826 National is a unique education chain based on a model of innovation and imagination, and encourages students to 'be as weird as they want to be.'

Gerald Richards is the Chief Executive Officer of the 826 National chain of tutoring centers. In 2011, 826 National served over 29,000 students. We asked Gerald to chat with PSFK for our Need To Know Magazine to explain how the company has grown and expanded to 8 locations in 10 years:

What were the biggest challenges 826 faced thus far in its expansion?

The 826 National network of chapters has grown relatively organically over the past ten years, since the opening of our first chapter, 826 Valencia in San Francisco. Demand for our model and programs is huge, as arts education programs continue to be cut or eliminated from public schools and literacy rates stagnate. I’m sure our biggest challenge resonates with all nonprofit organizations—funding. Each year our network must raise millions to support our programs (all provided free of charge), which assist nearly 30,000 students each year. As we approach growth in the years ahead, we will be working to ensure that 826 chapters continue to have a solid base of local supporters.

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