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Rape Response’s executive director to retire after 12 years
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Jeanne Buffington

Rape Response Executive Director Jeanne Buffington said she will step down from her position later this year, but she will continue to work with the nonprofit supporting sexual assault survivors.

Buffington’s retirement as executive director comes after 12 years at the helm. 

She told The Times Wednesday, June 15, that she felt like it was the right time. She will stay on in a contract position focusing on grant funds management and special events.

“I felt really stretched and just haven’t had enough hours in the day,” Buffington said.

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Jen Tarnowski - photo by Scott Rogers

Advocacy director Jen Tarnowski will become the new executive director Oct. 1.

When Tarnowski was hired two years ago, Buffington said the goal was for her to eventually become the executive director.

“Jen has the passion and the energy, really the same things I had when I came into this position,” Buffington said.

Buffington started as the executive director in April 2010, when the agency had a budget of $182,000 and served 224 sexual assault survivors.

Since then, the budget and the number of survivors served has quadrupled.

Buffington said the agency was on track to serve more than 1,100 survivors this year, which would be a 35% increase over last year.

“Rape Response continues to be deeply appreciative of Jeanne’s twelve years of exemplary service,” Rape Response Board President Melissa King wrote in an email. “She has consistently exhibited leadership to sustain and advance the mission and programs of the agency, significantly expanding the necessary resources for a more comprehensive scope of services to more people in our growing Northeast Georgia region.”