A little more than six years ago, Olatunde Sobomehin co-founded the organization StreetCode Academy, a California-based nonprofit that provides technology access, skills learning, and mentorship for communities of color. Since its founding, Sobomehin has led the organization as CEO, overseeing its rapid growth from serving 25 students locally to reaching 3,000 students globally, being named a 2021 California Nonprofit of the Year, and launching the world’s first Philanthropic NFT series.

Now, he’s ready to level up — by taking a step back.

Sobomehin embarked on a year-long sabbatical at the beginning of this year. He sat down with us recently to discuss how the idea came about, how it’s going, and why he believes this time of rest is important — both for him and for the organization — as well as to share some advice for other nonprofit leaders (and their funders) considering the value of sabbaticals.

This conversation has been edited for length and clarity.

CH: What do you hope will be true both for you and for street code as a result of this journey?

OS: I think the number one thing that I want to be true is for us to understand that rest is a part of the creation process and part of the healthy cycle. I do not want to be a person, nor do I want to be part of an organization, that does not understand the role rest plays, and so I want us to understand what that looks like.

CH: Do you have any advice for nonprofit leaders and, importantly, their funders as they consider offering a Sabbatical like this?

 OS: Yeah, I think I think my advice to them is [that], as we think about the long term, the longevity of our organizations, when we think about the long-term impact on the people we serve, starting with our employees and ourselves, [and] when we think about the whole impact of our communities, I think we should consider the role rest plays in all of that.

And I think when we consider that, I don’t think there’ll be any question about the value that rest [has].

So that’s number one. And the second piece is that I would encourage people to think boldly and to think courageously about the way in which we can support rest, because there is a significant return on that investment — that’s been my experience thus far.

Read the full interview about transformation through rest by Chloe Heskett at The Center for Effective Philanthropy.