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October 25
, 2004

Cecilia Laiché, TCWF


Ken Kurtzig, CompassPoint


Foundation Funding Supports Six Nonprofit Health Organizations With $30,000 Each For Their Leaders’ Well-Deserved Sabbaticals

San Francisco — Six nonprofit health sector executives are being recognized by The California Wellness Foundation (TCWF) Sabbatical Program in a ceremony held today in the City Club. The leadership support program — now in its second year — is managed by Foundation grantee CompassPoint Nonprofit Services and provides $30,000 grants to organizations to cover their leaders’ salaries and expenses during the sabbaticals, which last a minimum of three months. The six executives who are receiving the 2004 sabbatical recognition are: Jane Garcia of La Clinica de la Raza in Oakland; Dian Harrison of Planned Parenthood Golden Gate in San Francisco; Rick Mesa of the Ranch Recovery Centers in Desert Hot Springs; Barbara Mitchell of Interim in Monterey; Debra Oto-Kent of Health Education Council in West Sacramento; and Bernita Walker of Project Peacemakers in Los Angeles.

“If a health nonprofit organization’s chief executive is at risk for burnout from overwork, then the organization’s productivity will suffer over time,” said Gary L. Yates, TCWF president and CEO. “That’s why the Foundation established this program and why we are pleased to recognize these six hard-working nonprofit leaders with the 2004 TCWF Sabbatical awards.”

The program was funded by the Foundation to support nonprofit leaders and seeks to improve the long-term effectiveness of health service nonprofits by providing their executives with the rest they need to continue to direct their organizations’ missions. In addition to the $30,000 sabbatical grant, each organization receives up to $5,000 for the professional development of the managers who will take on extra responsibilities in the absence of the sabbatical recipient.

"Executives in health organizations are called upon to be strong managers, strategic thinkers, successful fundraisers and inspirational leaders to make sure California’s safety net is there for millions of families," said Jan Masaoka, CompassPoint's executive director. "There’s a lot of talk about leadership, but The California Wellness Foundation is really doing something about it.”

All of the 2004 sabbatical recipients have served in the nonprofit sector for more than 20 years and most have worked in their current roles as lead executives of health service organizations for many years without a significant break. When asked how they intended to spend their sabbaticals, the awardees described a wide range of activities, including spending time with family; traveling; taking educational classes and enjoying the outdoors.

“The Foundation is pleased to provide the sabbaticals as an opportunity to refresh these dedicated executives who have been working for many years,” said Sandra Martínez, TCWF program director. “They provide important leadership to cornerstone nonprofit health organizations that provide services to diverse communities across California.”

For more than 28 years, CompassPoint has provided nonprofit organizations with a broad range of services including management consulting, executive leadership support, and board development. CompassPoint has also conducted several research studies on the nonprofit sector, including a national study on the career paths of nonprofit executives. Visit or call CompassPoint at (415) 541-9000 to access CompassPoint’s reports on executive leadership in the nonprofit 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 3,706 grants totaling nearly $450 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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