First 5 Merced County - We're Glad You're Here

For nearly a decade, First 5 Merced County and its numerous community partners, have been enhancing the lives of our youngest children so they can succeed in school…and thrive in life.

Because nothing matters more.

Research has thoroughly confirmed it – a child’s brain develops most dramatically during the earliest years of life. And so too, the greatest opportunities we have to support our kids’ future success reside in these first years, the first 5 years.

There is now unprecedented attention to early childhood health and development throughout California and the nation.

And, we are proud to be part of the movement that places children where they belong, at the very top of our priority list.

First 5 Merced County provides leadership, coordination, advocacy, and funding to support a wide range of local programs. From Planada to Los Banos and Stevinson, and Delhi to Merced — and in all the diverse communities throughout the county—our efforts have a singular goal: To ensure that our kids have the best foundation for success we can possibly provide.

That’s why we are here, doing what we’re doing. Working diligently, together with our many community partners, united by a commitment to our children.

News and Upcoming Events

Nominate a Hero for Children! The Hands on Heroes program for Merced County looks to acknowledge those individuals in the community who go above and beyond in supporting children of all ages. These unsung heroes are making a difference in the lives of children every day. If this sounds like someone you know, NOMINATE them as a Hands on Hero!

Please submit the nomination form along with a compelling statement describing why this person is a hero. Creative, heartfelt stories that illustrate the heroism of the nominee are desired.

First 5 Merced County's General Mini-Grants Program! First 5 Merced County’s 2015-16 General Mini-grants Application is now available. Please click this link for the General Mini-Grants Program or on the Mini-Grants Program Button for more information.

First 5 Merced County Commission Meeting! The First 5 Commission meets regularly on the second Monday of each month (except for public holidays). The next meeting will be held on the regular scheduled date: Monday, February 8, 2016, from 12:30 - 5:00 PM at the Public Health Department. 260 East 15th Street. Merced, CA 95341.



A child enjoying the free art activities at the “Plug-In to the Power of Preschool” event, Los Banos, October 2007.

Contributions To Our Community

While much remains to be done and new challenges arise almost daily, we are proud of our accomplishments to date.

  • Since our inception, First 5 Merced County has provided over $64 million in funding to support local Merced County programs and services. Because First 5 funds cannot be used to replace other existing funding streams, First 5 Merced County supports only critical services for which no other public funds exist. Through the strengths of our community partners, literally thousands of Merced County children and families have been served. In just the last three years (2007/08 - 2009/10), services have been provided to:
    • 34, 698 children (birth – 5 years) 28,236 parents/expectant parents
    • 5,111 providers/caregivers of children 0 - 5 years.
    Funding has been provided to 83 different agencies (116 programs) and organizations to support services in nearly every community throughout the county. First 5 Merced County has minimized costs to administer First 5 funds. First 5 Merced County has maximized funds going into the community, while creating a minimal reserve and assuring stability of funding over time.
  • Committed, stable leadership has been provided by our 9-member Commission, representing the diverse needs in our communities.



Organizations and Events First 5 Helps Sponsor and Partnerships

Merced Art Hop

MCOE - 12th Annual Lights On After School Festival

United Way of Merced County - Pedal Merced Family Bike Festival

Atwater Relay for Life

Knights of Columbus - Livingston Kite Festival

Central California Child Development Services - Easter Seals Training Modules

Fruitland Christian Preschool - 2nd Annual Pumpkin Patch Festival

Down Syndrome Assoc. of Central CA - Annual "Five and Under Reception"

Livingston Medical Group - 2014 Community Health Fair

Building Young Leaders - Youth Performs The Empty Pot, a Tale of Integrity & Courage

United Way of Merced County - Building Healthy Communities

City of Merced - Swimming Lessons

Merced County Spring Fair - Little Hands for Ag

Merced County Fair - MC Fair to Support DO 4 and CBOR

Merced County Parks and Recreation - Movie at the Park - Dos Palos

Dos Palos Oro Loma Jt. Unified School District - Activities at the Movie at the Park Dos Palos

Save Our Youth the Next Generations - SOY Merced Building Human Assets Project



County Holidays