Alberto Retana Selected As Durfee Sabbatical Awardee, Leslie Johnson Named Interim CEO

17 Jun Alberto Retana Selected As Durfee Sabbatical Awardee, Leslie Johnson Named Interim CEO

Many leaders in the Los Angeles nonprofit sector work under conditions of unrelenting stress, potentially leading to burnout. The enormous demands of their jobs, combined with financial pressure, can prevent them from taking time off for much-needed rejuvenation and reflection. In an effort to replenish the stores of energy and inspiration for our community’s most treasured leaders, the Durfee Sabbatical Program selects up to six organizations a year. It provides them with a monetary award to recognize and reward accomplished nonprofit leaders with an extended break for personal rejuvenation. 

We are pleased to announce that our very own Alberto Retana was selected as one of this year’s Durfee awardees! The grant award pays for the leader’s time away from the organization, travel expenses, and $10,000 to support interim leaders and staff. The goal of the program is to:

* Advance the skills and capacity of staff at sabbatical organizations so that they can assume increased leadership,

*  Encourage shared leadership across the staff,

* Advocate for the efficacy of professional development programs at nonprofit organizations, thereby generating widespread appreciation for the critical value of human resources to the sector and,

* Foster cross-disciplinary dialogue among nonprofit leaders in Los Angeles

“I am deeply fortunate to have been selected by the Durfee Foundation. CoCo really is a place that develops leadership, and I am so honored to be part of its great leadership pipeline—those leaders who have come before me and those that I have the privilege with which to work side-by-side today,” said Retana. 

Alberto’s sabbatical began on June 15 and goes through September 15. During his three-month sabbatical, Leslie Johnson, Vice President of Organizational Development, will lead CoCo’s team. Since joining Community Coalition in 2007, Johnson has coordinated fundraising strategies that have helped the organization raise more than $100 million in funding from government, foundations, corporations, and individual donors. Additionally, she has played significant roles in building the capacity of other local nonprofit organizations through training and coaching. In her current role, she is charged with leading strategies to grow the organization’s resources, both human and financial.

“Nearly 15 years ago, when I joined Community Coalition as an intern, I knew that this was a special place,” said Johnson.  “Since then, I have been challenged, educated, and nurtured by the organization’s members and staff. I am excited about this opportunity for increased leadership and look forward to working with the team to continue to build power for South LA and Black and Brown people across our city.”  

For the past 30 years, Community Coalition has worked with community members in South LA to build leadership, launch action campaigns, and create a unified voice. By working to transform the social and economic conditions that foster inequity and inequality, CoCo aims to empower everyday residents to influence and elevate public policy.

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