Letter to SNAP Network
Barbara Blaine's vision, passion, dedication, and perseverance blossomed into an organization that has changed the world. Born out of compassion and giving, SNAP has grown and prospered. We mourn the passing of our founder, but we celebrate the movement she created. Standing on the shoulders of her achievement, SNAP has a bright future. We have only just begun!
At our annual conference, we celebrated our thirty-year strong history of supporting survivors, protecting children and advocating for community awareness. Gathering in Chicago, the birthplace of SNAP, we had amazing speakers inform and inspire us. Our workshops engaged participants in healing practices, educational circles, and organizing future initiatives. The conference committee, Becky Ianni, Lisa Kendzior, Melanie Sakoda, and Esther Miller, deserve praise and accolades for all their amazing hard work.
For the first time this year, we offered live video streaming of the conference. We had participants from around the world, and we are working on making video streaming a part of all future conferences.
We received generous donations this month from survivors and supporters, both at the conference, and from those watching online well beyond expectations. We were further supported by a matching gift from Jeff Anderson, who has been a warrior in advocating for survivors for many decades.
SNAP plans to initiate video conferencing for support groups to complement and expand their ability to support survivors. Support groups in urban hubs will be able to include survivors in rural and outlying areas. Video conferencing will also enable us to have national support groups for those specific areas of interest, i.e., abused as adults, abused by women religious, and for a variety of religious and faith groups. We can also use this technology to video stream meetings, record podcasts, document actions (i.e., a media event in front of the cathedral). This project will roll out over time as we iron out technical issues, gain experience, and engage leaders to be hosts.
In the next week or so, you will see the renewal of the SNAP website. Our ‘new’ website will enhance mobile phone and tablet presentation and will connect and interface with social media (FaceBook, Twitter, Instagram, etc) seamlessly. The project will also improve our graphic presentation with video, pictures, easy navigation, and easier accessibility. Your comments on what features you would like (or don’t like) is always appreciated.
Survivors continue to come forward and SNAP continues to grow in number and location. We have new leaders in Orlando, Austin, Philadelphia, Dubuque, and one of these new leaders will also facilitate a new group focused on the Lutheran Church.
Of course, we are not without challenges, including the recent transition in leadership. Below you will find SNAP's statement with respect to those losses.
During a meeting of the SNAP Board in February of 2018, Mary Ellen Kruger, Mary Dispenza, and Barbara Dorris shared that, in their opinion, a Board Member had breached their fiduciary duty to the organization and should leave the Board.
The remaining Board Members, Tim Lennon, Becky Ianni, and Melanie Sakoda, disagreed. These three Board members proposed that SNAP hire an attorney to look into the matter for the corporation, and that the Board follow his/her recommendation.
Mary Ellen and Mary left the Board. Barbara Dorris also resigned as Executive Director.
Tim, Becky and Melanie followed through with the plan to hire a Chicago nonprofit attorney (since SNAP is incorporated in Illinois). Michael Clark of SidleyAustin was selected to give SNAP his opinion.
After examining all the materials and listening to what previous Board Members Mary Ellen and Mary and Executive Director Barbara Dorris had to say, Mike concluded that the Board Member in question did not commit a breach of their fiduciary duties to SNAP.
The resignations of Mary, Mary Ellen and Barbara Dorris are regrettable, but in the informed opinion of SNAP’s attorney this was the result of a good faith disagreement over how best to advance SNAP’s interests, not any breach of director fiduciary duties.
Thank you for your patience and we hope this settles your concerns on the matter.
Board of Directors
The number of members of the Board of Directors has been increased and we expect to add more members in the future. I am honored to work with this accomplished and vigorous Board who has stepped forward to provide leadership for our bright future. They have worked together to produce a well-received and successful conference, a new video conferencing initiative, a renewed website, as well as increased collaboration with local SNAP leaders, and increased transparency.
We are excited about hiring a new executive director. For the last three months the Board has been working on this, using a slow and deliberate process. SNAP received 703 applications for the position. We are now down to four wonderful and experienced candidates. The final round of interviews is coming up, and and we should have a new executive director soon after that.
While SNAP is proud of our network of 25,000 survivors and supporters, the local Leaders are the backbone of the organization. They provide support and a receptive ear to survivors first coming forward. They answer the SNAP helpline or respond to the messages of those who write to the SNAP website. They organize and facilitate support group meetings, and stand in front of a church, school, or on a street corner to raise awareness. These Leaders support each other in common work, shared passions, and comfort each other in times of challenge. If you are interested in joining this remarkable group, please let us know.
SNAP exists in a galaxy of other organizations that share many of our concerns: RAINN, 1in6, EROC, BA, D2L, TogetherWeHeal, ECA, Road to Recovery, and many others. We call on all of our network to reach out and give our sister organizations a 'hug' of support. When they succeed, we succeed. Together we can continue to advance toward our common goals.
The genius of Barbara Blaine continues in the work we do every day. Each of us can honor the contribution of Barbara Blaine by engaging in the work of the SNAP Network and supporting its mission.
Stop Child Sexual Abuse
If you see child sexual abuse, or have a reasonable suspicion of sexual abuse or your child has been sexually abused, call 911 or your local police immediately.
If you suspect abuse, call the National Child Abuse Hotline at 1-800-4-A-Child or visit the Child Help Hotline. Trained crisis operators staff the lines 24/7 to answer your questions. If necessary, they will show you how to report in your local area.
Child pornography is a federal crime. If you see or suspect images that may be child pornography, report to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children CyberTip Line.