916 Ink

Reviewed by the Sacramento Region Community Foundation

$56,048 raised by 204 donors

100% complete

$50,000 Goal

Since 2011, 916 Ink has led the effort to empower children and youth in Sacramento through a unique creative writing program that increases literacy rates, self-confidence, academic engagement, empathy, and communication skills. Participants in our workshops learn to love the written word and are transformed into published authors in the process.

In early 2021, we reached a milestone of 200 books published, serving nearly 4,500 students in the Sacramento region.

2020 brought numerous challenges, as it did for us all, but we successfully transformed our programs for a virtual environment, helping to improve literacy and social-emotional skills for hundreds of youths across the region. Data shows that a 916 Ink workshop increases self-confidence, heals trauma, and teaches empathy, listening, and literacy skills. Our safe environment provides youth a place for expression and teaches them to "take the yes," a motto created to help youth silence their inner critics.

916 Ink's curriculum asks students to reflect upon their own "hero's journey," which is a mode of storytelling meant to explore how one individual can play different roles in life. By encouraging students to write about their own journey, students begin to see the different facets of their identity and can create a story that positions them as the hero of their own lives.

916 Ink wants to create readers by fostering a love of language, oral and written. By its nature, writing is a curious act that involves human connection and empathy. Instilling 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 stories. We don't just make students better readers and writers. We make them more open and honest communicators. To further expand on our mission, in 2020 we added a reading tutoring pilot program, with Read On! Early results are proving positive, and we have decided to continue and expand this program.


916 Ink is Sacramento’s arts-based creative writing and literacy nonprofit that provides workshops and tutoring to transform Sacramento youth into strong readers, confident communicators, and published authors. Our programs increase literacy skills, improve vocabulary, teach empathy, positively impact social and emotional learning, and expand communication skills. We envision a Sacramento region where every child and teen is given access to a culturally relevant creative writing program that leads them to believe in themselves and to understand the power of the written word.


Read On! Summer Program:

We launched Read On! in fall 2020 in response to a gap in reading tutoring in Sacramento and high community need. Read On! is showing success at reducing the literacy gap for participants. However, looking ahead to the summer months, we know that students are challenged to keep their learning trajectory steady. With additional funding, we would like to expand our year-round program to offer supplementary summer tutoring for the highest-need students in Sacramento.

Author's Lab:

Author's Lab is an after-school creative writing workshop geared towards youth in grades 6-12 that want to refine their creative writing skills. We would like to enrich the program for youth by offering additional books and materials, bringing in guest artists for special topics, and taking youth on relevant field trips. Giving these youth as many opportunities as possible will help them gain valuable skills as writers and build their confidence.

General Program Gap Funding:

Funding of programs where part of the funding has been found through grants and other sources, but 100% of the program cost has not yet been funded.

Equity Statement

916 Ink recognizes that communities of color in Sacramento have been left behind by decades of systemic racism and oppression. Of particular concern to our organization are the academic achievement and literacy gaps. Fewer than half of Sacramento County third graders read at grade level, and these rates are significantly lower for students of color. To advance our mission of empowering youth through creative writing, we know we must specifically address injustice and racial inequity.

In 2020, 916 Ink's staff collaborated to redefine our organizational values, resulting in a commitment to equity, empowerment, and empathy. Our focus on equity has led us to prioritize accommodations for participants and staff who may need them, and we developed structures for community feedback and culturally appropriate outreach. Utilizing these values as a framework ensures that accessibility and inclusion are better integrated into our daily work and our legacy.

Our workshops operate as a writing community with two trained facilitators participating fully in each session. This approach removes many barriers between instructor and student, allowing for freer and more honest self-expression. We are intentional about facilitator and volunteer placements, taking care to select individuals who come from the communities we serve. Additionally, students are encouraged to write in their own authentic voice, whether that is writing entirely in a language other than English, using cultural terms or slang, or incorporating their preferred dialect of English. Our emphasis that each student “write what needs to be written" means that the student makes all decisions about what pieces they choose to work further on and what gets published. Through these tactics, we affirm our commitment to lifting up the voices of youth of color and supporting our schools and communities in shifting the landscape of inequity.

Organization Data


Organization name

916 Ink

Year Established


Tax id (EIN)


Mission Category


Operating Budget

$1,000,001-$5 million

Organization Need

Funding: Program, Funding: Unrestricted

Demographics Served

Youth & Children, Low-income individuals/families, LGBTQIA+

Local Counties Served

Placer, Sacramento, Yolo

Equity Statement

Equity Statement


3301 37th Ave. Room 14
Sacramento, CA 95824

Service areas

Sacramento, CA, US

Rancho Cordova, CA, US

Elk Grove, CA, US

Stockton, CA, US



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