Anchorage - Eight Alaska nonprofit leaders have been selected for the 2009 Rasmuson Sabbatical Program, and they are:
Lynne Ballew, Safe Harbor Inn
Christine Bauman, Sitkans Against Family Violence
Tammy Bidwell, Kenai Peninsula Community Care Center
Joyanna Geisler, Independent Living Center - Homer
Katherine Gottlieb, Southcentral Foundation
David McClure, Bristol Bay Housing Authority
Jonathon Ross, Alaska Native Heritage Center
Nicole Songer, Cordova Family Resource Center
The Rasmuson Foundation Sabbatical Program is designed to provide time for nonprofit leaders to refresh and rejuvenate. The sabbatical is to be used for personal growth and reflection, according to Diane Kaplan, President of the Rasmuson Foundation.
"Non profit leaders often work long hours helping others or operating programs that benefit the public. They experience emotional as well as physical effects from their work. Taking a sabbatical offers them an opportunity to spend quality time with their family, step back to gain new perspective on their organization and renew themselves," she said.
Lynne Ballew is Founder and Project Director of Safe Harbor, Alaska's first and only nonprofit motel for homeless families and people with disabilities. She will use the time for rest and relaxation, and to "let go." She said, "sooner or later, every founder's vision must give way to the realities of time, change and subsequent management with the hope the cherished work finds able and imaginative curators," she said. Her absence will allow others to assume more responsibility and ownership of the program. Safe Harbor is located in Anchorage.
Christine Bauman, Executive Director, Sitkans Against Family Violence, has led the organization for four years and has continuously worked in domestic violence services for many years . Bauman oversees management of a 25-bed residential program serving victims of sexual assault and domestic violence. She recently attended a workshop on vicarious trauma, compassion fatigue and burnout. "I was only mildly surprised that I exhibited the symptoms of burnout. I love my job, but it is wearing me down. A significant break will allow me enough time to full recover and rejuvenate," she said.
Tammy Bidwell, Executive Director, Kenai Peninsula Community Care Center, began working there in 1987 as a Family Teacher. She believes the sabbatical will permit "time for relaxation and solitude." She says it has become difficult to separate her personal and professional life, and that taking a break will allow her to "continue the same level of efficiency and productivity that being a nonprofit executive director requires." She will spend time with family. With a staff of 25, the Community Care Center provides services to emotionally and mentally disturbed adolescents in a group home setting.
Joyanna Geisler, Executive Director, Independent Living Center in Homer, has served in that role for 17 years guiding the program's growth to a million dollar service budget. She will use her Sabbatical to focus on health, connect with friends and family, and "relax, have fun and come back energized and ready to get back to work." The Independent Living Center trains people with disabilities to develop personal living skills.
Katherine Gottlieb, President and CEO, Southcentral Foundation, has been a health care leader in the Alaska Native community for nearly three decades. She manages more than 1,000 professionals in a complex health care delivery system serving 46,000 Alaska Natives and American Indians in 55 urban and rural communities spread across southcentral Alaska. Her Sabbatical will allow her three months away from these responsibilities.
Dave McClure, Executive Director, Bristol Bay Housing Authority, has worked in his position for 15 years. He embraces the sabbatical to "evaluate his experience and return with clarity of mind to focus on new and ongoing endeavors with a renewed perspective." The Dillingham-based housing authority manages 500 homes and apartments with 22 new units in development.
Jonathon Ross, President and CEO, Alaska Native Heritage Center, intends to use his sabbatical to learn the Dena'ina language from elders on the Kenai Peninsula. "There has not been a single person in many years who has gone from not knowing any of the Dena'ina language to being fluent. I hope to be the first of many." The Alaska Native Heritage Center is a 26-acre facility with year round programs and exhibits telling the story of Native cultures and histories to more than 110,000 visitors each year.
Nicole Songer, Executive Director, Cordova Family Resource Center, is on call seven days a week to oversee and staff the 24-hour help line. "The sabbatical will give me time to refresh myself, learn new things and take time to reunite physically and emotionally with my family," she says. "After seven years of this occupation with minimum leave, my family needs me and I am in need of a break."
The next postmark deadline to apply for a Rasmuson Foundation Sabbatical is October 1, 2009. Details about the Sabbatical Program, guidelines for preparing a proposal, and application materials are available online at www.rasmuson.org or by calling (907) 297-2700. The toll free number within Alaska is 1-877-366-2700.
About the Foundation The Rasmuson Foundation was created in May 1955 by Jenny Rasmuson to honor her late husband E.A. Rasmuson. Through grantmaking and initiatives, the Foundation is a catalyst to promote a better life for all Alaskans.