Sabbaticals for BIPOC Leaders

Sabbaticals are a powerful form of healing, practice, and exploration. Our coalition is responding to what we’ve heard from community about the overwhelming need to support BIPOC nonprofit leaders in rest and recovery. We’re overjoyed to announce $1.37 million for 20 leaders to experience three-month sabbaticals and 12 leaders to have one-month respites. Read about the announcement and meet the cohort of inaugural awardees.

What is the sabbatical opportunity?

Chona Kasinger for 
Disabled and Here

As a coalition, we recognize that rest, renewal, and restoration are foundational to racial healing and social justice in communities. We are committed to normalizing rest and the practice of sabbaticals. That’s why we launched the Sabbatical Leadership Awards program.

Every year, we aim to support a cohort of nonprofit leaders with three-month sabbaticals that allow them to step back from the exhaustion of work and re-connect with their own vitality and balance. Each sabbatical award will be $60,000 that includes: 

  • Salary and Benefits for Leader – Approximately $30,000 to the nonprofit organization to pay for the salary and benefits of the leader taking the sabbatical. 
  • Individual Sabbatical Expenses for the Leader – About $10,000 in unrestricted funding for the leader to use as they see fit.
  • Organizational and Leadership Support – Approximately $20,000 to cover:
    • Bonuses for other senior leaders who take on increased interim leadership responsibilities during the three sabbatical months. 
    • Funding for the organization to support professional development for leaders other than the one taking the sabbatical.
    • Capacity-building consultation and support from a sabbatical consultant. The BIPOC ED Coalition has consultants to choose from, or you can find your own consultant. The sabbatical consultant will meet with the leader, board, and interim leaders to develop a sabbatical plan that supports smooth transitions, effective operations, and organizational capacity building.

Award disbursement will be made in two parts, the first prior to the sabbatical and the second mid-sabbatical.

Our approach to giving

The BIPOC ED Coalition is committed to undoing harmful funder practices, and joining the movement toward trust-based philanthropy. We are committed to a trust-based approach to giving sabbatical awards. 

As part of this approach, we invite you to self-screen using the eligibility criteria below. If you fulfill all the criteria, and are able to commit to the award requirements, please go to the next steps to complete the interest form. 

Eligibility checklist

To be eligible, applicants must:

  • Be a BIPOC executive director or organizational senior leader with a central decision-making and visioning role. 
  • Have a demonstrated track record of social justice commitment and community engagement. 
  • Reside in Washington state, with your work centered in Washington state. 
  • Have been in a paid, full-time leadership role at your organization for at least five years. 
  • Work with an organization that has the capacity to maintain critical operations and programs while the senior leader is on sabbatical. 
  • Work with an organization that has 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status or fiscal sponsorship from a 501(c)(3) organization.
  • Share the BIPOC ED Coalition’s commitment to working in solidarity with other BIPOC nonprofit leaders to promote wellness and restore resources in our communities. 

If awarded a sabbatical, applicants must:

  • Be able to begin the three-month sabbatical within one year of the award.
  • Agree to work with a consultant to develop a plan for organizational operations and interim leadership in your absence. The interim leadership plan will encourage current staff to step into leadership roles while the senior leader is on sabbatical and provide professional development and support for current staff. 
  • Commit to not working at their organization and minimizing communication with the organization during the sabbatical (unless there is an emergency at the organization).  
  • Commit to the spirit and purpose of the sabbatical, and not take on other work or volunteer obligations. 
  • Agree to provide feedback as part of our evaluation and data collection process.

“Rest is not work’s adversary, rest is work’s partner.”

– Alex Sooting-Kim Pang, Author of Rest: Why You Get More Done When You Work Less

Next steps

  • Our first round to apply for Sabbatical Leadership awards has closed. See the inaugural awardees.
  • We are actively fundraising to be able to provide sabbaticals to more leaders.
  • If you are interested in learning more, please complete the Sabbatical Program Contact Form. We are committed to walking alongside you to address any barriers you may have going on a sabbatical. 


If you have questions, please contact Victoria Santos at

Our gratitude to supporting organizations:

We are thankful to the Durfee Foundation, the Barr Foundation, and O2 Initiatives for their support and sharing, which informed our process.

We are deeply grateful to the following foundations and donors whose generous support makes these sabbaticals possible: Black Future Co-op Fund, JP Morgan Chase, Medina Foundation, Satterberg Foundation, Seattle Foundation, Sheng-Yen Lu Foundation, and Stolte Family Foundation. 

Other foundations are considering support for our important effort!