Meet our 2022 Sabbatical Leadership Awardees

We are very happy to announce our inaugural Sabbatical Leadership awardees: 20 leaders will have three-month sabbaticals and 12 leaders will have one-month respites.

We are very happy to announce 20 inaugural Sabbatical Leadership awardees. These inspirational, compassionate, and brilliant leaders have been serving their communities for decades. We are eager for each of them to embark on this next phase of their journeys to experience deep rest, renewal, and restoration. And, we are looking forward to hearing about the growth of their organizations and the other leaders at their organizations.

Anthony Powers

Seattle Clemency Project

“I would like to travel to Africa and get back in the mental space to begin writing again. I would also like the team to experience moving things forward while I’m not there, which I believe will increase their leadership and team building skills.”

Bettie Williams-Watson


“A sabbatical and the distance it will provide will give me the opportunity to rest and recover, which I’ve learned is not a break from the work, but rather an essential PART of the work.”

Brenda Rodríguez López

Washington Immigrant Solidarity Network

“This sabbatical will support me in healing from the trauma I have endured doing this work as an undocumented, queer womxn of color during the most violent times of our generation. My vision is to show up for me as I have showed up for others.”

Caty Padilla

Nuestra Casa

“A sabbatical would allow me to be fully present for my 7-year-old, and show him that he is important and does not have to feel in competition with those I am able to assist through my work.”

Deena Pierott


“I can get centered again, start putting myself first. My creativity would look different and my health would be significantly improved because stress levels would minimize. This would be pure soul care.

Dian Ferguson

Central Area Senior Center

“I look forward to a sabbatical to do some personal things that I haven’t been able to do. I would like to grieve my mother’s loss, clean out her house, and remodel it. This would make us both happy.”

Dila Perera

Open Arms Perinatal Services

“I need to rest and reflect, and look towards the future more than the crises of the moment. I am a single mother of a beautiful 11-year-old who misses her mother. I need this sabbatical to learn, read, nourish my mind as much as my spirit, and to be with my daughter.”

Person in bright green jacket and black head scarf looking calmly at the camera in front of blue background.

Hamdi Abdulle

African Community Housing & Development

“This sabbatical will be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for reconnection with my family, and a time for me to cultivate peace. I will also be working on my health… As an elder, I am learning how to take care of my body in this new stage of life.”

Jaimee Marsh


“I have never taken a break. This is an opportunity to look at what I truly need to replenish myself. Having sustained time away would allow me to fully reset, (re)establish healthy practices, and actually rest. This is an opportunity to THRIVE, not just survive”

Jeri Moomaw

Innovations Human Trafficking Collaborative

“If my cup is empty, I can’t help others. My vision for the sabbatical is to rest, gain tools for self-care, and lean into learning. I want to spend quiet alone time by the ocean, and return home to my tribal community in Fort Hall, Idaho, to participate in cultural activities with elders, including a naming ceremony. This is a tremendous honor and very healing.”

Professional portrait of smiling person with long dark hair and coordinating red and white scarf and earrings.

Norine Hill

Mother Nation

“My vision for a sabbatical is to take time for my spiritual healing as an Indigenous woman and MMIW survivor. By taking care of my spiritual health, I take care of reconnecting to my strength of my inner woman to continue growing as a leader.”

Ginger Kwan

Open Doors for Multicultural Families

With a sabbatical leave, I’d be able to refresh and re-energize by spending more time with my 5-month-old grandson; doing what I enjoy like sewing, quilting, gardening; as well as allowing my body and mind to heal through exercising and reading.”

Smiling person with long wavy hair in front of bright orange background

Sandy Restrepo

Colectiva Legal del Pueblo

“In 25 years, I have had no pause. I grew up with the immigrant mentality that we must constantly work to survive. I’d like to embody that abundance, rest, and recovery are important factors in the work we do with immigrant communities. This sabbatical will give me a chance to breathe and be more present with my husband and two children.

Person smiling at the camera in beautiful natural light, wearing black-framed glasses, small earrings, and orange shirt.

Sili Savusa

White Center Community Development Association

“My vision is to reflect on my experience with community work, writing, and exploring questions like how I deepen living my values. I have some health challenges, and the physical healing aspect of the sabbatical is important for my well-being.”

Sean Goode

Choose 180

“I deeply desire to find out who I am when I’m not representing the work. I intend on traveling to Ghana, spending time with my family, and finding a quiet escape to listen for direction from the divine and my ancestors.”

Person with gray hair and long turqoise earrings smiles for the camera in front of windows with an interesting abstract reflection.

Susan Balbas

Na’ah Illahee Fund

“I want to retire in the next few years, in the best way possible — with intention, shared leadership, and joy! I want to read, write, get my hands in the dirt, and explore the possibilities. I’d love to have a coach help me hone in on priorities, celebrate my accomplishments, and retire with grace and love.”

Person with shiny lipstick and long highlighted hair in front of white background smiles for the camera.

Therese Williams

Summer Search Seattle

“My vision for a sabbatical is to center healing, family, and rest. I’ll have the flexibility and space to re-engage in mental health counseling to heal through past trauma, and continue self-care like nature walks, exercise, and faith practices.”

Tyrone McMorris

Casino Road Kids Ministries

“Taking time off will influence me to exercise faith, gain a new perspective of my role as ED, and prepare for another decade or two. I look forward to the freedom, quality time with my wife and three children, and traveling to create lasting memories.”

Smiling person wearing patterned blue, white, and black shirt and black sweater standing outside in a courtyard surrounded by low brick walls and trees.

Kimberly Keith

Hilltop Artists Tacoma

“I spend most of my time figuring out how to help others follow their creative paths, yet no time doing that for myself. My vision for a sabbatical would be to follow creative pursuits, possibly traveling to Mexico to learn Spanish and metalsmithing.”

Napal Tesfai

Abused Deaf Women’s Advocacy Services

“In my line of work, we deal with the darkest part of humanity, while balancing our personal struggles, worries, and joy. To be able to rest and rediscover myself, I know I will be in a better mental and emotional space.”

Meet our 2022 Respite Awardees

We’re also excited to support 12 leaders with one-month respites. Dedicated to serving their communities for years, these smart, creative, and passionate leaders will have the opportunity to step back from work and spend time focused on themselves, heal their bodies and their spirits, and re-energize for the journey ahead.

Alejandra González

Community Changemaker

“Despite the fact that my work provides me with great satisfaction and joy, I must acknowledge that the challenges of being a woman of color, working full time, volunteering in the community, and caring for my fourth-generation family have taken away my physical and emotional well-being. Consequently, this grant comes at a very convenient time for me to refocus my life priorities.”

Deric Gruen

Front and Centered

“Not only will this give me a chance for respite from the hard and intense work of change making, but it will offer a chance to make memories and forge strong healthy bonds with my young family that will build resilience for the future. I believe a fresh perspective will also help me chart my course and focus on where I can contribute the greatest impact to racial, economic, and environmental justice.”

Emily Yim

Washington Alliance for Better Schools

When you take on such a role, have a young family, live in a three-generation household, along with leading a nonprofit working to serve 40,000 immigrant and refugee families, the weight of responsibility begins to break your back. This can help change my life and push me in the right direction towards stopping for self-care, growth, and rejuvenation.

Kelli Robinson

Our Sisters’ House

“This will give me much time needed to help manage stress, time for needed self-care, reflection. … I have never had more than a few days off from work.”

La Tanya Horace

The Silent Task Force

“This would give me the freedom to allow myself to be that creative, intentional, purposeful being that I truly am without all of the stress that comes with running a nonprofit, serving others, and taking care of my team. I can almost imagine rising anew from the ashes like the sphinx.”

Magaly Solis

La Casa Hogar

“One thing I noticed is that we share this attitude of needing to be “super hero leaders” or “savior-like individuals” who always give their all por la causa. This opportunity will help me break my pattern of feeling that my worth is tied to my work and how much I produce or contribute to this country.”

Maile Hadley


“I’ve been self-supporting since age 16 and I love my current job. … I’m not running, I’d be resting. I envision using this time to settle into space and culture; having more meaningful time with my children; and focusing on my health and home.”

Medard Ngueita

World Relief Western Washington

As someone who went through resettlement myself, I remember the people who came alongside me and their dedication. Now, being the executive director of that very organization that helped me, one of my main goals is to support my staff. I want to lead by example and show them it is okay to rest, slow down, and recuperate.

Ndudi Chuku

Mission Africa

“I have not taken a vacation since 2014. It is long overdue, and will help restore my health. The organization will gain back a well-rested and rejuvenated leader with renewed vision and focused energy to continue the great work that Mission Africa is doing to serve our community.

Nyema Clark

Nurturing Roots

My vision is to reset. This means finally taking time I need to heal my body, which has surely has felt the burden of not having time to rest and restrengthen itself. It means finally having the break needed to come back to work and hit the ground running without feeling fatigue or burnout

Pinar Sinopoulos-Lloyd

Queer Nature

Queer Nature is an project characterized by environmental and nature-based education, public mysticism & scholarship, and social sculpture based in the Northwestern U.S. and Intermountain West. We dream into what queer ‘ancestral futurism’ and other alternatives to modernity could look like through mentorship in place-based skills with awareness of post-industrial/globalized/ecocidal contexts. Place-based skills include naturalist studies/interpretation, handcrafts, “survival skills,” and recognition of colonial and Indigenous histories of land and are framed in a container that emphasizes listening and relationship building with ecological systems and their inhabitants.”

Sameth Mell

Equity in Education Coalition

This opportunity will provide space for me to focus on healing and reconnection to my roots. I will take the time to travel, and create rhythms and patterns to better support my mental health. I believe that this opportunity will give me an updated perspective for balancing work and life.