O2 Initiatives believes that when nonprofit leaders have time to recharge and refocus, they are better prepared to ignite positive change. Our sabbatical program rewards executive directors with the rare resource of time, while helping others in the organization grow their leadership capacity during the absence. The result is stronger leaders, smarter teams, and more resilient organizations.
The idea for this program was first hatched during our participation in The Philanthropy Workshop, where we had the great fortune to meet Carrie Avery, President of the Durfee Foundation, and learn about their Sabbatical Program in Los Angeles. We were so inspired by the transformative impact the Durfee Foundation program has had on the professional and personal lives of its awardees, that we immediately began dreaming of bringing a similar program to the Bay Area. We were thrilled to launch the O2 Sabbatical Award in 2014.
We offer our tremendous thanks to Carrie Avery and Claire Peeps of the Durfee Foundation, as well as the Foundation’s Sabbatical Program alumni who so generously provided us with guidance in the development of the O2 Sabbatical Award. We also are grateful to the staffs of The California Wellness Foundation, Barr Foundation, and Allston-Bannerman Fellowship Program for sharing best practices and lessons learned from their exceptional sabbatical programs, and to other nonprofit leaders who shared their sabbatical experiences.
About Our Name
O2 is a reference to the two bonded atoms that form the oxygen molecule that we breathe.
Like the molecule, the bonds and partnerships we form with one another and our communities create something stronger than each entity existing in isolation.
We are committed to fueling the success of nonprofit organizations by helping create the environments in which creativity can ignite. Through our Sabbatical Award and other community investments, O2 Initiatives helps great leaders burn brighter.
The O2 Initiatives Team
Co-Initiators Lynn Feintech and Sakurako Fisher have a deep history of engagement in the nonprofit sector. Initially working as volunteers, they each now play leading roles on Bay Area and national boards. Lynn and Sakurako share a passion for partnership—both in their own philanthropy and in working to weave together networks of nonprofit leaders. They intend for O2 Initiatives to further that effort.
Lynn Feintech is a longtime Board member of ODC/Dance, a performing arts organization and incubator for creativity based in San Francisco’s Mission District. She also serves on both the Board and the Executive Committee of College Track, a national college completion nonprofit that empowers students from underserved communities to reach their dream of a college degree. Her previous board positions include the Landegger Program at the School of Foreign Service, Georgetown University, and the Berkeley Art Museum/Pacific Film Archive.
Lynn is President and Chairman of Liberty Building Company, a privately held real estate development company that was founded in 1946. Prior to her current position, Lynn had a long career in finance at Citibank and Bank of America. She holds an M.A. in Chinese Studies and an A.B. in International Relations, both from the University of California, Berkeley. Lynn and her husband live in Berkeley.
Sakurako Fisher is President of the San Francisco Symphony and serves on the National Board of the Smithsonian Institution, the Board of Trustees of Stanford University, and the Board of Trustees of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. She also sits on the U.S. advisory board for the Union Centrale des Arts et Decoratifs, and is an advisory board member of the Department of Humanities and Sciences and the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies at Stanford University. She has previously served on the boards of ODC/Dance, Stern Grove, the Asian Art Museum Foundation, The Exploratorium, American Hospital of Paris, Alliance Française, and the Thacher School, as well as the U.S. advisory board of the Centre Pompidou.
Sakurako holds a B.A. in International Relations from Stanford University and worked as a trader for Cargill and Citibank. She and her family live in San Francisco.
Emily Cohen Raskin, Executive Director
Emily Cohen Raskin directs the O2 Sabbatical Award program. In addition to her role with O2 Initiatives, she also serves as Senior Associate at Hirsch & Associates, an advisory firm that works with families, foundations, and corporations to maximize the impact of their philanthropy. Prior to joining Hirsch & Associates, Emily was Senior Vice President of Museum Management Consultants, where she delivered strategic planning, program evaluation, and executive search services to over 50 museums, theaters, parks, and foundations throughout the United States. Emily’s background also includes serving as the Development Director of the Jamestown Community Center, where she was a member of the interim leadership team during the Executive Director’s sabbatical.
Emily holds a B.A. in Art from Pomona College and an M.B.A. from San Francisco State University. She serves on the Board of Leadership High School, a public charter school in the Excelsior District of San Francisco. Emily lives in San Francisco with her husband and son.
2017-2018 Selection Committee
Carrie Avery, President, Durfee Foundation
Sam Cobbs, CEO, First Place for Youth (2016 O2 Sabbatical Award Recipient)
Stuart Cohen, Executive Director, TransForm (2015 O2 Sabbatical Award Recipient)
Sakurako Fisher, Co-Initiator, O2 Initiatives
Lynn Feintech, Co-Initiator, O2 Initiatives
Emily Cohen Raskin, Executive Director, O2 Initiatives
Julia Wilson, CEO, OneJustice (2015 O2 Sabbatical Award Recipient)