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 is now open through Aug. 14.

The Foundation believes nonprofit CEOs/executive directors and tribal administrators are able to serve their organizations better 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 2016 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 applicant’s personal renewal. Activities dedicated to personal renewal, as defined by the recipient, may include travel, personal enrichment, time for reflection, or simply rest. Awards are not intended for professional development or academic study but rather to promote long-term leadership sustainability. Grants of $50,000 support sabbaticals of 90 to 120 continuous days. Sabbatical applicants are expected to step away from their organizations fully for the duration of the sabbatical. The grants are awarded to the organization to cover the salary and expenses of the nonprofit or tribal executive during the sabbatical. No distinction is made between large and small organizations or service types.

Applications are now open for sabbaticals to be taken in 2025.

All about Sabbatical Awards

  • The applicant must be an Alaskan resident with at least seven years of experience in the nonprofit sector or with a tribal organization and at least five years of experience in their current position.
  • The organization must be an Alaska 501(c)(3) nonprofit or tribal entity.  
  • The applicant must be the full-time CEO, executive director, or tribal administrator of their organization.
  • An individual who already received a Rasmuson Foundation sabbatical award is not eligible for another one.

  • The organization must agree to continue paying employee benefits to the applicant during the sabbatical.
  • The applicant’s board of directors must support the application.
  • The applicant will be relieved of all organizational obligations for the duration of the sabbatical.
  • The organization must identify an interim leader in the plan for managing the organization in the absence of the CEO or tribal administrator. Ongoing 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 applicant must commit to return to the organization for a minimum of one year after the sabbatical. The purpose of the sabbatical is to extend the longevity of the leader’s commitment to the organization and sector.
  • Within 90 days of completing the sabbatical, the applicant 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 panel that includes staff, board members, and past sabbatical awardees takes a number of factors into consideration but focuses primarily on 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.

Applicants are not expected to enroll in courses to advance their professional career. The sabbatical program is intended to allow applicants to engage in activities for personal renewal. In some cases, the Foraker Group or ATAA can help identify gaps and opportunities for organizational and individual professional development growth.

Rasmuson Foundation prioritizes organizations that can demonstrate that 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 executive’s responsibilities among existing staff. The Foundation provides technical support to ensure success. The Foraker Group or the Alaska Tribal Administrators Association will support participating organizations on management during the leader’s absence.

A sabbatical will not be awarded if the selection panel concludes upon assessment that the organization would be unable to sustain itself.

“Nonprofit and tribal leaders are encouraged to apply for these awards. Applications are open through Aug. 14 for sabbaticals to be taken in 2025. Leaders may apply online today.

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