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Nonprofit fills 'critical' position with Lakewood Ranch resident

Fundraiser hopes to steer Meals on Wheels PLUS in right direction.

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  • | 7:50 a.m. August 9, 2017
  • East County
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When Lakewood Ranch’s Diana Dill was 12 years old and living in Detroit, Mich., her family of seven grew by two.

Her parents, Orville and Lois Trenkamp, took in two cousins after their mother died.

“I grew up in an environment where you just took care of family and friends,” Dill said. “I feel like Manatee County is a big family.”

Dill, who spent 11 years as the executive director for Take Stock in Children, will work to foster that feeling of community to benefit Meals on Wheels Plus, the nonprofit that runs The Food Bank of Manatee, Meals on Wheels and other community programs.

Dill started in June as the organization’s new vice president of development.

“It’s such a critical position,” said Maribeth Phillips, the CEO of Meals on Wheels Plus. “We are so blessed to have Diana and her connections and for her to bring attention to our needs.”

Meals on Wheels Plus has been without a dedicated fundraising position for about a year. However, Phillips said Dill’s role is really the first of its kind for the organization. It had a combined marketing/fundraising position, but never one that focused mostly on raising community awareness, finding volunteers and funding opportunities.

Meals on Wheels Plus has seen a 40% increase in demand for services over the last five years, and receives less federal funding than pre-2013, Phillips said.

At the beginning of the year, it had a hiring freeze. But, the organization received a one-time grant from the Mosaic Co. to fund Dill’s position.

Phillips said she could not release Dill’s salary due to terms of the grant.

In her first year, Dill will concentrate on raising funds for the $750,000 portion of Meals on Wheels Plus’ $12 million operating budget that isn’t covered by fees, government funding or other sources of funding.

Dill said she has a plan already in action, and that includes thanking existing donors and volunteers, courting new ones, speaking to civic groups and finding donations. The agency needs everything from drivers for its 53 routes of delivering meals to homebound seniors to food drives to help the food bank’s shelves stay stocked.

“We’ll develop all types of resources,” Dill said. “Volunteers, financial, in-kind donation — anything to help us operate all the businesses as efficiently and effectively as possible.”




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