916 Ink is Sacramento’s arts-based creative writing nonprofit that provides workshops for Sacramento area youth, grades k-12, in order to transform them into confident writers and published authors. Our workshops increase literacy skills, improve vocabulary, teach empathy, positively impact social and emotional learning, and expand communication skills.


916 Ink wants to create readers by fostering a love of language, oral, and/or written. By its nature, writing is a curious act that involves human connection and empathy. Installing a curiosity in the power of stories in a young person can lead them to take charge of their life and change their narrative by becoming the heroes in their own story. We don’t just make students better readers and writers. We make them more open and honest communicators.

Since 2010, we have transformed over 3000 young people in the greater Sacramento region into published authors. 916 ink has published over 100 professional anthologies of student work. We also seek to serve at-risk or vulnerable youth including those in foster care, those who are experiencing homelessness, or those who are engaged in the juvenile justice system..


916 Ink opened the doors to its whimsical creative writing center, The Imaginarium, in 2015.  This unique space allows all who enter a world of imagination, storytelling, and a love for the written word.  On any given day, 916 Ink’s dedicated staff can be found facilitating transformative workshops in the Imaginarium, in the classroom, or in conjunction with community partners throughout Sacramento.

By transforming youth into published authors, we create lifelong readers, articulate communicators, and self-confident youth writers who know the power of their own story.

Impact & Accolades

Published over 3,000 youth writers in over 100 professional books

Received over 8,000 hours of in-kind time by our team of amazing volunteers

Awarded the Inspire Giving Grant from the Sacramento Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce in 2015

Won the "Arts Make it Happen" Endowment from the Sacramento Region Community Foundation

Opened the whimsical 916 Ink Imaginarium in the closed down Maple Elementary School

Won the People's Choice Award and Coaches Award at Social Venture Partners Fast Pitch Program

Co-founded the Walk 4 Literacy Coalition

 Ian Hadley     Executive Director

Ian Hadley  

Executive Director

Ian Hadley is the Executive Director at 916 Ink.  He is ready and eager to pick up the pen and write the next amazing chapter in the 916 Ink story.  He has spent his entire professional career developing effective programs for underserved children and families, including programs that develop Kindergarten Readiness, Youth Life-Skills Development, and Strong and Healthy Family Dynamics.  In 10 years at the Child Abuse Prevention Center, he has brought many innovative projects to scale with diverse partnerships including the First 5 Association, The Corporation for National and Community Service and dozens of community based non-profits throughout California.  His projects have been recognized at the local, state and national level for being effective, efficient and impactful!

Ian has been inspired by 916 Ink for number of years before joining the team!  He has also experienced the power of creative writing and self-expression first hand.  Growing up in difficult circumstances and facing a number of early challenges, it was the power of ideas and his connection to the written word which ultimately changed the trajectory of his life.   He believes strongly that 916 Ink can continue to have the same positive effect on youth throughout the Sacramento area!

 Justin Self   Director of Advancement

Justin Self

Director of Advancement

Justin Self is 916 Ink’s Director of Advancement. His primary focus is in working with the wonderful people and organizations who, through their donations, make it possible for us to grow our mission and our impact. After spending the first five years of his career in the private sector, Justin decided that he was ready to put the skills he had developed into effect in the nonprofit world. An invitation to a book release party from a friend of a friend gave Justin a chance to see firsthand the incredible impact 916 Ink programs have on youth, and from there he was hooked.

Justin believes that when kids become engaged in writing they become more engaged in the world around them, and are better prepared for success later in life. He finds being a part of an organization that helps make this possible for so many children, many of whom have had few other ways to express themselves, is both humbling and fulfilling. After relocating to Sacramento from the Bay Area in 2017, Justin is excited to become a part of the local community.  

 NiKki Cardoza   Director of Programming

NiKki Cardoza

Director of Programming

Nikki Cardoza serves 916 Ink as the Director of Programming.  Before coming to 916 Ink, Nikki was active in the Sacramento writing community and as a volunteer for 916 Ink. She also worked full-time as an associate education lobbyist in state government representing community colleges, school districts and employee unions. 

Nikki’s experience working with non-profit organizations began in 2003 when she started serving as a long-term volunteer for a faith-based aid organization in China. During this time she also served as an editor and publication designer for China Compass Publishing. After a short sabbatical to focus on her education, Nikki returned to the work-force as a Volunteer Coordinator for International China Concern.

In 2015 she completed her undergraduate education at the University of California, Sacramento where she graduated with a degree in Government.

She continues to write for fun herself and is happily revisiting the best moments of her own childhood, reading all her old favorite stories to her daughter Annie.

 Paulette Greenhouse   Programming and production Coordinator

Paulette Greenhouse

Programming and production Coordinator

Paulette Greenhouse has always been a writer, even since an early age. At six, she was crying over the idea of never being able to read, but by eight she was referring to her trusted World Atlas to create numerous country reports on staple-bound scrap paper with detailed Crayola drawings of the geography and appropriate flag. This research experience became useful when Paulette discovered her love for reporting, which pushed her to become an Editor of her high school’s newspaper, and eventually an Associate Editor and Art Director of Xpress Magazine at San Francisco State University, where she graduated in 2011 with her Bachelor of Arts in Journalism.

Paulette then continued her studies and received a Multimedia Certificate through SFSU’s College of Extended Learning. She was introduced to 916 Ink when suffering a major creative block and wanted to find inspiration. Volunteering as an Inspirator helped push her to achieve goals that she had previously been unaware of. She now serves as the Programming & Production Coordinator to 916 Ink, happy to be contributing to her community and helping youth realize their own imagination and potential.

 henry Stroud   Volunteer and Outreach Coordinator

henry Stroud

Volunteer and Outreach Coordinator

Born and raised in Sacramento, Henry Stroud is thrilled to be back in his hometown helping spread literacy and empowerment to local youth.

After graduating from the University of Southern California with a double major in Narrative Studies and Public Relations, Henry spent two years in Los Angeles trying his hand at Stand-Up and Improv comedy. He quickly realized that though cynically mocking the state of the world may feel cathartic in the short-term, it didn’t offer much long-term gratification. Moreover, he wasn’t that funny.

Hoping to spread his love of reading and writing and to do a little good, he began volunteering at 826 Echo Park. He was instantly hooked by the obvious empowerment his students would feel upon discovering their voice. When he saw an open position as Volunteer and Outreach Coordinator at 916 Ink, he jumped at the opportunity to turn his passion into his career.

As Volunteer and Outreach Coordinator, Henry is responsible for recruiting, training and placing 916 Ink volunteers, as well as spreading Ink’s mission and vision to the local community. He is always hoping to grow the Ink Family, and is happy to chat with anyone who would like to know more about the many ways they can help 916 Ink grow.

 Quinn Tannehill     Administrative and Technologies Coordinator

Quinn Tannehill  

Administrative and Technologies Coordinator

Quinn Tannehill is the Administrative and Technologies Coordinator for 916 Ink. Quinn started out as a volunteer, Button Pushing for a couple of programs here and there and was immediately hooked. Laughing and writing with the kids brought him closer to 916 Ink's mission, and gave him the drive to climb the ranks of 916 Ink. After receiving his Wordslinger certification, he ran a class at Encina Preparatory High School alongside former Director of Programming, Brett Stults, and was credited in the book, Trail Mix of Stories.  His contributions to the 916 Ink team will impact youth for years to come.

Quinn’s attitude inside the office and out perfectly reflects the spirit of 916 Ink’s mission. If you ever decide to drop by, Quinn will be waiting with a smile and a solution!

 Daniel Kaufman  Board President

Daniel Kaufman

Board President

Daniel Kaufman is co-founder & Principal of Third Plateau, a strategy firm that partners with many of the world’s most passionate and daring change-makers to reimagine, expand, and realize their social impact. He has worked with a diverse array of clients, including large, national foundations, emerging social enterprises, pioneering nonprofit collaboratives, and impact-driven corporations. In 2006, Daniel co-founded the Giving Circles Fund (formerly the One Percent Foundation), an organization building a broad-based movement of next generation philanthropists (ages 18-39) by making giving accessible, engaging, and meaningful.  Daniel is a graduate of Stanford University and the UCLA School of Law.  He lives in Sacramento with his wife, Talia, and two children, Mia and Eli.

 Stacey Powell  Board Treasurer

Stacey Powell

Board Treasurer

Stacey Powell is the founder and CEO of Finance Gym, a social venture where you and your money get stronger. A lifelong entrepreneur, she is also the founder of Creating Answers, a chief financial officer firm that provides both excellent financials and excellent financial coaching to not for profits and small businesses. In 2013 she left Creating Answers to devote her time fully to writing her first book, speaking, and building Finance Gym. Stacey’s sole (and soul) purpose is to change the way people interact with their money so that they can lead financially healthy lives and have fun doing it. Some of her favorite life moments are reading with her daughter, being published on Forbes.com, playing Euro-strategy games and digging in her garden.

 Rebecca Huval  Dreamer

Rebecca Huval


Rebecca Huval is a journalist and copywriter in Sacramento. Her byline has appeared in publications such as the Awl, GOOD and Sactown Magazine, and she dreams up fresh copy for companies such as PUBLIC Bikes, Zendesk and Indiegogo. In former lives, she had been the managing editor of Communication Arts magazine, an AmeriCorps member with Reading Partners, and a volunteer with 826 Valencia in San Francisco.

 Marcus Strother  Dreamer

Marcus Strother


Marcus L. Strother is a father, husband, educator and a youth and community advocate. Marcus is a 19 year veteran in the education field spending 17 years in Illinois and has since relocated to California. Marcus spent 8 years as a classroom teacher. During that time of teaching young people, he taught Language Arts, Life, Social Skills and Advocacy. Marcus also spent 9 years as a high school administrator with a focus on teacher evaluation, PBIS, school culture, and discipline. Marcus is currently the Coordinator of Youth Development at Sacramento City Unified School District. In this role, Marcus oversees Expanded Learning, Summer Programming, and Boys and Girls of Color work. 11 years ago, Marcus and his wife started a non-profit around youth development called Leaders Empowered to Achieve Anything Possible (LEAAP). His non-profit has been nationally recognized and researched (University of Illinois, 2014) as a program that should be used in schools and communities throughout the country. Through this non-profit, Marcus and his wife bring students to the Dominican Republic where they have built schools, water filtration systems and do concrete work for homes in the 3 villages they have adopted. They also have a male and female mentoring program which has served hundreds of young people over the years. Together, they work to heal and build healthy communities and schools!

 Rekha Tejpal  Board Secretary

Rekha Tejpal

Board Secretary

Rekha Tejpal works as an Administrative Services Coordinator III at Kaiser Permanente South Sacramento Medical Center.  For the past 5 years she has been developing training modules, providing education on infection control and workplace safety for staff, and working with Management to improve operational efficiency in Environmental Services.  Prior to her work with Kaiser, Rekha served as a science teacher, where she worked with students from grade 7 through grade 12.  In her leisure time, Rekha is a writer and believes that stories have the ability to transform both reader and author in unimaginable ways.  A native of South Sacramento, Rekha is firm in her belief that it is the stories that connect the people in this community, and that the telling of those stories for Sacramento youth will be important in the future development of the region.

 Rebecca Rodriguez  Dreamer

Rebecca Rodriguez


Rebecca Rodriguez’s passion is helping people, and being committed to assisting those whenever possible and where has the highest need. Rebecca grew up in South Sacramento, and, in fact, her old third grade classroom now serves as the headquarters of 916 Ink. Rebecca loves her job at SMUD as a SEED Program Advocate, which is a program that helps small businesses participate in the competitive bid process. Her favorite hobby is to read, and she’s always had a profound love of words. Her three boys keep her active and busy with football and soccer. Rebecca is actively engaged in community events and volunteers the majority of her time in SMUD events that help the community, while also helping many youth sports organizations.

 Chris Worden  Dreamer

Chris Worden


Chris Worden’s career is a mix of political, legal, public sector, and non-profit service, including work as vice president of public policy for the Sacramento Metropolitan Chamber, senior policy manager for the Downtown Sacramento Partnership, and district director for a member of Congress. Chris has managed two successful statewide political campaigns, served as a deputy attorney general and run his own law practice, worked as a volunteer radio and TV political commentator, and assisted many non-profit organizations combating domestic violence. Chris’s focal point now is 916Ink because he is a writing enthusiast who lives in Roseville, CA with his partner, Erica, and their little man, Aedan (age 9), and one of his greatest sources of contentment is writing a killer verse over a hip hop beat. 

 Chris Baltzley  Dreamer

Chris Baltzley


Chris J. Baltzley, a founding board member of 916 Ink, is a Specialist in Organizational and Leadership Development with Continuity Consulting, where he works with public, private and nonprofit sector clients to achieve both business results and promote human flourishing. He has a M.A. in Intercultural Studies, with additional training in a variety of fields, including Experiential Cultural Learning and Leadership (EXCELL) and successful language and culture acquisition. He has worked in a variety of industries, including banking, insurance, and higher education, as well as serving in leadership with NGOs and non-profit organizations in Central Asia and New Zealand. He and is wife Tara have two daughters, named Asia and Maia, and one recycled Terrier, named Milo


 Katie McCleary  Founding Executive Director

Katie McCleary

Founding Executive Director

Katie McCleary, is the founding Executive Director of 916 Ink. Prior to the opening of 916 Ink, Katie served as the Director of Mentoring Services for at-risk youth in the Grant Joint Union High School District and Grant Community Charter Schools. In 2007, Katie earned her MFA in writing and consciousness, completing her first literary novel, Blinded, which is currently being shopped by her agent. For three years, McCleary taught composition at American River College and Sacramento City College, helping underserved students. It was there, that she discovered "the secret sauce" to unlocking youth voice and thus, 916 Ink was born. Katie finds that 916 Ink is the perfect marriage of empowering youth and engaging them  in the literary arts.

Katie's dedication and vision brought the 916 Ink model from original concept to execution. Shepherding the project from its very first workshop to the notable Sacramento institution that it is today!

 Michael Spurgeon  Founding Dreamer

Michael Spurgeon

Founding Dreamer

Michael Spurgeon is a tenured professor of English at American River College, where he teaches composition, literature, and creative writing and serves as the Editorial Advisor to the American River Review. He has authored two chapbooks and four short stage plays, and his writing has appeared in multiple regional and national journals. Michael’s first novel, Let The Water Hold Me Down, was published in 2013 by Ad Lumens. He is a member of the Board of Directors of the Albert and Elaine Borchard Foundation. Michael was instrumental in helping to launch 916 Ink as an organization. Though he is not currently on the Board of Dreamers, he remains an incredible advocate for the organization, www.michaelspurgeon.com


Interested in Joining the Board of 916 Ink?

We're always on the lookout for potential board members who have a passion and drive for our vision. Joining our Board of Dreamers brings you a unique opportunity to shape 916 Ink's literacy revolution. As a board member, you'll make an annual contribution, attend ten board meetings, volunteer at book release parties and other events, fundraise, provide strategic direction, and build a strong organization for future generations.  Inquiries can be directed to justin@916ink.org.