Girls Inc. of Metro Denver’s President & CEO Selected as One of Four Distinguished Statewide Leaders for The Colorado Health Foundation’s Nonprofit Sabbatical Program



Contact: Denise Delgado
303.893.4363 x114

Girls Inc. of Metro Denver’s President & CEO Selected as One of Four Distinguished Statewide Leaders for The Colorado Health Foundation’s Nonprofit Sabbatical Program

Denver, CO – Sonya Ulibarri and Girls Inc. of Metro Denver were recently awarded $84,500 in grant funding by The Colorado Health Foundation to participate in their new Nonprofit Sabbatical Program. Developed in 2019, the newly established program was designed to award Colorado-based nonprofit executives with a three to four-month sabbatical, while offering funds for their organization’s interim leadership and staff capacity building. “I am incredibly honored to be a recipient of The Colorado Health Foundation’s inaugural Nonprofit Sabbatical Program. After twenty years working in the nonprofit sector, this is an incredible gift that I will use to rest and rejuvenate in preparation for the important work ahead,” reflected Sonya Ulibarri.

The Nonprofit Sabbatical Program will support Girls Inc. of Metro Denver by strengthening the interim leadership bench and building capacity of staff. The organization will invest in advanced and individualized professional development for its Senior Management Team and grow the skills of all staff with a focus on nonprofit best practices, human resources, fundraising, and trauma-informed approaches. Funding will also support advancing equity and anti-racism at Girls Inc. of Metro Denver through advanced training and curriculum development.

Participation in this program will directly benefit Sonya Ulibarri, who has served as Girls Inc. of Metro Denver’s President & CEO for the last nine years. The program provides her the opportunity to spend time away from the demands of daily work to travel, reconnect with friends and colleagues, write and reflect on her 20-year nonprofit career, and invest in personal health and well-being in order to return to the work rejuvenated, and with a renewed commitment to the mission.

In partnership with Girls Inc. of Metro Denver’s Board of Directors, Sonya is pleased to receive this grant award and take full advantage of this unique and rare opportunity. “This sabbatical will allow Sonya to take a deep breath, and will offer her a time of reflection, learning, and renewed energy. Additionally, the focus on leadership and organizational capacity provides the opportunity to work on long term sustainability for the organization as a whole. Girls Inc.’s mission and its dedication to advancing the well-being of girls and women everywhere will benefit both in the short and long term.” said Colleen Mackey, Board Chair at Girls Inc. of Metro Denver.

With a mission is to inspire all girls to be strong, smart, and bold, Girls Inc. girls learn to value their whole selves, take risks, and discover and develop their inherent strengths. In a year where girls and their families have faced unprecedented challenges, it’s critical that Girls Inc. of Metro Denver continues to invest in building capacity to meet these growing needs, as well as incorporate practices that center on resilience and self-care.

We believe the Nonprofit Sabbatical Program grant award will have a significant impact on our ability to deliver innovative, high-impact programming to over 2,000 girls each year, as well as strengthen the organization’s leadership and staff. “I’m thrilled for Sonya to have this opportunity for rest and I am also grateful that Girls Inc. of Metro Denver will also have the resources to grow through this process. From the professional development opportunities for our Senior Management Team to the investment in organizational capacity building, the Nonprofit Sabbatical Program is a unique opportunity for Girls Inc. of Metro Denver and our team.” – Melina Bixler, Director of Evaluation, Training, and Advocacy

In 2019, The Colorado Health Foundation developed a new nonprofit sabbatical program to recognize and reward long-term and respected nonprofit leaders.

In addition to the sabbatical, the program includes funding support for the following activities:

  • A three to four-month sabbatical for the nonprofit executive to step away from their professional duties and take time to refresh. This includes a one-month executive-in-residence at The Colorado Health Foundation that creates opportunity for a co-learning experience among the sabbatical recipient, Foundation executives and staff.
  • Support for the awardees organization that will reward interim leaders who can step forward and strengthen the leadership bench during the sabbatical, along with organizational capacity building for staff.
  • Ongoing technical assistance support for awardees that provides consultation on nonprofit operations, finance and leadership.



About Girls Inc. of Metro Denver
Girls Inc. of Metro Denver (GIMD) inspires all girls to be strong, smart, and bold. GIMD envisions a world in which every girl values her whole self, discovers her inner strengths, and achieves her goals. GIMD offers comprehensive programs to a diverse group of over 2,000 elementary, middle, and high school aged girls each year from metro Denver. Through its whole-girl direct service approach, Girls Inc. of Metro Denver builds brave spaces that foster long-term mentoring relationships for girls in a pro-girl environment. The organization also advocates with and for girls to eliminate barriers girls face and reform systems that impede their success. Girls Inc. girls learn to set and achieve goals, boldly confront challenges, resist peer pressure, see college as attainable, and explore nontraditional fields such as science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM), and lead healthy lifestyles. Learn more at