Our Programs

Tenderloin Center

We’re excited to announce that 826 Valencia has expanded beyond its flagship location on Valencia Street with a second writing and tutoring center to support San Francisco’s Tenderloin community. The doors to our new center at 180 Golden Gate opened on May 19, 2016, and the storefront, King Carl’s Emporium, is open for business Monday–Friday from 11:00–5:00.

Where are we now?

Since beginning work in the neighborhood in the fall of 2015, 826 Valencia has served over 300 students through partnerships with six local organizations, resulting in three beautiful publications of student writing. 

Beginning in the 2016–2017 school year, our program offerings at the Tenderloin Center include: a podcasting field trip for middle and high school classes; personal statement writing support for high school seniors; in-school tutoring at Bessie Carmichael Elementary; and a daily after-school writing and homework-help program in collaboration with the after school programs at Glide Family, Youth & Childcare Center, De Marillac Academy, the Tenderloin Boys & Girls Club, and the Tenderloin After-School Program.


How to get involved

  • Gensler_Interstice-826_Valencia-1443If you’re a teacher interested in bringing your class to the 826 Valencia Tenderloin Center, for a Podcasting or Personal Statement Field Trip learn more here.
  • We need volunteers! If you have availability Monday through Friday any time between the hours of 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., there are ways you can help at our Tenderloin Center. Fill out a Volunteer Registration Form to get started. If you’re already enrolled as an 826 Valencia volunteer, check out current projects on our volunteer calendar. And if you’re interested in bringing a corporate group to volunteer, learn more here.
  • If you’re a student, parent, or after-school provider and have questions about our programs, contact Programs Coordinator Kona Lai at kona@826valencia.org.

The 826 Valencia Tenderloin Center in the news

About the expansion

Why the Tenderloin?

The need is there.

  • The Tenderloin is San Francisco’s most densely populated neighborhood, and the home of 4,000 of our city’s children.
  • The Tenderloin has the second highest incidence of food stamp use in the city, with a median household income of $23,804.
  • While social services are abundant, there are no programs that focus on the essential skill of writing.

Why 826 Valencia?

Writing is key.

  • At 826 Valencia, we believe that all students deserve a chance to be successful, and we know that strong writing skills are a fundamental and proven factor in achieving that success.
  • The Carnegie Corporation reports, “without writing skills, young people will be at a serious disadvantage in successfully pursuing some form of higher education, and securing a job that pays a living wage.”
  • Results of the 2013 California Standardized Testing and Reporting indicated that only 65 percent of fifth-grade students in the San Francisco Unified School District performed at a proficient level in English-Language Arts. This number was 21 percent for English Language Learners and 51 percent for students who receive free lunch.

We have a proven track record.

  • In the 14 years since our founding, 826 Valencia has celebrated transformative impact on thousands of students’ lives.
  • Students, parents, and teachers report increased confidence in writing, improved writing skills, and improved academic performance due to our programs.
  • For example, after launching our program in a public elementary school, English Language Learners demonstrated accelerated reading level growth, with more than three-quarters of them growing more than a year in only four months.

Our Team

The 826 Valencia Tenderloin Center is a labor of love, and a product of hard work and in-kind donations from the following:

Build team

BBDO San Francisco
BCCI Construction Company
Jonas Kellner
Valerie Veronin


Bill Plumb
Dylan Gold
Qris Frye
Raven Mahon

Subcontractor Partners and Consultants

AMP Printing and Graphics
ALR | Associated Lighting Reps Inc
Anderson Rowe and Buckley Inc
Arrigoni Woods
Ayoob & Perry
Barbara Butler
Bay Area Concrete
B Metals
Bluewater Environmental Services Inc.
Budget Signs
California Drywall Co.
California Wood Floors
Commercial Casework Inc.
Creative Ceilings and Drywall Inc.
Cutting Edge Drapery
DeAnza Tile
DW Nicholson Corporation
Design and Direct Source
Design Workshops
Emser Tile
Fire Detection Unlimited, Inc
Giampolini Inc.
Golden Gate Fire Protection
HD Supply Construction & Industrial – White Cap
Independent Electric Supply Inc
Industry West
Jak W.
Kay Chesterfield
The Lawson Roofing Company, Inc.
Majestic Floors Inc.
Mary Lou Iverson
Minton Door Company
Mission Glass Company
McMillan Electric
Microbiz Security Company
Monticelli Painting and Decorating
National Air Balance Co
New Bohemia
Nor Cal Floor Design
Omni Sheet Metal Inc
Orion Chandelier
Overhead Door Company
Paganini Electric Corp
Philips Lighting
PPG Paints
Pribuss Engineering
Progress Glass Company Inc
Richard Hancock Ind
Patrick J. Ruane, Incorporated
Rubio Monocoat
Service Metal Products Inc.
SF Interiors
Shaw Floors
Sprig Electric
Surber Drywall Construction Inc.
Stockham Construction Inc
Tandus Centiva
Tipping Structural
Young Electric Co.

We Need You!

Growing our programs also means growing our volunteer numbers by the hundreds, in addition to needing more financial support than ever before to bring our free writing and tutoring services to thousands more students. Get involved!

For inquiries regarding donations please contact:

Allyson Halpern, Development Director
415.642.5905 x202

Photos by Matthew Millman