Announcing the 2023-2024 Sabbatical Fellows

The Durfee Foundation announced today its 2023-2024 class of Sabbatical Fellows.

In an effort to replenish the stores of energy and inspiration for our community’s most treasured leaders, the Sabbatical program offers awardees’ organizations a total of $75,000 each. This includes $60,000 for awardees to travel, reflect or otherwise recharge in whatever manner they propose, for a minimum of three consecutive months; and $15,000 to advance the skills and well-being of the organization’s staff, and also to reward those who carry extra responsibility during the sabbatical.

“We’re excited to announce another stellar cohort of Sabbatical fellows,” said Durfee President Carrie Avery and Executive Director Claire Peeps. “These accomplished and highly esteemed leaders are on the frontlines of keeping LA’s communities afloat. These awards represent an investment in the extraordinary individuals who are the backbone of our sector.”

“Sabbaticals can create a permanent shift in the culture of work-life balance for both the leader and the organization’s staff,” said Director of Programs and Operations Stella Chung. “It is essential that, as funders, we support their stability and sustainability.”

There are 7 fellows in the 2023-2024 cohort. They are:

Charisse Bremond Weaver is the President and CEO of Brotherhood Crusade, a nonprofit, social justice organization dedicated to improving the quality of life and the unmet needs of low-income, underserved, and under-represented individuals. Brotherhood Crusade has provided human and social services to more than 50,000 South Los Angeles residents annually since its founding over 55 years ago.



Cynthia Strathmann is the Executive Director of SAJE (Strategic Actions for a Just Economy), a nonprofit that builds community leadership and power by fighting for tenant rights, healthy housing, and equitable development. SAJE seeks to build a movement for change that addresses the root causes of structural oppression and the creation of a more just economy for all.



Heather Carrigan is the Chief Executive Officer of Allies for Every Child, a nonprofit organization driven by the belief that every child should have the childhood they need and deserve to live their full potential. Allies is dedicated to preventing and repairing the impact of childhood trauma through comprehensive, family strengthening interventions, dual-generation mental health services, high-quality early childhood education, and foster care and adoption.



Iliana Tavera is the Chief Executive Officer of Haven Hills, which lifts up survivors of domestic violence to transform their lives. Haven Hills offers shelter, crisis intervention, counseling, advocacy, and activities supporting increased economic opportunity for over 2,500 women and men each year.



Joe Lyou is the President and CEO of the Coalition for Clean Air, whose mission is to protect public health, improve air quality, and prevent climate change. Coalition for Clean Air works collaboratively with advocates, organizations, companies, legislators, and more across the state to find cooperative solutions to California’s most pressing air quality issues.



Maryjane Puffer is the Executive Director of The Los Angeles Trust for Children’s Health. The L.A. Trust serves as Los Angeles Unified’s backbone health entity, bridging the gap between schools, community clinics, mental health providers, advocacy groups, and program partners to tackle collaboratively the urgent issues affecting the lives of young people.



Rick Nahmias is the Founder and CEO of Food Forward, a nonprofit organization that prevents fresh food loss, and in doing so supplies surplus fruits and vegetables to hundreds of agencies which feed people experiencing food insecurity. Food Forward works across eight California counties, including Los Angeles and Ventura, along with six adjacent states and tribal lands, providing enough fresh produce to meet the nutritional needs of over 250,000 people every day.


The Durfee Foundation’s focus is on extraordinary people who are making a better Los Angeles. The Foundation has funded more than 100 sabbaticals to leaders in Los Angeles since 1997.

Additional information about the program is available at Contact Stella Chung,, 310-899-5120.