Susan Rice, Board President and Acting Executive Director

Susan Rice, PhD moved to Grass Valley from Sunnyvale in 1998. She continues to work as a pharmacologist and toxicologist in a consulting capacity. She received her undergraduate and graduate degrees from UC Davis and was a faculty member in the Department of Anesthesia, Stanford University School of Medicine with a joint appointment and a laboratory at the VA Medical Center in Palo Alto. The years at the VA gave left a lasting impression, seeing firsthand the results of both physical and mental severe injuries.

After moving to Nevada County Susan quickly became involved in order to meet people, integrate into and serve the community. She participated in the Nevada County Leadership Institute in 2002-2003 which gave her further insight into the county. She has been an active member of the Greater Grass Valley Chamber of Commerce and served as an Ambassador and a Board member. Susan is an active member of the Nevada City 49er Rotary and loves participating in their local service projects. Susan jumped at the opportunity to help Sierra Roots and the chronically homeless by acting first as Treasurer, then as Board Chair, and now as the volunteer Acting Executive Director.

Dianne Weichel, Board Member and Lunch Manager

For the last eight years, Dianne has volunteered, without fail, to manage the weekly lunch and clothing offering for homeless folks every Thursday 52 weeks a year. She also coordinates the volunteers who serve hot, home-cooked meals, collects to-go food from the Nevada County Food Bank, and screens donated clothing for quality (no damage, excessive wear or stains allowed). She also works individually with guests to help them realize their best outcomes.

Nick Wilczek – Board Member

As head librarian for Nevada County, Nick knows the library is the last refuge and first resource for homeless people. The library is a safe place to be from the weather. It’s also a place with computers for job searches, connecting with friends and relatives, or just looking stuff up. And there are more books and journals and magazines and newspapers than could be read in a lifetime.


Kathleen (Kathy) Ferguson-Business Consultant

Financial analyst, controller, and accounting manager with well over 20 years of management experience in nonprofit and governmental entities. Master’s degrees in both Accountancy (1991) and Public Administration (2004) developed strong research and writing skills, as well as business acumen. Also acquired time management skills to meet multiple deadlines, often in stressful situations.

The Business Consultant is the key contact point within Sierra Roots for the SR/NPTG grant. She works with the lead creative on decision-making, while the Executive Director, Susan Rice, has overall responsibility for the grant.

The Business Consultant also handles human resources and makes sure that SRNPTG payroll is submitted on time and with accuracy. For contractors, and for other billings, she reviews the billing for appropriateness/accuracy before sending them on to the Executive Director for payment. In addition, the Business Consultant aids with website development and sets up emails for all SR/NPTG employees.