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Sabbatical Award

Grants to California Nonprofit Leaders for Personal
and Professional Development Opportunities

Agency Type:

Foundation / Corporation

Funding Source:

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The Durfee Foundation

Deadline Date:



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Grants of $55,000 to California nonprofit organization leaders in eligible regions for an opportunity to engage in personal and professional development. The purpose of the program is to provide senior nonprofit leaders with a leave-of-absence. Funding is intended to recognize and reward the accomplishments of local nonprofit leaders, as well as to advance their skills and capacity to lead. Awardees also meet twice a year to engage in cross-disciplinary dialogue. Awardees must live and work full-time in Los Angeles County.

The Durfee Sabbatical program funds up to six organizations for their leaders to travel, reflect or otherwise renew themselves in whatever manner they propose, for a minimum of three consecutive months. The Sabbatical is designed for the most senior leader of the organization, who reports directly to the board, and carries the ultimate responsibility for managing resources and implementing programs.

Sabbatical Goals:

  • To recognize and reward accomplished nonprofit leaders with an extended break from their work for personal rejuvenation
  • To advance the skills and capacity of staff at sabbatical organizations so that they can assume increased leadership
  • To encourage shared leadership across the staff
  • To advocate for the efficacy of professional development programs at nonprofit organizations, thereby generating widespread appreciation for the critical value of human resources to the sector
  • To foster cross-disciplinary dialogue among nonprofit leaders in Los Angeles
Evaluation Criteria:
  • Role and tenure
  • Leadership beyond the organization
  • Organizational readiness
  • Timing
  • Candidate readiness
  • Financial need
  • Professional development

The program is not designed for executive transition, but to invest in leaders who are committed to staying in their position for at least the next three years.

Organizations with a plan to establish a permanent, revolving Professional Development Fund and Leave Policy for the organization's staff are eligible for up to $5,000 of additional support.

GrantWatch ID#:

GrantWatch ID#: 154951

Estimated Total Program Funding:


Number of Grants:

Up to six awardees

Estimated Size of Grant:

The Durfee Foundation provides a grant of $50,000 for the purpose of supporting a three-month Sabbatical for nonprofit leaders. The Foundation also provides $5,000 to be distributed by the organization as stipends to the interim staff, as well as $5,000 to establish a Professional Development Fund at the agency, if requested and approved.

Term of Contract:

Sabbaticals must be taken for a minimum of three consecutive months.

Additional Eligibility Criteria:

Individual candidates for this program should:
- Be outstanding leaders who have a demonstrated track record of contribution to the community
- Hold the title of CEO, Executive Director, or equivalent full-time position who reports directly to the board at a high performing nonprofit organization
- Have worked a minimum of seven consecutive years in a leadership role in the nonprofit sector (though not necessarily for one organization) without significant leave
- Be eager to participate in a peer network of program alumni
- Be valued by their peers
- Have financial need
- Be full-time, paid employees working in Los Angeles County
- Live full-time in Los Angeles County

The candidate’s employing organization should:
- Be a nonprofit organization
- Be located in and focused on Los Angeles County
- Be recognized by the community for its programs
- Have at least five full-time paid staff
- Look to the applicant’s sabbatical as an opportunity to develop the next level of leadership within the organization
- Offer its endorsement of the request for leave
- Need financial assistance to underwrite the candidate’s leave
- Be able to sustain regular operations during the candidate’s absence

Leaders of small to mid-size nonprofits are eligible for the program, as long as there is strong secondary leadership and at least five full-time staff. All applicants must demonstrate that the work of the organization can carry on as usual while they are away.

Applicants from large nonprofits are eligible. However, the program requires that nonprofits receiving the Sabbatical award must demonstrate financial need to underwrite the candidate’s leave. Organizations with very large budgets, especially those with significant endowments, may not be qualified.

Employees of educational institutions and government agencies are not eligible for this program.

Pre-Application Information:

January 13, 2021: Application Deadline
March 15-26, 2021: Site Visits
March 31 – April 1, 2021: Finalist Interviews
April 15, 2021: Mandatory Orientation
Sabbatical Start By December 31, 2022

Review Criteria:

Sabbatical Goals Detailed:

Tips from Former Awardees:

Contact Information:

Before starting your grant application, please review the funding source's website listed below for updates/changes/addendums/conferences/LOIs.

Online Application Portal:

The Durfee Foundation
700 South Flower Street, Suite 560
Los Angeles, CA 90017
(310) 899-5120

URL for Full Text (RFP):

Geographic Focus:

USA: California: Los Angeles County

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