Community Foundation finds leader for a new era in region


Stephanie Dietz was named the new executive director of the Community Foundation of Merced County during a ceremony last week.

Local leaders and members of nonprofits gathered at a downtown Merced reception to show their support and welcome her to the organization. Dietz also had the opportunity to speak on what the future holds.
“This is a community foundation here in Merced that has a rich history, 20 years of service in the community, and this history expands across philanthropic, grants and scholarships, across all sectors of our community,”Dietz said. “I’m really excited to serve Merced County in a new role.”

California has over 60 similar community foundations, which aim to function as aids to existing philanthropic organizations to best connect resources with the community. The Community Foundation of Merced County was started in the early 2000s, and has since donated over $3 million back into Merced County. The foundation played a pivotal role during last January’s flooding, especially in Planada, where they were able to help residents connect with aid.

Dietz most recently served Merced as its city manager, a role which she stepped down from last November. She now will apply that experience in her new role, and is already looking forward for the foundation.

“In 2024 we’re going to lean into some hard issues in Merced County, we’re going to lean into indicators of poverty, we’re gonna talk about housing and food insecurity, and we’re going to talk about providing equitable healthcare access to all of our Merced County residents, because these things are the things that matter to the people who have the most need,” said Dietz. “I want to be here and stand in that space and fight for them, and bring resources to them.”

Community Foundation of Merced Countyexecutive directorStephanie Dietz
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