LEAD Residency

"Without being as close as I was to the organization, and to a key person inside it, then I don’t think I could have started to understand the core reasons they operate the way they do, and getting a glimpse at those has provided me and Heart of Los Angeles with so many new, immensely powerful tools." - Brooke Lykins, HOLA

The LEAD Residency is open to senior managers who served as Interim Directors, or on the interim leadership team, when their organization participated in the Durfee Sabbatical Program.

Senior managers of nonprofit organizations carry huge responsibility, but often lack professional development opportunities to help them stay energized and abreast of best practices. Their work tends to be more operational than externally focused, so they may not have field-wide exposure. And because their charge is to manage from the middle, they may also find themselves curiously isolated within their organizations.

The LEAD Residency (Leadership Exploration and Development) is designed to allow deputy leaders to deepen their knowledge, expand their collegial networks and gain a wide-angle perspective on their work by placing them in a paid short-term residency, typically one to two weeks, at a peer organization in Los Angeles.

LEAD Residents have the chance to observe best practices at another organization, and to immerse in a lively exchange of ideas with their peers. The goal is to return the deputy leaders to their work invigorated, more skilled and better equipped to help their agencies excel.


To be eligible, the applicant’s organization must have been a Durfee Sabbatical grant recipient within the last 10 years. The applicant must still be employed in a senior leadership role by the organization.

In instances where interim leadership was shared by a management team, multiple applications may be submitted. However, the residency is designed for individuals, so applications for joint residency are discouraged.

The candidate seeking a Leadership Residency should:

  • Be employed full-time by the applicant agency
  • Have the endorsement of the candidate’s executive director or CEO

Candidates may re-apply for residencies annually. Candidates may participate in one residency per year, though priority will be given to first-time applicants.

Program Timeline

The application process for a LEAD residency is simple. Following submission of an online letter of interest, Durfee staff will work with the candidate by phone to determine a residency site that matches the candidate’s interests. There are three application deadlines annually. Upcoming deadlines are:

February 3, 2021

June 2, 2021

October 6, 2021