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826 Seattle Changes Its Name to the Bureau of Fearless Ideas by Paul Constant - Seattle Books - The Stranger, Seattle's Only Newspaper
"And as Part of Its Commitment to Fearlessness, Breaks Off from 826 National and Expands into White Center with Another Tutoring Space



"he nonprofit soon to be formerly known as 826 Seattle was not conceived as a branch of 826 National. Hein had been organizing it for a year under other names. It was originally called Pencil Head “for the blink of an eye” until “these kids told me that was stupid,” and then it was going to be “Studio 26” until Eggers asked Hein to join 826 National. Since then, Hein says, they’ve been “operating at capacity for all our programs. We’ve never taken a loan, we’ve ended up in the black every year. Even through the worst of the economic decline, our budget’s been going up and up and up and up.” Staffing has increased from “two and a half” employees to 19. The first year’s annual budget was a hundred and fifty thousand dollars. This year, the budget is almost a million.

So if everything’s going so well, why rock the boat? Hein has nothing but kind words to say about 826 National, but she thinks her nonprofit has always been “kind of the independent chapter” and needs to grow beyond the 826 National mission statement. Plus, as 826 National grows and expands, they will probably need to standardize their procedures in order to capture the larger grants that a truly national educational program needs. Hein hopes the BFI will become an affiliate of 826 National; she’d like to pilot educational programs that she can then pass on to the nationwide branches. Gerald Richards, CEO of 826 National, issued a statement saying, "We wish them well,” but did not elaborate on the future of the BFI’s involvement with 826 National.

So what will the BFI do differently? For one thing, Hein says, they’re going to open a branch in White Center by 2016. And obviously the name is changing. A lot of serious thought has gone into the terminology behind the BFI. Students and tutors will be “Field Agents,” Hein is the “Bureau Chief,” and starting next week, students will be doing after-school tutoring and taking other classes at the Greenwood Field Office, which will still be hidden behind a teleporter in the Greenwood Space Travel Supply Company.

Hein says the organization makes most of its money from individual donors, a rarity in the nonprofit education field. “Are we crazy to think we can raise another million dollars,” she says, “and open another center somewhere else? Or two centers? Or five centers?” She’s considered offices in Burien, and she calls Tukwila and the Crossroads neighborhood on the Eastside interesting possibilities. Wherever the field offices open, Hein wants them to become intrinsically tied to their neighborhoods. Seattle feels more divided than ever, she says, thanks to worsening traffic and economic disparity. But “what happens to kids when they really identify with their neighborhood and their sense of confidence and their sense of safety with their neighborhood?”

The programs that 826 Seattle has become known for will still be happening at the Bureau, including tutoring assistance, classes on writing family history “through poetry, prose, and a comic/graphic novel,” travel and food writing classes, and a National Novel Writing Month meet-up group for high-schoolers. The programs will still be free and available to kids from all financial backgrounds; they serve three thousand kids a year in Greenwood alone. Hein is bursting with ideas involving low-power radio and incorporating neighborhood businesses into the act. Hein says, “One of my fantasies is that the kids with their adults will research the history of Greenwood and perform a play about it with the adults at the Taproot Theatre.” She begins whirling off ideas—personal histories of immigrant small-business owners, songwriting projects—until it’s obvious that she’s just gotten started."
826seattle  seattle  terihein  2014  via:coreycaitlin  education  standardization  826national  tutoring  writing  children  youth  openstudioproject  lcproject 
november 2014 by robertogreco

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