For Immediate Release
Contact: Angela Cox, (907) 334-0509

Anchorage, Alaska –Seven Alaska nonprofit leaders from across the state have been awarded a 2018 Rasmuson Foundation Sabbatical. These CEOs, executive directors and tribal leaders will have three to six months to completely unplug from their demanding jobs to rest, reflect and rejuvenate.

Research has shown that a sabbatical can extend a nonprofit director’s tenure by an average of three years or more. We recognize the important work of our nonprofit leaders, and our goal is to ensure Alaskans continue to benefit from their experience, expertise, and wisdom. The award compensates the leaders for their time away, and offers their organizations support during the sabbaticals. This year’s recipients are:

Nikole Nelson, Alaska Legal Services Corporation (Anchorage), has worked in the legal services sector for more than 20 years. Nelson will travel to Europe and spend time with family.

Jack Hébert, Cold Climate Housing Research Center (Fairbanks), is the founder of the center and has been its CEO for 20 years. Hébert plans to visit family and spend time traveling and camping.

Philip Licht, Set Free Alaska, Inc. (Palmer), has worked in the nonprofit sector for more than fourteen years. Licht will take a road trip with family across the United States and Canada before heading to the Gold Coast of Australia.

Fawn Silas, Nondalton Tribal Council (Nondalton), has more than 14 years of experience with the Council. Silas will take several months to travel to Europe for the first time. Her sabbatical will also include visits to national parks and museums, camping, and reconnecting with friends and family.

Joyce Moropoulos, HeartReach Center, Inc. (Wasilla), has worked in the nonprofit sector for 35 years. Moropoulos plans to visit Hawaii and will attend a retreat in Oxford, England.

Roberta (Bobbi) Leichty, Southeast Region EMS Council (Sitka), has worked in the nonprofit sector for 17 years, including 15 years as executive director of her organization. Leichty will spend time traveling by RV from Alaska through the Lower 48 to visit national parks, museums, roadside attractions, and her family.

Melanie Bahnke, Kawerak, Inc. (Nome), has worked as a leader in the nonprofit sector for 22 years. Bahnke plans to spend time with her family at traditional hunting and fishing camps on the Seward Peninsula and St. Lawrence Island.

At their November 28 board meeting, Rasmuson Foundation Board of Directors approved funding for the Sabbatical Program through 2020. The next deadline to apply is October 1, 2018. Details about the Sabbatical Program, guidelines for preparing a proposal, and application materials are available at

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