Are you (or do you know) a nonprofit leader interested in the Rasmuson Foundation Sabbatical Program? We asked some former Sabbatical recipients about the value of their sabbatical, and if they had any advice for you. In this post, Rasmuson Foundation President Diane Kaplan shares stories about the impact of time away.

As we head into the season for nominations for the Rasmuson Foundation Sabbatical Program, I thought it timely to share something that happened recently.

At the Anchorage Rotary Club meeting, I happened to sit next to Amy Fredeen, Chief Operating Officer at Cook Inlet Tribal Council (CITC). CITC is a long-time partner of Rasmuson Foundation; its CEO, Gloria O’Neill, was an earlier recipient of a Rasmuson Foundation Sabbatical. Gloria had an ambitious goal for her Sabbatical. She wanted to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro—and she did—and spend time with her family away from home base. Gloria went on to serve on the Foundation’s Sabbatical Program Committee and helped select succeeding groups of awardees. That brings me back to Amy Fredeen.

Early in our Rotary Club meetings, members can do a “high ten,” which means give $10 to share an announcement such as a fish caught, an important anniversary celebrated, or a career accomplishment. Amy’s “high ten” today was announcing her return to CITC after a two-month sabbatical provided by her CEO, Gloria. Inspired by her experience and its impact on her both personally and professionally, Gloria decided it was in CITC’s interest to make such opportunities available to others in her organization. Amy spent the last eight weeks on a road trip with her family, driving down the ALCAN to the lower 48 and sharing the experiences that form lifelong memories.

Rasmuson Foundation board member Dr. Douglas Eby, had a similar “unintended consequence” of the Sabbatical Program. Inspired by her sabbatical, Southcentral Foundation (SCF) CEO Katherine Gottlieb offered Doug the chance to take a couple of months off to recharge. He came back in June for a Rasmuson Foundation board meeting fresh from encounters with elephants, lions, and European capitals.

It’s great to learn that the Rasmuson Sabbatical Program has begun to create a culture within the nonprofit sector that places a priority on giving time for adventure, rest and reflection to its most valued leaders. Kudos to CITC and SCF for starting a trend.

Executives from tribes and all nonprofit sectors are eligible to apply for the 2013 Rasmuson Foundation Sabbatical Program, which is designed to provide time away from the job for nonprofit and tribal leaders for rest, renewal and growth. This year, Rasmuson Foundation has increased Sabbatical awards up to total of $40,000 to cover salary and expenses incurred during a two- to six-month sabbatical.

We asked recipients about the value of their sabbatical, and share what they told us in this video. The postmark deadline for applications is Oct. 1, 2012. Why not listen to their advice? Go for it.