Our Mission

Recycling used and unwanted crayons to preserve our environment and enrich the lives of hospitalized children through art and imagination.

Our Story

“I wonder… What happens to these crayons after we leave?”

While enjoying family dinner at a restaurant one evening, entrepreneur and father Bryan Ware posed this question to his wife, as their two boys happily colored at the table.

Sadly, the life of a restaurant crayon is a short one. Restaurants typically throw crayons out after only one use – and because crayons are not environmentally friendly, they turn into a waxy sludge that never biodegrades and clogs up landfills. More than a half-million pounds of crayons are discarded every year, which equates to roughly 60 million crayons!

The Crayon Initiative collects donated crayons from restaurants, schools and homes across the country, then melts them down and remanufactures them, reducing waste.

Since 2011, Bryan and the Ware family have proudly dedicated themselves to sorting countless crayons in their own backyard, cooking them down in their kitchen, and recycling them for future creative use.

Better yet, the recycled crayons are distributed to art programs at children’s hospitals across the U.S., brightening the lives of young patients during their stay. With the aid of thousands of volunteers, The Crayon Initiative has taken great strides to help keep the earth clean, while spreading joy to kids in need by providing them with an endless supply of free art materials.

That’s what we call thinking outside the Crayon Box.

Our Team

Bryan Ware

Founder and President

Bryan is the creator of WareWorks, a consulting firm specializing in packaging and product design as well as manufacturing processes. After years of helping major companies such as Google, Franzia, Uncle Ben’s, and Scott’s Miracle-Gro streamline their manufacturing and products for ultimate efficiency, Bryan has dedicated himself to combining his manufacturing skills and his love for the arts to help children in need.

Dwight Koda


Dwight is the Controller of the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation and an active Certified Public Accountant. He is also a Chartered Financial Analyst and Certified Management Accountant. Non-profit work is an ingrained family value for Dwight and he brings his passion of problem solving and creating opportunities.

Marissa Ware


Marissa is an elementary school teacher who has experienced, first-hand, budget cuts in the arts and the negative educational impact such decisions have on students. Inspired by the imagination she’s seen from young students, Marissa is confident that the arts can help any child create, without limits – and The Crayon Initiative can help.

Steve Sumner

Steve brings 20+ years of experience in strategic alliances and business development to The Crayon Initiative. Steve has built programs for large companies like the American Automobile Association and start-ups alike. His late brother, Bob, discovered his artistic talent and passion during elementary school. Steve is passionate about ensuring that other children have the same opportunity to love and excel in art that his brother had.

Kellye Carroll

Kellye is the Director of the Chase Child Life Program at Mattel Children’s Hospital UCLA, where she has the unique opportunity to witness the magic and healing that play brings to hospitalized kids and their families every day. Kellye has seen first-hand how a box of crayons transcends fear and illness and helps a kid be a kid in the most vulnerable time of his or her life.

Our Hospital Partners