Kimberly Garner Joined El Capitan, a JdV by Hyatt Hotel

Kimberly Garner

Kimberly Garner has been appointed the new director of culture and community impact for El Capitan, a JdV by Hyatt hotel.

Garner brings a wealth of knowledge to the position through her professional experience with the University of California and personal passion for community involvement. 

In this role, Garner will oversee and support the properties’ community impact goals including managing El Capitan’s Heart of Merced program which aims to positively influence the Merced community, particularly in the areas of education, jobs and economic development. Through the Heart of Merced program, the businesses have offered support in a number of ways, including a partnership with local Fremont Elementary School to aid educational opportunities throughout the year and provide students with much needed supplies. The businesses also recently launched a free Hospitality Career Academy in conjunction with Merced College to provide job training and college credits to adult students. Through various fundraisers, including regular Dine Out for a Cause events at Mainzer, the businesses have donated nearly $30,000 over the last year to local nonprofits including Restore Merced, Boys & Girls Club of Merced County and Merced LGBTQ+ Alliance.



“We are thrilled to have Kim join us to assist in developing strategies to help our properties continue to be a catalyst for good in Merced,” said Robin Donovan, managing director.

“With her extensive experience and thorough knowledge of the area, she’s ready to hit the ground running and make a positive impact from day one.”



Garner has served in a number of roles over 14 years with the University of California, Merced where she focused largely on community connections and organizing major events. In her most recent position as executive director of the arts with the University of California, Merced, she created and managed the school’s visual and performing arts programing, including grant writing and coordination with local business and government entities. In that role, Garner also oversaw the 2021 UC Merced Children’s Opera, a program that more than 25,000 local primary school children from across the Central Valley participated in. Previously, Garner served as the chief of protocol and executive director of the protocol and special events office at the University of California, Merced where she managed large-scale events including graduation, building openings and fundraisers. Garner launched her careen with the University of California, Berkley where she served as the exhibitions and program manager which included oversight of programming for the Hearst Museum.

Garner holds a master’s degree in art from California State University, Fresno, where she also earned her bachelor’s degree. She is active in a number of locally based civic organizations, including Veterans of Color-Merced County, Merced Theatre Foundation Board, NAACP Merced County and the Arts and Culture Commission for the City of Merced.

“El Capitan, Mainzer, and The Tioga are established points of pride for Merced,” said Garner. “I’m thrilled to dive in with this hardworking team to continue the positive momentum they’ve created by celebrating the local people, places and business that make Merced so special.”

El Capitan, a JdV by Hyatt hotel, invites free spirited guests to rediscover the vibrant traditions of California’s Central Valley. The 114-guestroom hotel is a Golden State original, reborn with approachable sophistication and modern comfort in a turn-of-the-century property of the same name. Located on the same block, Mainzer is an exciting new restaurant and entertainment venue set in a restored 1920’s theater. Just across the street, The Tioga is a 70-unit upscale apartment complex located in a newly renovated historic landmark building.


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