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Sabbatical Program

October 26, 2006


Contact: Cecilia Laiché
Cal Wellness
(818) 702-1900

Health Sector Nonprofit Executives Receive 2006 TCWF Sabbatical Program Awards

Foundation Funding Supports Eight Nonprofit Health Organizations With $35,000 Grants to Cover Chief Executives’ Paid Time Off

San Francisco — Eight nonprofit health sector executives are being recognized by The California Wellness Foundation (TCWF) Sabbatical Program in a ceremony held today in San Francisco. The leadership support program - now in its fourth year - provides eight organizations each with a $35,000 grant to cover the leader's salary and expenses during the sabbatical, which lasts a minimum of three months.

The eight executives who are receiving the 2006 sabbatical recognition are: Speranza Avram of Northern Sierra Rural Health Network in Nevada City; Louis Chicoine of Tri-City Homeless Coalition in Fremont; Brian Contreras of 2nd Chance Family & Youth Services in Salinas; Xavier Flores of Pueblo Y Salud in San Fernando; Harry Foster of Family Healthcare Network in Visalia; Michael Green of Center for Environmental Health of Oakland; Rojane Jackson of Community Interface Services of Carlsbad; and Pheng Lo of Lao Family Community of Stockton, Inc.

“The burnout of a valuable executive leader not only adversely affects the individual but the organization as well,” said Gary L. Yates, TCWF president and CEO. “The Foundation is keenly aware of the job-related health issues facing nonprofit health organizations and has developed the sabbatical program as a response. It is a pleasure to recognize these eight hard working individuals with the 2006 TCWF Sabbatical Program awards.”

The program was created to support nonprofit leaders and seeks to improve the long-term effectiveness of health-focused nonprofits by providing their executives with the rest they need to continue to direct their organizations' missions. Each organization receives $30,000 to cover the leader's salary during the sabbatical, plus an additional $5,000 to cover expenses related to the professional development of managers and staff who will assume extra responsibilities during their leader's absence. All of the 2006 sabbatical recipients have served in the nonprofit sector for more than 13 years and most have worked in their current roles as lead executives of health-focused organizations for many years without a significant break.

“Now that TCWF’s Sabbatical Program is in its fourth year, we’ve had the opportunity to receive feedback from some of the organizations that have received the grants to cover their leaders’ time-off,” said Sandra Martínez, TCWF program director. “For a number of them, receiving a sabbatical award was the impetus to strengthen their management structures. I am convinced that offering sabbaticals to refresh executives and investing in management infrastructure are important strategies to preserve the nonprofit health sector.”

The California Wellness Foundation is an independent, private foundation created in 1992, with a mission to improve the health of the people of California by making grants for health promotion, wellness education and disease prevention. The Foundation prioritizes eight issues for funding: diversity in the health professions, environmental health, healthy aging, mental health, teenage pregnancy prevention, violence prevention, women’s health, and work and health. It also responds to timely issues or special projects outside the funding priorities.

Since its first year of operation, TCWF has awarded 4,523 grants totaling nearly $550 million. It is one of the state’s largest private foundations, providing an average of $40 million in grants each year in pursuit of its mission.

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