to ongoing reflection and improvement in this work.
- You demonstrate sound judgment that is informed by the perspective of the communities you work with, and when you need to make and message a decision, you are able to do so in a way that creates buy-in.
- You are able to both adapt to changing circumstances and also serve as a centering presence, promoting a consistent sense of desired impact and goals with your team.
Compensation & Location
The salary range for this position is set between $135,000 and $148,000. 826 Boston offers a comprehensive benefits package, including health, dental, and short-term disability insurance and parental leave; flexible spending and dependent care account options; 403(b); and generous PTO, including vacation time starting from 3 weeks, a paid 2-week winter break and paid 3-day Thanksgiving break, 6 paid days off on summer Fridays, and additional paid holidays, as well as paid sick leave, jury duty, and bereavement leave.
This position is based out of 826 Boston’s headquarters in Roxbury, MA, and will maintain a presence across our distributed, multi-site structure with various locations with Boston Public Schools.
826 Boston is an equal opportunity employer fully committed to creating an environment and team that represents a variety of backgrounds, perspectives, styles, and experiences. We encourage all to apply because we believe a diversity of voices leads to better discussions, decisions, and outcomes for everyone. 826 Boston does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, religion, sex, disability, age, sexual orientation, military status, veteran status, genetic information, gender identity, or any other characteristic protected by applicable federal, state, or local law.
Koya Partners, the executive search firm that specializes in mission-driven search, has been exclusively retained for this engagement. Cassie Scarano and Kirstin Griffiths of Koya Partners have been exclusively retained to lead this search. To express interest in this role please submit your materials by completing our Talent Profile or email the Koya search team directly at firstname.lastname@example.org. All inquiries and discussions will be considered strictly confidential.
Koya Partners is committed to providing reasonable accommodation to individuals living with disabilities. If you are a qualified individual living with a disability and need assistance expressing interest online, please email NonprofitSearchOps@divsearch.com. If you are selected for an interview, you will receive additional information regarding how to request an accommodation for the interview process.
About Koya Partners
Koya Partners, a part of Diversified Search Group, is a leading executive search and strategic advising firm dedicated to connecting exceptionally talented people with mission-driven clients. Our founding philosophy—The Right Person in the Right Place Can Change the World—guides our work as we partner with nonprofits & NGOs, institutions of higher education, responsible businesses, and social enterprises in local communities and around the world.
For more information about Koya Partners, visit www.koyapartners.com.