SNAP Director Rachel Durben Says Goodbye & Reflects on Years of Program Growth

Dear Alliance supporters, friends and partners,

I hope you are all enjoying your summer and staying safe and healthy.

As many of you know, my journey with SNAP began in 2011, as a SNAP Member at Sierra Streams Institute. When my term ended in November 2011, I never imagined I would end up serving as SNAP Program Director, which I have proudly done for 3 1/2 years. Now I am once again moving on from the SNAP Program, to begin the next phase of my journey, working with Great Basin Institute in Reno.

It has been a joy and an honor to serve alongside our SNAP team, to see their passion and dedication to their communities and to the Sierra, and to create positive and impactful change throughout the region together. While creating change within the confines of a national program is challenging, together we have achieved some significant milestones in making SNAP a more accessible, equitable and impactful program. Over the past 3 1/2 years we have:

– Increased the SNAP living allowance by 20%, after nearly a decade of unchanged wages
– Revised our recruitment and hiring practices, resulting in more candidates, from more diverse backgrounds, each year of the program
– Created an Alumni Advisory Board, to add another layer of support and connection for current and former SNAP members
– Begun the process of creating a SNAP Emergency Fund for current members to access in times of need
– Pivoted to online and hybrid learning models so communities continued receiving quality environmental education programs throughout the pandemic (and beyond!)
– Maintained a productive and connected workforce despite wildfires, isolation and statewide closures
– Grown our partnerships to add new host sites throughout the Sierra
– Received funding to expand the program with an additional 4 full-term members in 2021-22, who will be part of California’s new Climate Action Corps, focused on climate resiliency and community education
– Responded to member and host site feedback by revising trainings to address a broader and more relevant scope of professional development, including Diversity, Equity and Inclusivity trainings, grant writing workshops and leadership development

As I prepare for my last day on August 5th, I want to extend a huge amount of gratitude to our community for the support you’ve given to the SNAP Program. We will be hiring a new Program Director, and would love your help in spreading the word. Ideally, we will find someone with AmeriCorps experience, so they understand the program and, most importantly, the member experience. If you or anyone in your network would be a good fit for the job, please check out the attached position description and reach out to Alliance Executive Director, Jenny Hatch. As we’ve all adjusted to remote work, the position is open to anyone in the Sierra, with the expectation for occasional travel as needed for trainings, events and meetings.

Thank you all for the opportunity to grow and serve with the Alliance and with all of you.

In gratitude,

Rachel Durben (she/her)
SNAP Program Director

The Alliance is hiring for the next SNAP Director, learn more about the position & help spread the word!

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