The Lark Awards

I have learned that the journey is often more important than the destination - Lark Galloway-Gilliam

The Lark Awards support the collective care and renewal of staff at small Los Angeles-based nonprofit organizations with deep ties to the community.

In the second year of a global pandemic, and while the country is grappling with a racial reckoning, staff at smaller community-based organizations are feeling depleted. As always, they have put the people they serve first. Many of these organizations are managed by BIPOC leaders and staff who come from working communities where vacations or downtime have seldom been possible. Historic underfunding of organizations serving marginalized communities and a culture of overwork mean that staff often compromise their own well-being. This self-sacrifice, while never acceptable, has reached epic proportions. 

It’s time for a reset. It’s time for replenishment.

The Durfee Foundation’s Lark Awards provide up to 10 community-centered organizations with $30,000 each for the collective care and professional development of their teams. There isn’t a prescription for how the funds should be spent. Individual organizations know best what their teams need.  They can use their discretion to allocate the funds for individual or staff-wide activities that will promote joy and balance. A portion of the funds might be spent for collective activity like a staff retreat or camping expedition. The foundation also encourages use of the funds for individual renewal activities such as joining a gym, hiring a trainer or a nutritionist, yoga, dance classes, purchasing art supplies, culinary gear, books, concert tickets, staycation, gardening supplies, etc.

Goals:

  • To offer small budget, community-centered nonprofits with the resources to support the collective care and well-being of their staff
  • To recognize accomplished small nonprofit organizations, most often led by and serving BIPOC communities, that play key leadership roles in the communities they serve
  • To promote a culture of collective care and address burnout in the nonprofit sector

Lark Galloway-Gilliam

The award is named in honor of the late Lark Galloway-Gilliam. Lark was the founder and Executive Director of Community Health Councils, a recipient of the Durfee Sabbatical Award, and a beloved member of our community. She passed away in 2014, leaving behind a powerful legacy for improving health and environmental equity in South Los Angeles.