Social Sector Sabbatical

Empowering Utah's Brightest Nonprofit Leaders

Our community’s biggest challenges deserve our community’s brightest minds. The Community Foundation of Utah (CFU) believes an organization’s ability to attract, develop, and retain exceptional talent is instrumental in driving impact. 

In 2022, CFU conducted a Social Sector Leadership Assessment with nonprofit leaders. Staff burnout and retention were identified as top areas of concern for leaders, with network building and accessible professional development opportunities viewed as critical to enhancing organizational leadership. Further, only 53% of the organizations surveyed budgeted for leadership development — citing issues of funding, bandwidth and limited options as barriers. 

To strengthen and invest in social sector leadership, CFU offered a two-week paid Sabbatical to a cohort of nonprofit leaders in fall 2023. This Sabbatical was an immersive experience offering leaders time away from their daily responsibilities to reset, consider bold solutions to persistent challenges, and build collaborative peer relationships. 

To invest in leadership across the organization, executive directors were fully disconnected from their organizations during the Sabbatical, creating the opportunity for an "emerging leader" to temporarily step into their role and develop leadership skills. 

Benefits of Sabbatical Participation: 

  • A two-week sabbatical for a nonprofit Executive Director or CEO to create space to explore strategic opportunities and recharge 
  • A $5,000 grant from CFU to compensate key staff, including the Executive Director/CEO, during the sabbatical period
  • Immersion within a cohort of peers to share and explore the experience together 
  • An opportunity for another senior staff member to participate in CFU’s Invest in Success leadership development cohort

Qualifications for Sabbatical Participation:

  • Executive Director/CEO of a nonprofit organization, predominantly focused on serving low-to-moderate-income individuals  
  • Executive Director/CEO must have served in their current role for at least four years 
  • Executive Director/CEO is passionate about organizational innovation, has a demonstrated track record of community contributions, and is highly collaborative
  • Executive/CEO is eager to engage with initiative alumni and events over time 
  • The organization must have at least one additional senior staff member interested in developing their leadership potential