Inspiration and Renewal for Santa Barbara’s Essential Nonprofit Workforce

By Giving List Staff   |   November 26, 2022
Emerging Leaders Program alumni celebrate each other in our 8th cohort's program graduation. These leaders are prepared and supported to take on further roles of responsibility working for the causes our community care about.

What happens when the people driving a nonprofit organization providing community support get burned out and need support themselves? 

Leading From Within is what happens. 

Leading From Within is an organization that doesn’t work for one specific cause; rather, it’s a nonprofit supporting the people who are doing that work, helping the community. 

In a region that boasts an incredibly high density of nonprofit organizations and philanthropic support, supporting nonprofit leaders and staff is critical and necessary work. Leading From Within’s results speak to the very practical efficacy of their work. 

“Nonprofits generally don’t prepare their staff for the strain involved in prolonged work,” says Executive Director Ed France. 

France cites the extremely high burnout rate in nonprofits as the genesis of the organization. When Leading From Within’s founder, Ken Saxon, began serving on nonprofit boards, he noticed how rarely those organizations invested in staff development, and it especially affected leaders of these organizations.  

“Too often, critical nonprofit leaders were isolated, operated from a sense of scarcity, and were prone to burnout,” Saxon says. He discovered that many of these organizations didn’t even have money for professional development set aside in their budgets. Eyeing that need, Saxon developed a program to uplift these organizations’ leaders and staff to do the leadership development they need to make their highest and best contribution to their cause, and Leading From Within was born. 

Leading From Within’s programs started with a methodology called “Courage and Renewal,” which helps nonprofit staffers rediscover and refuel their inspiration and passion for their work, thereby extending their commitment and longevity and inspiring civic leadership. Their “Emerging Leaders” program fosters leadership qualities and grooms staff for future leadership positions. 

In the nonprofit world, where turnover is rampant, Leading From Within’s results are impressive.  

“Of our 568 alumni, approximately 85% have stayed in the nonprofit world locally,” France says. 

He should know. He’s one of them. Having founded the Bicycle Coalition of Santa Barbara County, France was working long days and weekends for years. After a while, France could no longer access his inspiration for the work.  

“The lens that we see our work through gets distorted, gets clouded. As a leader of an organization, your lens is your vision, and your vision that you hold for your organization is the most important way that you can support your team,” France says.  Eventually, he hit a wall. “I just tried to take on all things, until I felt very jaded. It nearly broke me.” 

Then, he discovered Leading From Within and enrolled in their Courage to Lead Program. It not only reinvigorated his passion for nonprofit work, but it inspired him so much, he ultimately became the organization’s executive director – firmly planting him in a nonprofit world that needs him and Leading From Within. 


Leading From Within

Donate now!
Phone: (805) 203-6940
Executive Director: Edward France


Investing in leaders that serve the public good. We live in a region filled with dedicated leaders who give their whole selves towards improving our communities, but, sadly, who too often work in an environment of scarcity, isolation and competition. We need social sector leaders who are prepared, renewed, connected and collaborating, and who represent the broad diversity of our region. At Leading From Within, we foster a dynamic network of public-minded leaders who know each other, trust each other, and are better able to work together to improve our communities. This investment better ensures that leaders can address some of society’s more persistent challenges.

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We know you care about where your money goes and how it is used. Connect with this organization’s leadership in order to begin to build this important relationship. Your email will be sent directly to this organization’s director of development and/or Executive Director.

I admire how Leading From Within, as a small, nimble nonprofit, has worked to be responsive to the needs of the sector, experimenting with new offerings, including pro bono coaching for emerging and executive leaders.
Elena Anderson
Executive Coach
& Consultant

Make an Investment in People

Donating to Leading From Within is a great way to leverage your investment in philanthropy. $2,500 pays for a transformative leadership development experience in a nonprofit leader’s career, and fosters the growth potential of the next up-and-coming leader in Santa Barbara County. 

Key Supporters

Santa Barbara Foundation
Angell Foundation
Schwartz Family Foundation
Manitou Fund
Mosher Foundation
Natalie Orfalea Foundation
and Lou Buglioli
Jo and Ken Saxon
Ann Jackson Family Foundation
James S. Bower Foundation
The Towbes Foundation
Maryan Schall
Linked Foundation
Mary and Jim Morouse
McCune Foundation
Ginger Salazar
and Brett Matthews
Jeff Bochsler
Chris Parker