Gerald Richards is the Chief Executive Officer of 826 National. With more than twenty years of management and development experience at national nonprofit organizations, Gerald is a respected trainer and sought after speaker on topics of youth and education access. He is interviewed regularly on these topics and has appeared on NBC’s Nightly News, CNN’s Anderson Cooper’s 360, and The Michael Eric Dyson Show, as well as in articles in publications including the Huffington Post and Inc. Magazine. He has also served as an education expert for national marketing campaigns promoting creativity in and outside the classroom.
Gerald has conducted trainings and presented at conferences including SXSWedu, TEDX: Constitution Drive, Opportunity Collaboration, American Education Research Association and Feria Internacional del Libro Infantil y Juvenile in Mexico City. He has represented 826 National at the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) America, the PSFK Conference, the Big Ideas Fest, the Rhode Island School of Design and the University of Chicago Booth School of Business.
His nonprofit career includes positions with the Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship (NFTE); UNCF; University of California, San Francisco; the J. David Gladstone Institutes; Chicago Panel on Social Policy; and The Cradle Foundation. He has managed flourishing relationships and partnerships with corporate, foundation, education and governmental entities including Time Warner Cable, Citi, Merrill Lynch/Bank of America, the Lyles Center for Entrepreneurship at Fresno State, and the San Francisco Mayor’s Office.
Past accomplishments include: graduate of the Executive Education programs of Harvard Business School and Babson College; member of the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) and Ed Steps Curiosity and Creativity workgroup; an inaugural fellow in the California Leaders of Color Fellowship Program; and a graduate of Leadership San Francisco. He currently serves on the boards of Newbury College, the International Development Exchange (IDEX), and My Path SF, and previously served on the boards of the Woodland School, Juma Ventures and KIPP SF Bay Academy.
Gerald has a BA in Film Studies from Wesleyan University and an MFA in Writing from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.
Maggie Andrews is the Director of Development at 826 National. With more than a decade of fundraising experience, her work with youth focused arts organizations has taken her to Baltimore, Boston, and since 2009, the Bay Area. Before her current position with 826 National, Maggie served as the Managing Director, Individual Giving at Teach For America and Development Director for Stanford Jazz Workshop. While working at NPR's From the Top, Maggie acquired her MS in Arts Administration at Boston University, and she has a BA in English from Dickinson College. Maggie first became involved with the 826 family as an after-school tutor at 826 Boston.
Lauren Broder, Ph.D. is the Director of Research and Evaluation for 826 National. Lauren received her Ph.D. in Developmental Psychology from the University of Connecticut where she conducted research on the effects of early childhood experiences on later development. She brings a strong background in statistical analysis, research writing, and data management, including working with national data from the NICHD. Lauren also served as a lab manager at the University of Colorado, overseeing multiple projects while managing research assistants. In addition to her research experience, she taught at the collegiate level for five years on a variety of topics - from developmental psychology to statistics. She was also a coordinator and trainer for a research methods course, assisting graduate students in effective teaching strategies. During this time, she realized her passion for inspiring and motivating students.
In addition to her Ph.D. in Developmental Psychology, Lauren holds a B.A. in Psychology from the University of Colorado, and a M.A. in Psychology from the University of Connecticut.
Kait Steele is the Director of Field Operations for 826 National. Kait was a founding member of 826CHI, serving as the organization’s first Programs Coordinator and later as its Director of Education. During her seven-year tenure in Chicago, Kait played a key role in program and curriculum development, some of which is featured in the 826 National publication Don’t Forget to Write. Prior to joining the 826 community, Kait taught creative writing and wrote development and communications materials at the Woodstock School located in the foothills of the Indian Himalayas. Kait holds a BA in English/Creative Writing from Northwestern University with an emphasis in poetry.
Lindy Caldwell is the Chapter Resources & Support Manager at 826 National. She brings over 12 years of experience in the nonprofit sector to the role, working in homelessness, family support, and youth education. Most recently she comes from Room to Read, where she led business process development, resources, and communications across a network of 50+ global chapters. Lindy loves connecting people with shared passions, while enhancing the systems and processes that make that experience most effective. In her role at 826 National, she supports the network in collaborating across cities and programs.
Cecilia Juan is 826 National’s Corporate and Foundation Relations Manager. Before joining 826 National, Cecilia was the Grants & Membership Manager at Headlands Center for the Arts in Sausalito, CA and served on the institutional giving teams at the International Center of Photography and The Studio Museum in Harlem in New York. Prior to beginning her career in fundraising for arts organizations, Cecilia lived in Japan and the Czech Republic, where she taught English as a foreign language to toddlers, scientists, and everyone in between. Cecilia holds an MA in Visual Arts Administration from New York University as well as a BA in English and BFA in Photography from the University of Florida.
Okailey Okai is 826 National's Program Development and Support Coordinator and quite the wandering soul. Born in Providence, Rhode Island, she attended art school in upstate New York. After graduating, she taught English in South Korea for three years and fell in love with Korea's culture, food and history, and of course, K-POP. When she returned to the United States, she participated in various art fairs before moving to California to obtain her Masters in Arts Management. During her career, she found a new interest in Art as Social Practice and exploring ways of increasing access to arts and culture for underserved communities.
Daniel J. Cesca is 826 National's Operations Assistant. He is a graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, where he studied fiction and taught undergraduate creative writing courses. After earning his MFA, he taught as an adjunct professor at the University of Iowa, and served as the Writer-in-Residence at Iowa Lakeside Laboratory, one of the oldest biological field stations in the country. While there he taught nature and writing classes to visiting high school students, and worked on his novel. Originally from Oregon, Daniel has lived in Mexico, where he helped launch an English language program for middle school students outside Puerto Vallarta. Before that he helped run the Campus Services department for several years at the Rudolf Steiner College, a teacher training college located in Fair Oaks, California.
Yusuke Wada is 826 National's Salesforce Administrator. Yusuke has been in the nonprofit sector in Asia and the U.S. in the past 10 years and worked for low-income people through food banking and economic development. He earned his M.N.A. at University of San Francisco and is a certified Salesforce administrator.
Jonathan Hsieh is 826 National's Development and Impact Coordinator. Prior to joining 826 National, Jonathan was seeking “A-ha!” moments (personally and literarily) with students as a college counselor in Nanjing, China. A native Texan and graduate of Rice University, he lives to explore cities on two wheels, enjoy funky beats, and discover ways to make education more engaging and empowering.