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Park bench in Alamosa, Colorado.

Nonprofit Sabbatical Program

The Nonprofit Sabbatical Program is currently closed. In the meantime, we encourage interested applicants to review the program criteria outlined below. For questions about the program or application process, please contact Carolyn Love, Kebaya Consulting, by email or by phone at 303-438-0953.

Successfully leading a nonprofit in today’s world takes endless dedication and time. Yet, nonprofit leaders are often so committed to their missions that spending time away to re-energize can be an afterthought. This Nonprofit Sabbatical Program aims to recognize and reward long-term and respected nonprofit leaders in Colorado and strengthen the organizations they lead by offering funds for interim leadership and staff capacity building. The Program offers nonprofit executives the opportunity to step away from professional responsibilities and take time for themselves for rejuvenation. Ideally, the executive returns to their professional life with new ideas and a fresh sense of commitment to their work, the nonprofit sector as well as the health and health equity of all Coloradans.

Three sabbaticals will be awarded annually. Each sabbatical must be taken within 18 months of the receipt of the award. 

The Foundation has engaged a technical assistance (TA) team who provides support to both interested applicants and awarded recipients. We recommend that the nonprofit organization and its executive seek professional tax advice separately prior to applying for this grant. For questions about the Program or application process, please contact Carolyn Love, Kebaya Consulting, by email or by phone at 303-438-0953.

Key Program Features:

The sabbatical award is made in the form of a grant – up to $95,000 – for charitable support to a Colorado-based nonprofit organization and includes:

  1. Grantee executive to take three-to-four month hiatus for activities of their choice to reflect, rest and rejuvenate:
    • Up to $20,000 for sabbatical activities (e.g., professional development; travel; personal activities)
    • Between $25,000-$50,000 subsidy for salary and benefits (dependent on current salary)
  2. Grantee interim leadership needs(individual or a team):
    • Up to $10,000 dependent on the applicant’s interim plan and mutual agreement
  3. Grantee staff capacity building needs:
    • Up to $15,000 to be used during the sabbatical period or up to two years after receipt of the award
    • Organizations will need to demonstrate how staff have been involved in determining use of these funds to ensure that they are used for employee-directed needs

In addition to providing funding for the above sabbatical activities, the Program also includes a one-month executive-in-residence at the Foundation that creates the opportunity for a co-learning experience among the sabbatical recipient, Foundation executives and staff.

Eligibility Criteria:

Applicants must meet the following eligibility criteria:

  • Be a Colorado-based executive director, CEO or tribal administrator of a nonprofit organization working to bring health and health equity in reach for Coloradans
  • Be an outstanding and respected leader with a demonstrated record of community contribution
  • Have served at least five years in current executive role (recommended, but not required)
  • Have at least seven years’ experience in an executive leadership role within the nonprofit sector
  • Be a full-time employee and resident of Colorado
  • Demonstrate commitment to remaining in current position at current organization for at least three years upon return from sabbatical
  • Have organization’s board approval
  • Present a sustainable interim leadership and operations plan for the applicant’s organization
  • Have at least three full-time employees on staff at the organization
  • Be willing to serve a one-month executive-in-residence placement at The Colorado Health Foundation
  • Be willing to participate in program alumni activities

Organization must meet the following eligibility criteria:

  • Be located in Colorado and provide services and/or programs that bring health and health equity in reach for Coloradans
  • Operate as a public charity, and not a private foundation, under Internal Revenue Code 501(c)(3)
  • Guarantee maintenance and sustainability of regular operations during the applicant’s absence
  • Demonstrate need for organizational financial assistance during an applicant’s absence, meaning that the organization may not be able to fund a sabbatical experience for a full-time staff member without a grant of this nature.
  • Demonstrate need for and commitment to supporting organizational, employee-driven capacity building that will strengthen the organization’s ability to meet its mission
  • Guarantee regular health and other benefits to awardee during their absence

Program Expectations

Once awarded, sabbatical participants must comply with the following program expectations:

  • Three-to-four months consecutive, uninterrupted leave. This timeframe includes a one-month executive-in-residence at the Foundation, which is headquartered in Denver. Details of the executive-in-residence will be determined by grantees and the Foundation.
  • No return visits for meetings or events during sabbatical and executive-in-residence.
  • No work- or volunteer-related phone or email engagement during the sabbatical or executive-in-residence.
  • No work-related activities (outside of any professional development you wish to engage in during the sabbatical)
  • Sabbatical must be taken within 18 months of receipt
  • Disengage from professional activities (e.g., volunteer boards, committees)

Awarded recipients are expected to engage in key program activities, including the following:

  • Pre-Sabbatical Orientation: The Foundation will host an orientation meeting with the executive taking sabbatical. Interim leadership and/or board members may attend if interested. We will host the meeting in Denver or offsite depending on where recipients reside. It’s possible this meeting may need to take place virtually. 
  • Executive-in-Residence: The Foundation will work exclusively with the grantee post-award to determine an approach for this month-long period that is an opportunity for co-learning and is mutually beneficial to both the recipient and the Foundation. It is expected that the grantee will reside in Denver during this time period. Housing, food and transit expenses are covered by the Foundation for those who need to relocate (whether the grantees lives in or outside of the Denver metro area) for the executive-in-residence.
  • Post-Sabbatical: After six weeks, the Foundation requires a short, informal report and debrief meeting about the grantee’s experience during sabbatical.

TA Support:

The Program includes a TA provider to support both interested applicants and awarded recipients through their experience with this Program. The TA provider will:

  • Consult applicants and their organizations to develop a strong application
  • Consult and support orientation for sabbatical recipients
  • Consult and support exit and re-entry for sabbatical recipients
  • Consult and support interim leadership during sabbatical period

The Nonprofit Sabbatical Program is currently closed. For questions, contact Carolyn Love by email or by phone at 303-438-0953.

2020 Nonprofit Sabbatical Program Recipients 

Read our announcement to learn more about the 2020 awardees.