For Immediate Release
Contact: Cassandra Stalzer, 907-334-0520

Anchorage – Three Alaska nonprofit leaders have been selected for the 2012 Rasmuson Foundation Sabbatical Program. They are:

Nancy Haag, Standing Together Against Rape
Jill Hodges, Alaska Brain Injury Network
Susan Musante, Soteria-Alaska and CHOICES

The Rasmuson Foundation Sabbatical Program supports nonprofit leaders in time away from the job. The program’s goal is to retain top-quality leaders in the sector by providing three- to six-month opportunities for rest, reflection and rejuvenation.

Healthy nonprofit leaders are crucial to Alaska, yet many lead organizations that deal with crisis daily. And most nonprofit leaders work in environments where the need is great but human and financial resources are thin. The stress and long hours can strain professionals.

“These leaders frequently experience emotional and physical effects from their jobs,” said Sammye Pokryfki, senior program officer of Rasmuson Foundation.

“The Sabbatical program offers nonprofit leaders an opportunity to step back to gain new perspectives and renew themselves. Leaders emerge from their sabbaticals refreshed and recharged – and we as Alaskans benefit as a result,” Pokryfki said.

Sabbaticals are beneficial to organizations because they reduce the burnout rate of nonprofit leaders. On average, a sabbatical extends a nonprofit director’s tenure by three years. The benefits of planned leadership sabbaticals were the subject of a 2010 study which can be found here.

Nancy Haag is executive director of Standing Together Against Rape, a 24-hour rape crisis and response program. She wrote that her sabbatical will allow the opportunity to “seek renewal and ultimately recapture the energy that initially ignited my desire to work in the human service field.” While on sabbatical, she will travel for rejuvenation through experiencing new people, lands and animals, and by the “simple process of being.”

Jill Hodges has been executive director of Alaska Brain Injury Network (ABIN) for nearly six years, and began as ABIN’s only staff member. Her sabbatical will allow ABIN’s board and other staff to grow and learn, as her organizational duties are documented in preparation for her absence. Hodges will use her sabbatical to get outdoors and experience other cultures with travels in Alaska and internationally.

Susan Musante manages two nonprofits, Soteria-Alaska and CHOICES, providing services to individuals diagnosed with serious mental illness. She became Soteria executive director when funding had only been secured for six months of operations. Five-years later Soteria has expanded with a fivefold increase in funding. Musante will use her sabbatical to visit family and friends, and to travel.

The next postmark deadline to apply for a Rasmuson Foundation Sabbatical is October 1, 2012. Details about the Sabbatical Program, guidelines for preparing a proposal and application materials are available online here. For more information please call (907) 297-2700 or toll-free within Alaska 1-877-366-2700.

About the Foundation
The Rasmuson Foundation was created in May 1955 by Jenny Rasmuson to honor her late husband E.A. Rasmuson. Through grantmaking and initiatives, the Foundation is a catalyst to promote a better life for all Alaskans.