About

At Snow-Redfern Foundation, we believe in the potential of all young people and aim to create opportunities for them to become thriving adults.

A Place to Grow

The Snow-Redfern Foundation was born in 1951, with Arvilla Snow-Redfern’s bequest of her family’s 20,000-acre cattle ranch in the Nebraska Sandhills. The Nebraska Boys’ Ranch, as it was known, offered an environment of security and possibility for young men battling homelessness, hunger, and family struggles.

Today we no longer provide direct services as we did on the ranch. Instead, we provide funding to the many organizations working to create opportunities for youth. We believe we all have a tremendous opportunity to impact young lives through partnerships with other funders, generous donors, and change agents. The proof lies in all the young people who have overcome obstacles and gone on to live fulfilling lives.

Take a look at Our History and you’ll know where our spirit of hard work, self-sufficiency, and service to others comes from. Meet our Board & Staff and you’ll see where that heritage is leading us today.

 


Our Mission

The Snow-Redfern Memorial Foundation will receive, earn, administer and distribute funds to qualifying charitable and/or human service organizations, educational entities, and faith-based organizations. These organizations will, in turn, provide direct services to meet the needs, education, or training of disadvantaged youth.


Associations/Partnerships

The reach of our efforts is multiplied by the wonderful partners who help us every day. Here are a few of our most trusted friends.

Alliance Chamber Logo

Alliance Chamber of Commerce

has been serving the Alliance, Nebraska area since 1927. The Chamber exists to provide leadership, promotion, and service for our members and the community as a whole.

Panhandle Partnership Logo

Panhandle Partnership, Inc.

is a nonprofit organization serving the eleven counties of the Nebraska Panhandle. Since 1998, the Partnership has been a catalyst for collaboration, bringing together people from diverse backgrounds to develop creative opportunities and enhance family and community life in Western Nebraska.

Nonprofit Association of the Midlands Logo

Nonprofit Association of the Midlands

is a resource for nonprofit organizations of every kind throughout Nebraska and Western Iowa. By connecting organizations with information, education, advocacy and collaboration – and with one another – they help members focus their energy on the people and communities they serve.

Board Members & Staff

Andrew Hunzeker

Board Member, Project Grant & Scholarship Chairperson

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Andrew is outreach services manager for the EducationQuest Foundation in Scottsbluff, Nebraska. He works with community agencies in western and central Nebraska to help clients research college options, find scholarship resources, learn about financial aid, complete college applications and complete the FAFSA.

Andrew joined the Snow-Redfern Board of Directors in 2020.

Denise Harris

Board President

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The importance of volunteerism was instilled in Denise at a young age by her parents, who demonstrated the value of giving back to a cause greater than themselves. Her motivation stems from a deep appreciation for nonprofits that seek to improve the quality of life for others—one program at a time.

Denise is a native of Alliance and has been an active volunteer in the nonprofit community. Most recently she served as the board president for the Alliance Recreation Center from 2014 through 2020. She is the materials manager at Parker-Hannifin, where she has worked for the past nine years.

Denise joined the Snow-Redfern Board of Directors in 2021.

Dustin Chester

Board Treasurer, Development Committee

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Since 2020, Dustin has served as a board member and treasurer for the Snow-Redfern Foundation. He is a Kansas native, Red Angus cattle producer and senior vice president of Farmers State Bank in Alliance.

In 2000, Dustin earned an Agricultural Economics degree from Kansas State University and has been in community banking since his graduation.

Dustin moved to the Nebraska panhandle in 2012, is active as an Alliance Rotarian with the Crawford FFA Alumni and is a production agriculture advocate. Outside of work and volunteering, he can most often be found working on the ranch or spending time with friends and family.

Dustin joined the Snow-Redfern Board of Directors in 2020.

Leslie Shaver

Board Member, Development & Marketing Committee Chairperson

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Leslie is currently the Deputy Title IX Coordinator for the University of Nebraska- Lincoln. She is originally from Hemingford and prior to her career in higher education, Leslie worked for seven years as an attorney practicing law throughout the panhandle with Simmons Olsen Law Firm. Leslie has experience with a variety of boards and organizations aimed toward impacting lives and communities within the panhandle, and throughout the State. The importance of giving back to others and the community was instilled in Leslie from her parents and grandparents, as well as from the family found in her employers. She looks forward to the opportunity to continue to make an impact with the Snow-Redfern Board of Directors.
Her service to the Snow-Redfern board is informed by two strong beliefs. First, “Each person is made in the image of God and each life is sacred.” Second, “Each of us is blessed to be a blessing.” These beliefs echo in Snow-Redfern’s efforts to help young people strive and succeed in spite of challenging circumstances. The young poet Amanda Gorman reminds us that “…there is always light, if only we’re brave enough to see it. If only we’re brave enough to be it.” The Snow-Redfern Foundation, those we support and our benefactors who make the work possible are lights. The light that is shared helps young people embrace their own light, ensuring we all will have a brighter future.

Ellen joined the Snow-Redfern Board of Directors in 2015.

Teresa Sanders

Board Member, Young Women's Leadership Chairperson, Grant Committee

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Teresa, her husband Tom, and their two children Wade and Josie ranch northeast of Alliance in the sandhills. In addition to ranching, she manages Diamond T Livestock Services, a business she started 26 years ago that operates nationally with a focus in the beef industry.

Teresa is passionate about youth programs and not only has a vision to see all youth thrive, but to grow and develop into leaders. She devotes many volunteer hours to youth and community programs and loves everything about western Nebraska – especially the rural setting and the people.

She is blessed to have the opportunity to serve on the Snow-Redfern Board of Directors and is committed to having a positive impact on the people and organizations they are involved with.

Jenny Lanik

Board Member, Development Committee

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Jenny is the mother of two children, Espen and Brinlee, and wife of Nate. She has been in education for 15 years teaching children of a myriad ages and abilities. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Education with an Endorsement in Early Childhood Special Education and a Master’s Degree from the University of Nebraska at Kearney in Early Childhood Education.

Jenny loves her hometown community of Alliance, Nebraska, and the surrounding area. She is committed to volunteering and fostering relationships within the community. She is excited and honored to be affiliated with such a generous foundation that supports opportunities for youth.

“Educating the mind without educating the heart is no education at all.” —Aristotle

Jenny joined the Snow-Redfern Board of Directors in 2021.

Sean Ridgeway

Board Secretary, Development Committee

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Sean joined the board in January, 2022.

Mara Andersen

Board Vice President, Career Pathways Chairperson, Grant Committee

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Mara is the executive director of the Alliance Recreation Center, a nonprofit organization dedicated to unifying and strengthening the community of Alliance, Nebraska. She is dedicated to ensuring children of all ages and income levels have access to unique learning opportunities. She also serves on the board for the Alliance Chamber of Commerce.

Mara joined the Snow-Redfern Board of Directors in 2021.

Nathan Jaggers

Board Member, Grant Committee

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Nathan owns and operates The Law Office of Nathan Jaggers, LLC, in Alliance, Nebraska. An alumnus of Creighton University and the University of Nebraska College of Law, Nathan has worked as an attorney in his hometown since 2010. In addition to his service on the Snow-Redfern Foundation Board of Directors, Nathan serves as a board member of the Alliance Public Schools Foundation, a member of the Alliance Jaycees, and a member of the Alliance Chamber of Commerce Ag Committee.

When he is not working or volunteering, you can find Nathan at the Box Butte General Hospital Rehab and Wellness Center or spending time with his family.

Nathan joined the Snow-Redfern Board of Directors in 2018.

Brooke Shelmadine

Board Member, Development & Marketing Committee

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Brooke joined the Snow-Redfern Foundation Board of Directors in 2018.

Tom Elliot

Board Member, Development Committee

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Tom joined the board of directors in January of 2022.

Rob Eirich

Board Member, Grant Committee

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Eirich is a native of Bayard, NE, raised on the family farming/ranch operation near Chimney Rock. He is passionate about youth development, resilient rural communities and being an advocate for agriculture.

With degrees from the University of Wyoming (BS) and the University of Nebraska-Lincoln (MS), he has spent nearly 20 years with Nebraska Extension focusing on 4-H & Youth Development and Beef Cattle Systems, but more recently in University Engagement and Extension Administration.

Rob and his wife, Joanna reside near Scottsbluff. They enjoy spending time with Joanna’s grown children and two grandsons. Other interests and hobbies include photography, watching or judging livestock show, and visiting his brothers on the family operation.

Rob joined the Snow-Redfern Foundation board in 2023.

Rosey Higgs

Board Member, Development and Marketing Committee

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Rosey earned her BSW and MSW degrees from the University of Nebraska Omaha, where she also serves as an adjunct instructor. She has extensive and varied experience in the nonprofit sector, including work in child welfare, domestic violence, homelessness, intellectual and developmental disability, HIV prevention, and mentoring as well as development, program evaluation, and strategic planning. She has a passion for collaborative work and capacity building.

Rosey also serves on the Board of Directors for the ACLU of Nebraska and Equal Play Inspiring Confidence (EPIC) For Girls. She formerly served on the Boards of the Maha Festival & The Big Garden, as well as on the ENOA Foster Grandparents Advisory Council. She is a graduate of Nonprofit Executive Institute Class 4, Leadership Omaha Class 35, Leadership Council Bluffs Class 31, and ICAN Defining Leadership 2014. Rosey lives in Omaha with her wife, their dog and their two cats. She is constantly and unapologetically covered in pet hair.

Rosey joined the Snow-Redfern Foundation board in 2023.

Karla Bennetts

Board Member, Grant Committee

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Karla moved to Wilcox, Nebraska with her husband and four youngest children in 2008 from Denver Colorado.

One of her core values is to show value and care to every human. Her passion for children comes from life experience which includes being the oldest sister in a family of eight children, parenting seven children (now ages 42 – 18 years old), and providing foster care for ten years. She enjoys photography, travel and spending time with her large family, and thirteen grandchildren.

She has been the Executive Director at Families CARE since 2011. This job is a great fit, where the primary focus is on providing support to parents of children in Central and Northern Nebraska with mental and behavioral health struggles. Karla is also a Board member on the Nebraska Foster Care Review Board and is on the Central Community College Advisory Board for Human Services.

In 2016, Karla graduated with her Associates Degree in Human Services from Central Community College, along with Certification in Business Supervisory & Management, and Chemical Dependency.

Karla joined the Snow-Redfern Foundation Board in 2023.

Megan Walter

Board Member, Development and Marketing Committee

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Megan is currently the Manager of Customer Engagement for the fifth largest public gas utility in the United States, Metropolitan Utilities District (M.U.D.) of Omaha. In her work there, her passion lies with community outreach and helping fundraising efforts for the M.U.D. Home Fund, a program where 100% of donations goes directly to helping families in need receive utility assistance.

Megan is excited for the opportunity to have an impact on the lives of children in Nebraska. She was raised in Alliance, NE before leaving after high school to attend the University of Nebraska at Kearney and ultimately moving to Omaha to be closer to family. She still has strong ties to her hometown as the softball complex in Alliance is named after her father, Hal Murray.

Megan joined the Snow-Redfern Board of Directors in 2023.

Sara Nicholson

Executive Director

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In 2018, Sara became the executive director of Snow-Redfern Foundation, bringing over 20 years of experience in administering child welfare, juvenile justice and behavioral health programs.

She has also provided consulting, training, grant writing, and strategic planning for various nonprofits and businesses across the country. In other positions over the years, Sara partnered with Nebraska Boys Ranch and was drawn to Arvilla Snow-Redfern’s personal mission, closely aligning with her own mission to help young people overcome some of life’s toughest challenges—rooted firmly in the shared belief that every child is worth it.

Blessed to be the mother of two amazing young adults who are currently attending college, Sara dedicates her time to creating opportunities for youth through the Snow-Redfern Foundation. In her spare time, she enjoys teaching yoga, hiking, reading, camping and sitting on/supporting other nonprofit boards.

Amy Gullion

Executive Assistant

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Amy has had several roles with the Snow-Redfern Foundation, formerly known as Nebraska Boys Ranch, over the 30 years she has served. First, she served as a house parent at the Ranch with her husband, Steve, which encompassed a variety of responsibilities for the care of the residents.

Amy then worked as an assistant to the campus administrator at the Ranch. The last few years before the Ranch closed, she worked at the business office in Alliance. After the Foundation evolved into a grantmaking entity, Amy was offered a part-time position as an executive assistant. Steve and Amy have three children—Danny, Allison and Scott—who grew up at the Ranch.

“It is very heartwarming to see how the Foundation continues Arvilla Snow-Redfern’s wishes of helping youth and families across Nebraska.”
Amy is a true living demonstration of the foundation’s mission and has given her all to serving her community and youth. Her dedication and hard work are beyond comparison and her smile lights up every room she enters.

Amy just celebrated her 30th year with the Snow-Redfern Foundation!

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Our History

With a pioneering spirit and a devotion to young people, the Snow-Redfern Foundation is a fitting reflection of our namesake and founder.

A Growing Legacy

The Snow-Redfern Foundation started with one woman’s vision and grew into a network of support for all those making a difference in the lives of children. Take a look back at some of the highlights from our first 70 years.

Arvilla Snow-Redfern…Her Story

She lived the hard yet rewarding life of a Sandhills rancher, overcame a pair of defining personal tragedies, and left an inspired legacy of caring for children in need.

Arvilla Snow-Redfern’s grandparents, Charles and Alice D. Snow, arrived in Alliance, Nebraska in 1894. They homesteaded in nearby Morrill County in 1902 and began purchasing adjacent land. Over time, the original Snow Ranch grew to over 20,000 acres.

Charles and Alice’s son Jason and his wife Alice raised three children on the ranch – Charles, Chester, and Arvilla. Charles moved to town and Chester struck out for Alaska, where he became a prominent political figure. Arvilla, who shared her grandfather and father’s passion for the ranch, stayed on.

Ranch life has a way of making people resilient, but a pair of personal tragedies would further test Arvilla’s strength – and plant the seed for what became her legacy.

In 1920, Arvilla married (Charles) Montgomery Redfern. The couple soon conceived, but tragically, Mr. Redfern died before their son, Monte, was born in 1921. Suddenly, Arvilla faced working the ranch as a widowed single mother.

She home-schooled Monte from a young age and wanted him to have a more formal education. In time, she sent him to the Junior Military Academy in Bloomington Springs, Tennessee, for 5 years.

While visiting home after graduation, Monte was riding his favorite pony. The horse reared up, and the saddle horn pierced Monte’s leg, mortally wounding him. He died on July 10, 1935, just short of his 14th birthday.

Arvilla was heartbroken. She had dedicated her life to raising her son, and she longed to find a way to continue caring for children in his memory. She tried opening two different educational institutions before turning her attention to fostering children.

While caring for as many as 14 children, Arvilla began to envision a way that she could help more children in need—for the rest of her life and beyond. She knew she would need the help of people she could trust, and she began cultivating a group of friends and advisors from the Alliance community.

In 1951, the Snow-Redfern Memorial Foundation was incorporated, and Arvilla’s dream became reality.

 

"So, I commend to the community in the broadest sense, the Snow-Redfern Memorial Foundation. To anyone anywhere who loves to lend a hand I say, may you work hand in hand to the glory and honor of the One and Only Source of us all and thus give an answer through actions to the great question—who is my neighbor?”

Yours with Love and Good Will,
Arvilla Snow-Redfern

Logos & Social Content

For the convenience of our partners, here are links to zip files that include variations of the Snow-Redfern Foundation logo and social media content (copy and graphics) that you can use to promote our support of your programs.  

Full Logo Package

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Social Content Package

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