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Sabbatical Program

November 1, 2007


Contact: David Littlefield, TCWF
(818) 702-1900

Health-Sector Nonprofit Executives Receive 2007 TCWF Sabbatical Program Awards

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

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

The eight executives receiving the 2007 sabbatical recognition are: Fred Bauermeister of the Free Clinic of Simi Valley; Maria Costello of the Crossroads Foundation in San Diego; Rufino Dominguez of Centro Binacional Para el Desarrollo Indígena Oaxaqueño in Fresno; April Lea Go Forth of Resources for Indian Student Education, Inc., in Alturas; Marsha Krouse-Taylor of Casa de Esperanza, Inc., in Yuba City; Penny Newman of the Center for Community Action and Environmental Justice in Riverside; William “Blinky” Rodriguez of Communities in Schools of San Fernando Valley, Inc.,; and Mary Szecsey of West County Health Centers, Inc., in Guerneville. Profiles of the honorees can be accessed at

“The health and well-being of a valuable executive leader not only affects the individual but the organization he or she runs,” said Gary L. Yates, TCWF president and CEO. “Individuals leading and managing health-sector nonprofit organizations in California frequently work long hours for more than a decade without a break from these challenging positions. The Foundation has developed the sabbatical program as a response, and we are pleased to recognize these eight dedicated individuals with the 2007 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 their 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 2007 sabbatical recipients have served in the nonprofit sector for more than 12 years, and most have worked in their current roles as lead executives of health-focused organizations for many years without a significant break.

“As TCWF’s Sabbatical Program enters its fifth year, we can see how it is making a difference within the nonprofit sector in California,” said Sandra Martínez, TCWF program director. “When returning to work from their sabbaticals, a number of past recipients have taken the lead in implementing policies to prevent burnout among managers at their agencies, and in once case, introduced a sabbatical policy for all staff who have worked a given number of years.”

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 4,930 grants totaling $601 million. It is one of the state’s largest private foundations, providing an average of $50 million in grants each year in pursuit of its mission.

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