From Creative Disruption to Systems Change

Since 1997, the Durfee Foundation has invested in helping to rejuvenate the bodies, minds, and spirits of Los Angeles’s most gifted nonprofit leaders through their Sabbatical program.

Durfee provides time for leaders to break away from daily routines for three months—to rest, travel, explore, learn, and re-connect with family and friends. Central to the Sabbatical program’s philosophy is an openhearted belief in leaders and their capacity to both regenerate themselves and become
generative leaders for their organizations and communities.

This 20-year review of the Durfee Sabbatical program demonstrates and confirms that sabbaticals are useful for:

  • Rejuvenating nonprofit leaders
  • Increasing organizational capacity—especially in strengthening the capacity of second-tier leadership or strengthening the bench
  • Enhancing succession planning
  • Strengthening governance
  • Retaining nonprofit leaders
  • Shifting a leader’s perspective from daily management to distributed leadership and generative thinking and activity
  • Creating a permanent shift in the culture of work/life balance for both the leader and the organization’s staff
  • Acting as dry runs for eventual permanent transitions