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Sabbatical Program

November 6, 2008


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

Health-Sector Nonprofit Executives Receive 2008 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 at an awards ceremony held today in San Francisco. The leadership support program — now in its sixth year — provides each of eight organizations with a $35,000 grant to cover its leader’s salary and expenses during the sabbatical, which lasts a minimum of three months.

The eight executives receiving the 2008 sabbatical recognition are: Serge Dedina of Wildcoast in Imperial Beach; Linnea Hunter of Mendocino Community Health Clinic in Ukiah; Katherine Kneer of California Planned Parenthood Education Fund in Sacramento; Vannessa Lindsey of Another Choice, Another Chance in Sacramento; Linda Broadous Miles of Al Wooten Jr. Heritage Center in Los Angeles; Dee O’Brien of Walnut Avenue Women’s Center in Santa Cruz; Margo Leathers Sidener of Breathe California of the Bay Area in San Jose; and Houa Vang of Merced Lao Family Community. Profiles of the honorees can be accessed at

“Executives responsible for nonprofit health and human service organizations in California are working in increasingly challenging environments,” said Gary L. Yates, TCWF president and CEO. “The Foundation developed the sabbatical program to prevent burnout, promote the health of these executives and provide an opportunity to strengthen these organizations. We are pleased to recognize these eight dedicated individuals with the 2008 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 its 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. Each of the 2008 sabbatical recipients has 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.

“As TCWF’s Sabbatical Program enters its sixth year, we can see how it is making a difference within the nonprofit sector in California,” said Sandra Martínez, TCWF program director. “The planned absence of an executive director often serves as a catalyst for an organization to look with a fresh pair of eyes at the strengths and capabilities of other management staff. The sabbatical award builds the ‘bench strength’ of these health nonprofits.”

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.

TCWF is one of the state’s largest foundations. Since its first year of operation, the Foundation has awarded 5,299 grants totaling more than $660 million. Please visit TCWF’s website at for more information.

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