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2018 Cal Wellness Sabbatical Program Award

Rest and Renewal for Executive Directors—Professional Development for Your Team

Are You an Executive Director Who’s Been in Your Role for at Least Six Years?

Do you want to take three months to six months off to focus on yourself, your family or your personal aspirations? Do you want your organization to strengthen its resources and deepen its capacity to function well, even when you’re not there?

If you answered yes to the above questions, then consider applying for a Cal Wellness Sabbatical Program Award. Since 2003, 92 individuals and their organizations have benefited from this gift of time and money.

We will award up to eight $40,000 grants to nonprofit organizations that are dedicated to improving health and wellness in their communities. The organization may use up to $30,000 of the award to pay for the executive directors’ salaries and benefits. The remaining funds are to go toward professional development for staff and interim leadership.

What Past Recipients Say:

“Even the application process got me to think differently about my organization.”

“I wrote the book that had been on hold for years.”

“The process of preparing for the sabbatical led to permanent organizational shifts that made us more effective.”

“When I returned, my staff was more comfortable and confident with their own authority.”

“I took the time I needed to change my diet and exercise habits.”

“I felt deeply rested at the end of my three month sabbatical.”

Learn More

All applications must be received by Wednesday, April 11, 2018 at 11:59 pm Pacific Time. Grant recipients of the 2018 Cal Wellness Sabbatical Program Award will be notified by September 2018.

Cal Wellness Sabbatical Program Award Application Guide

This downloadable guide provides step-by-step instructions for submitting a Cal Wellness Sabbatical Program Award application using the Cal Wellness Grants Portal. Download the Award Application Guide (PDF). (Download the Budget Form here.) If you have any other questions, please e-mail sabbatical(at) or leave a message at (818) 702-1970.

CRITERIA & ELIGIBILITY REQUIREMENTS – To be eligible, individuals must meet the following criteria.

Role of Individual

  • Be a paid executive director or CEO at a nonprofit health organization. Project directors in larger institutions and directors of programs under fiscal sponsor arrangement are not eligible for this award.
  • Have served in an executive director or CEO role for the past six consecutive years or longer in the same organization.
  • Be employed full-time at the applicant organization.

Approval of Your Board

  • Have the date and duration of the proposed sabbatical — between three months and six months (maximum) — approved by your organization’s board to allow both you and your organization to plan for the sabbatical. The grant term is a maximum of 15 months

If You’re Selected

  • Be willing to submit necessary reports as required.
  • Be present for the Orientation and Awards Ceremony scheduled for mid-November 2018.
  • Consent to have your photograph, background information and responses included in the public announcement of your award.

Eligibility of Candidate’s Organization

  • Be located in California and provide services that explicitly contribute to the health and wellness of California residents.
  • Address the particular health needs of historically underserved populations, such as low-income individuals, people of color, youth and residents of rural areas.
  • Be a nonprofit health organization exempt under Internal Revenue Code Section 501(c)(3) and not a private foundation as defined in the IRC 509(A), or a public charity as defined in IRC Section 170(A)(vi), or a government tax-exempt entity. Cal Wellness does not fund Section 509(a)(3) Type III non-functionally integrated supporting organizations.
  • Be able to sustain regular operations during the candidate’s absence.
  • Guarantee maintenance of regular operations during the candidate’s absence.
  • Guarantee maintenance of regular health and other benefits to other candidate during his or her leave.

Affiliation with Cal Wellness

  • Do not have any prohibited affiliation with The California Wellness Foundation. No Board or staff member of the Foundation, or any member of their immediate families, is eligible for a sabbatical from this grant.

Sabbatical Application Checklist

  • Application
  • Narrative Questions / Narrative Form
  • Annual Report or Program Summary
  • Resume
  • References
  • Letter of Endorsement from Board
  • Board of Directors List
  • IRS Tax-exempt documents
  • Audited financial statements or form 990s
  • Color Photograph
  • Budget Narrative

Advice from Past Recipients

  1. Turn off your email and go away!
  2. Do something out of the ordinary. Explore other interests that you may not have noticed before.
  3. Even though you think there is never a good time, GO! If you have a solid organization, it can get along without you for a few months. Trust that.
  4. Be thoughtful in preparing your staff and board to make decisions in your absence. You don’t want to worry or have to overturn things that they did while you were gone.
  5. When you return, take time to process with staff and board about their experience. Then celebrate their stepping up during that time!
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