Sabbatical Program

The Sabbatical Program provides tribal executives and nonprofit CEOs/executive directors with time away from the office for rest and personal renewal.

The application period for a 2024 grant is now closed. The next cycle will open in mid-2024.

The Foundation believes nonprofit CEOs/executive directors and tribal administrators are able to better serve their organizations when they have taken extended time away to refresh and reflect on their work, gain insight into what they want to accomplish in their careers, learn better ways to run their organizations, and renew their personal energy. According to a study supported in part by Rasmuson Foundation, sabbaticals can help executives return to their jobs with renewed enthusiasm and allow their organizations to nurture up-and-coming talent within their ranks.

Awarding personal renewal

This award is for the personal renewal of the applicant. Activities dedicated to personal renewal as defined by the recipient may include travel, personal enrichment, time for reflection or simply rest. Grant amounts increased to $50,000 in 2023, and awards will support sabbaticals of 90 to 180 continuous days. Sabbatical recipients are expected to fully step away from their organizations for the length of the sabbatical. The grants are awarded to the organization to cover salary and expenses of the nonprofit or tribal executive during the sabbatical. No distinction is made between large and small organizations.

Applications open mid-year for sabbaticals to be taken the following year.

All about Sabbatical Awards

  • The applicant must be an Alaska resident with at least seven years in the nonprofit sector or with a tribal organization and at least five years in their current position.
  • The organization must be an Alaska 501(c)(3) nonprofit, tribal entity or equivalent. Executives of arts organizations are eligible.
  • The applicant must be the CEO, executive director or tribal administrator of their organization.

  • The organization must agree to continue paying employee benefits to the recipient during the sabbatical.
  • The application must be supported by the applicant’s board of directors.
  • An interim leader must be identified by the organization in the plan for how the organization will be managed in the chief executive’s absence. Support before, during and after the sabbatical is available through the Foraker Group or the Alaska Tribal Administrators Association (ATAA) at no charge to the recipient organization.
  • The participant must commit to return to the organization for a minimum of one year after the sabbatical. The participant also must commit to pay back all expenses to the organization if they leave before the year is complete.
  • Within 30-60 days of completing the sabbatical, the participant must provide the Foundation with a written report on the benefits of the time away from work and any challenges faced. Photos and videos are encouraged.

A Rasmuson Foundation selection committee that includes staff, board members and past sabbatical awardees takes a number of factors into consideration but are interested primarily in two things: the benefit of a sabbatical to both the organization and the executive, and the quality of the plan to ensure the organization’s sustainability during the sabbatical.

There is no expectation that participants enroll in courses to advance their professional career. The sabbatical program is intended to provide participants an opportunity to engage in activities for personal renewal.

Rasmuson Foundation gives priority to organizations that can demonstrate 100% of the board has contributed financially to the organization in the last 12 months. Tribal organizations are excluded from that requirement.

Some organizations temporarily promote an interim leader from within. Other organizations distribute the chief executive’s responsibilities among existing staff. The Foundation provides technical support to ensure success. The Foraker Group or the Alaska Tribal Administrators Association can advise participating organizations on management during the leader’s absence. A sabbatical will not be awarded if the selection committee concludes upon assessment that the organization would be unable to sustain itself.

Nonprofit and tribal leaders are encouraged to apply for these awards. Applications open in early summer and close at the end of summer for sabbaticals to be taken the following year. During the open period, leaders can apply online below.

Individuals may nominate candidates for a Sabbatical Award by emailing The nominee still will need to apply.

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