"Before applying, I didn't think I needed time away from work. However, the sabbatical helped me understand that while my work at SJC is central to my purpose, I need to find and maintain a sense of balance so that I can keep doing the work I love." - Va Lecia Adams Kellum, St. Joseph Center

Since its founding in 1997, the Durfee Sabbatical program has awarded more than 100 sabbaticals to outstanding nonprofit leaders in Los Angeles.

Many leaders in the Los Angeles nonprofit sector work under conditions of unrelenting stress, potentially leading to burnout. The enormous demands of their jobs, combined with financial pressure, can prevent them from taking time off for much needed rejuvenation and reflection.

In an effort to replenish the stores of energy and inspiration for our community’s most treasured leaders, the Durfee Sabbatical program offers up to six organizations a total of $60,000 each.* Sabbatical awardees also meet twice a year to engage in cross-disciplinary dialogue.

* $50,000 for the awardees to travel, reflect or otherwise renew in whatever manner they propose, for a minimum of three consecutive months; $10,000 to support interim leaders and staff.


  • To recognize and reward accomplished nonprofit leaders with an extended break from their work for personal rejuvenation
  • To advance the skills and capacity of staff at sabbatical organizations so that they can assume increased leadership
  • To encourage shared leadership across the staff
  • To advocate for the efficacy of professional development programs at nonprofit organizations, thereby generating widespread appreciation for the critical value of human resources to the sector
  • To foster cross-disciplinary dialogue among nonprofit leaders in Los Angeles


“A three-month sabbatical for nonprofit leaders can be a lever for whole systems change.”

From Creative Disruption to Systems Change: A 20-Year Retrospective of the Durfee Foundation’s Sabbatical Program shows both the short and long-term benefits for individuals and organizations that partake in a well-planned sabbatical.


LEAD Residency

The LEAD Residency allows deputy leaders to expand their knowledge, networks, and perspective through paid, short-term residencies at a peer organization in LA.


From Creative Disruption to Systems Change

A 20-year retrospective study showing both the short and long-term benefits for individuals and organizations that partake in a well-planned sabbatical.

Do-It-Yourself Sabbatical Guide For Nonprofits, with Sample Policies 

Advice to leaders planning their own sabbaticals, plus sample policies from nonprofits.

Creative Disruption

A five-year retrospective study demonstrating the value of sabbaticals for nonprofit leaders. Durfee’s program is one of five studied.

Sabbatical Tip Videos

Durfee Sabbatical Program Awardees on the benefits of sabbaticals for all involved and things to consider before taking or funding sabbaticals.

Funders’ Guide to Creating a Sabbatical Program

A comprehensive guide that shows funders how to develop their own sabbatical programs for nonprofits.