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, Scholarship Committee 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 Member

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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 Member, Board Treasurer

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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.

Ellen Lierk

Board Member, Development Committee Chairperson

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Ellen Lierk, current Development Committee chair and past president, has served on the Snow-Redfern Foundation board for nearly 12 years. When she was young, Ellen’s mother encouraged her to leave every place better than she found it. Ellen has applied her mom’s advice in her careers and community involvement. Ellen’s professional life began as a social studies teacher and guidance counselor. Ellen holds a BA in History and Master’s Degrees in Guidance and Counseling and Pastoral Studies. Now retired, she has also worked as a gift buyer for the family business Thiele Pharmacy & Gifts, as an economic development director and as a pastoral minister at Holy Rosary Catholic Church. Ellen and her husband Charles—blessed by three adult children and five grandchildren—live in Alliance, Nebraska.

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.

Glenda Ehler

Board Member

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Glenda Ehler joined the Snow-Redfern Foundation Board of Directors upon retirement from 35 years in education—21 years in the classroom and 14 years as a counselor.
She is also a past co-coordinator for Teammates of Scotts Bluff County.

By serving young people throughout her career, Glenda has witnessed the difference that a caring adult can make in their lives.

Growing up on the Snow family ranch, Glenda’s family was connected to Arvilla Snow-Redfern herself. This interaction with Ms. Snow-Redfern, experiencing ranch life and later observing the impact Nebraska Boys Ranch had on youth inspired her to be on the board.

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

Jared Mracek

Board Member, Board Vice President, Grant Committee Chairperson

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Jared is currently the vice president and also serves as the Grant Committee chairperson.

When Jared was in middle school, the Nebraska Boys Ranch was still operating. He recalls having several kids in his class who were at the Ranch. Since learning their unique stories, he has had a soft spot for disadvantaged kids and continues to want them to have the same opportunities that other kids have.

Jared lives north of Alliance with his wife Melissa, their son Brayden, and a new baby coming in March. He is currently employed by WESTCO, where he is the Feed Division manager.

Jared joined the Snow-Redfern Board of Directors in 2016.

Jenny Lanik

Board Member

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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.

Kevin Horn

Board Member, Secretary

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Kevin has lived in Alliance for 34 years. His Snow-Redfern Foundation roots date back to when Kevin was a member of the Alliacne Jaycees, and he and his fellow Jaycees would visit the former Boys Ranch and play basketball and other games with the residents.

He serves on the Snow-Redfern Foundation board for one reason: he likes helping kids. Kevin has been an Alliance Public Schools activity bus driver for over 20 years and enjoys being surrounded by young people whose values include having a strong work ethic and being goal-oriented.

Kevin is a lifelong Nebraska resident, a graduate of Brown Institute of Broadcasting in Minneapolis, and was a Nebraska radio broadcaster for 30 years before becoming the Box Butte County clerk of court in 2015. He and his wife, Cynthia, have two grown daughters, Kaccy and Christa, who are elementary school teachers.

Kevin joined the Snow-Redfern Board of Directors in 2016.

Mara Andersen

Board Member

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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

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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 President

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

Calvin Tolstedt

Board Member

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Calvin was raised in the Sandhills on a cattle ranch 36 miles northeast of Alliance, Nebraska. He went to undergraduate school and played NAIA football at Hasting College, where he was voted senior defensive captain his senior year.

Upon graduation from Kansas State Veterinary School in 2007, he returned to Alliance to join the Alliance Animal Clinic, first as an associate and then as a practice owner 18 months later.

Calvin married Rayann (Wilkinson) Tolstedt in 2003, and they have two sons: Colter and Ryker.

Calvin is an invested community leader, including his current membership and past presidency with the Alliance Lions Club, a board member of the Alliance Public Schools Foundation, and as president of the District 7 Nebraska Veterinary Medical Association for the past 13 years. Calvin’s hobbies consist mainly of outdoor activities with his family.

Calvin joined the Snow-Redfern Board of Directors in 2016.

Jeff Fisher

Board Member

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Jeff was raised in an Air Force family that hails from northeastern Colorado. With extensive travel experiences before and during college, Jeff settled into a series of opportunities in youth work, music education and work with juveniles.

Ten years of experience at the Nebraska Boys Ranch as direct care staff, education supervisor and school liaison with Alliance Public Schools rounds out his experiences before hiring out with BNSF in Alliance, Nebraska, in 2005.

Jeff, Kerry (his wife of 36 years) and their son Jason (33 years old) have lived in Box Butte County since 1993. Jeff and Kerry are blessed to have a beautiful nine-year-old granddaughter, Nevaeh.

Jeff is honored to have been nominated to the Snow-Redfern Foundation Board of Directors.

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

Donna Jones

Board Member

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Donna grew up in a military family and was raised in various places around the world including France and Japan. As the youngest of five siblings, she earned the nickname “Babe,” which is still used today. She planted her roots in Alliance, Nebraska, in 1990 where she and her husband, Aaron, raised four children.

The tragic loss of her son, Logan, sparked her passion to help all children in need. In addition to her work with the Snow-Redfern Foundation, she is also a volunteer with the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.

She spends her free time camping, gardening and spending as much time as possible with her grandson, Easton. Donna also loves animals and can be seen walking her dog Cash (Cashew Butter Potts) around town.

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

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

 


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