Womans Exchange Inc of Sarasota
539 S Orange Ave
Sarasota FL 34236
The Woman’s Exchange Inc of Sarasota is a non-profit, tax-exempt organization with a central purpose of supporting and enriching a variety of programs for local cultural organizations. Funds for this purpose are realized through a consignment operation in which merchandise is accepted either for donation or for consignment to be sold in its store. Grants and scholarships derived from the earnings of this store are used to enrich and strengthen arts-related programs and to encourage creativity in organizations and individuals throughout the community.
CEO/Executive Director Karen Ruth Koblenz
Board Chair Richard Gans
Board Chair Company Affiliation Fergeson, Skipper, Shaw, Keyser, Baron & Tirabassi, P.A.
History and Background
Former Names
Symphony Women’s Exchange
Tax Exempt Status Public Supported Charity
Awarded a competitive grant from Community Foundation in the last 5 years?
Incorporation Year 1962
Financial Summary
Projected Revenue $3,306,078.00
Projected Expenses $818,842.00
State Info
State Charitable Solicitations Permit Yes Nov 2015
State Registration Yes May 2016
The Woman’s Exchange is a self-sustaining, debt-free organization of vital importance to the community. Through the consignment operation, which consists of more than 230 volunteers and 5,000 consignors, the Woman’s Exchange has awarded a total of more than $7 million in grants and scholarships to support the arts of Sarasota and Manatee counties.

At the most recent awards ceremony, held in June of 2013, 58 grants and scholarships, totaling $256,000, were awarded to local cultural organizations and students pursuing higher education in the performing and visual arts.
Not as well-known is the fact that numerous humanitarian organizations, as well as those who benefit from their services, regularly receive donations of household items and clothing worth millions of dollars. 
Over the past two years alone, Woman’s Exchange has also paid out more than $3.5 million to its consignors, providing additional income to thousands of residents.

Most people recognize the Woman’s Exchange as a key supporter of the arts, but what many don’t realize is that the Woman’s Exchange was there from the beginning, long before Sarasota was considered a cultural arts center.

Incorporated in 1962, before major organizations such as Van Wezel, Sarasota Ballet, Florida Studio Theatre and Selby Gardens ever existed, the Woman’s Exchange, a non-profit consignment store, was initially established as a means of financial support for the Florida West Coast Symphony, now known as the Sarasota Orchestra. With an entrepreneurial spirit and a true vision, a small group of dedicated women decided to start a 501 (c) (3) business that would not only be self-sustaining but, also enable them to financially support the arts long after they were gone. Within one year, the store generated enough money to not only cover its operational expenses, but also award the symphony with a check for $3,800, a large sum at that time. In 1966, the board of directors voted to broaden their base of support to include a variety of cultural groups and activities and that year the monies earned were given to several cultural organizations.

As the Exchange grew and prospered, there was constant need for larger quarters. Four moves were made before the Exchange established a permanent home at 539 S. Orange Ave. in Sarasota’s Burns Court, on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places.

For most businesses, 12,000 square feet of retail space would be more than sufficient, but not for the Woman’s Exchange, which continues to evolve and expand. In September of 2011, thanks in part to the Selby Foundation; the Woman’s Exchange underwent a major renovation and design initiative enabling them to better meet the needs of their loyal shoppers and consignors. At the time of the renovations, the Woman’s Exchange was accepting consignments from an average of 1,300 consignors a month and processing roughly 11,000 unique times during that same time period. The grant received from the Selby Foundation was the first grant for which the Woman’s Exchange ever applied or received. All operational, grant and scholarship monies are generated through sales made at their retail store and the good old fashioned hard work of its staff, volunteers and loyal shoppers.

In 2012, the Woman's Exchange purchased the lot directly adjacent to its existing location with plans for future development and expansion.


Support from individuals who share the Woman’s Exchange’s vision and mission to support the arts of Sarasota and Manatee counties are enthusiastically accepted and appreciated. To help us surpass our 2013/2014 goal to award an impressive $250,000.00 in grants and scholarship, the organization's five most pressing needs are: 

·        Charitable Endowments – Together we can have an even greater impact on the Arts of Sarasota and Manatee counties and in the lives of area high school and college students. The Woman’s Exchange is one of Sarasota’s largest scholarship providers; imagine what we can accomplish together.
·        Donations of gently used merchandise are always appreciated, 100% of the proceeds go toward supporting our mission.

·       Volunteers are always needed.
Areas Served
Areas Served
FL- Sarasota
FL- Manatee
Service Categories
Primary Org Type Philanthropy,Voluntarism & Grantmaking Foundations
Secondary Org Type Arts,Culture & Humanities
Tertiary Org Type Education


To encourage creativity, grants are awarded annually that support and enrich a variety of programs for local Sarasota and Manatee county arts and cultural organizations.



Merit scholarships are annually awarded to area high school and college students pursuing a higher education in the performing and visual arts.
The VISION of the Woman's Exchange is to touch the heart and stimulate the creative mind of every adult and child in Sarasota and Manatee Counties, by financially supporting a vast and artistically diverse group of organizations, as well as students who aspire to be the world’s next generation of cultural influence.
Budget $250,000
Category Arts, Culture & Humanities, General/Other
Program linked to organizational strategy? Yes
Population Served Adults Adolescents Only (13-19 years)
Short Term Success

To award a minimum of $250,000 in grants and scholarships during the Woman's Exchange's 2013/2014 fiscal year.

Long Term Success
Ongoing year-after-year growth.
Program Success Monitored By

Based on fifty years of experience, the Woman's Exchange is proficient in not only evaluating applications for merit but also in monitoring the distribution of funds once a grant or scholarship has been awarded. Grants awarded are not paid until after the project has been completed and proper documentation provided and reviewed. Scholarships are mailed directly to the school.

Examples of Program Success
More than $7 million awarded since 1962.

Individuals can designate participating charities to receive consignor's profits, which is 65% of the sale price.

Budget $0
Category Arts, Culture & Humanities, General/Other
Program linked to organizational strategy? Yes
Population Served General/Unspecified
Short Term Success

To have a total of ten organizations actively participating in the program by the end of 2014.

Long Term Success

To help provide local art and cultural organizations with an ongoing source of revenue, further supporting the Woman's Exchange's mission.

Program Success Monitored By

The success of this program will be monitored by the amount of money paid out monthly/annually to local art and cultural organizations, based on the number of items consigned and sold under their specific consignment number. 

Examples of Program Success

During the 2012/2013 fiscal year, the Woman’s Exchange paid its consignors more than $1.9 million. Imagine the positive impact that consigning with the Woman’s Exchange could have on any area organization that actively solicited from their patrons donations of gently used furniture, clothing and household items.


Numerous humanitarian organizations, as well as those who benefit from their services, receive donations of clothing and household items.

Budget $0
Category Human Services, General/Other Household Goods Provision
Program linked to organizational strategy? No
Population Served Homeless Aging, Elderly, Senior Citizens Unemployed, Underemployed, Dislocated
Short Term Success

$42,218.55 worth of unsold merchandise was donated during the 2012/2013 fiscal year.


Long Term Success

Community Outreach – The overall goal of this program is to lend support to other non-profit humanitarian organizations. Donated merchandise can either be sold in their thrift shop or used to help those in need.

Program Success Monitored By Merchandise donated is tracked through an inventory based program and monitored on a monthly basis.
Examples of Program Success
Several million in unsold merchandise has been donated since 1962.

The consignment operation plays a critical role in the fulfillment of the Woman’s Exchanges mission. In addition to supporting numerous arts and cultural organizations, the Woman’s Exchange pays it consigners more than 1.5 million dollars annually further supporting the local economy.

Budget $0
Category Public, Society Benefit, General/Other Citizen Participation Programs
Program linked to organizational strategy? Yes
Population Served Adults Aging, Elderly, Senior Citizens General/Unspecified
Short Term Success During the Woman’s Exchange’s 2012/2013 fiscal year, a total of $1,971,936.00 was paid out to the organizations more than 5,000 consigners.
Long Term Success

In the past five years alone, more than $7.5 million was paid out to Woman’s Exchange consigners, all of whom live and play locally.


Program Success Monitored By All consignment sales are tracked through the Liberty software program, which ties to QuickBooks. Consignment checks are cut the last day of the month and are mailed to our consigners by no later than the second week of the following month.
Examples of Program Success


Not only did the Woman's Exchange filter $1,971,936 dollars back into the community during their 2012/2013 fiscal year but a total of 135,990 items, 7,431 of which was furniture were kept out of the landfills. Due to the success of the consignment operation, the Woman's Exchange was also able to award a total of $256,000 in grants and scholarships during that same period.


Program Comments by Organization

We at the Woman’s Exchange take great pride in being excellent stewards of what we’re entrusted with, whether it’s a cash donation, a donation of merchandise or items to be consigned. Maximization is our goal and “Waste Not, Want Not” our motto. With that in mind, although the “Unsold Items Donated to Local Charities” program listed above does not directly align with our mission, it does enable us to make the most of what’s been given to us and follows the organization's founding practices of reuse and community partnerships.


Since the primary goal of the Exchange is to sell as much merchandise as possible through the organization's consignment operation, a budget amount was not assigned to the “Unsold Items Donated to Local Charities” program. An inventory tracking system is, however, used to monitor all donated merchandise with dollar amounts tied to the organization's monthly financials.

CEO/Executive Director
Executive Director Karen Ruth Koblenz
CEO Term Start Aug 2010
Email kkoblenz@sarasotawex.com

Karen Koblenz, Executive Director and CEO, is just entering her 4th year at the Woman’s Exchange and is responsible for the recent remodel and upcoming expansion. Under her guidance, the Woman’s Exchange went from an operating budget of $2.1 million to more than $3.1 million in three short years.

Karen brings to the Exchange more than 19 years’ experience as an operations executive. Ten of those years were spent at the Pelican Press as general manager. Karen also held the position of Vice President of Sales and Marketing for Scene Magazine and was a corporate trainer for NRS.

Full Time Staff 9
Part Time Staff 12
Volunteers 260
Contractors 1
Staff Retention Rate % 55
Professional Development Yes
Management Reports to Board Yes
Organization Plans
Fundraising Plan No
Communication Plan No
Strategic Plan No
Strategic Plan Years N/A
Strategic Plan Adopted 0
Management Succession Plan No
Policies and Procedures Yes
Continuity of Operations Plan No
Former CEOs
Manager Helen Maniscalco Mar 2000 - Sept
Senior Staff
Trish Ivey Volunteer Coordinator
Formal Evaluations
CEO Formal Evaluation Yes
Senior Management Formal Evaluation Yes
NonManagement Formal Evaluation Yes
Whether it’s through the Exchange’s “Grants and Scholarship Program,” a “Consignment Partnership,” or its “Donations to Local Charities Program,” the Woman’s Exchange prides itself on collaborating with a number of non-profit organizations to help further support their missions.
Past grants and scholarships have been awarded to area high school and college students, the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall, Sarasota Opera, Westcoast Black Theater Troupe, The Players, Asolo Theatre, Art Center Sarasota, Banyan Theater Company, Florida Studio Theatre, Jazz Juvenocracy, Key Chorale, La Musica, Marie Selby Botanical Gardens, Sarasota Orchestra, Sarasota Pops Orchestra, Sarasota Senior Theater,Perlman Music Programand the Hermitage Artist Retreat to name a few.
Unsold clothing, household items and furniture are regularly donated to other worthwhile non-profit organizations such as Pines of Sarasota, Habitat for Humanity, Resurrection House and the Florida Department of Children & Families.
Organizations such as the Cancer Community Center, Senior Moves, the Wildlife Center and numerous others also benefit from consigning items donated to their cause through the Woman’s Exchange. Unlike the majority of the consignment stores in Sarasota and Manatee counties that pay their consignors 50%, the Woman’s Exchange pays its consignors 65% of the total sale.
Government Licenses
Is your organization licensed by the Government? No
Nondiscrimination Policy Yes
Whistle Blower Policy Yes
Document Destruction Policy Yes
Directors and Officers Insurance Policy No
Board Chair
Board Chair Richard Gans
Company Affiliation Fergeson, Skipper, Shaw, Keyser, Baron & Tirabassi, P.A.
Board Term July 2013 to June 2014
Email RGans@fergesonskipper.com
Board Members
Board Members
Rick Drass Sarasota Memorial
Richard Gans Fergeson, Skipper, Shaw, Keyser, Baron & Tirabassi, P.A.
Jeff Hart J Hart Interior Design
Mike Holmes Retired Banker
Elizabeth Lindsay Co-founder
Julie McClure Appraisals & Sales by Julie McClure, Inc.
Suzanne Raymond Retired Attorney
Laurel Roberts Retired Business Consultant
Sue Sweeney Coldwell Banker
Student serving on the board through Community Youth Development? No
Board Demographics - Ethnicity
African American/Black 0
Asian American/Pacific Islander 0
Caucasian 9
Hispanic/Latino 0
Native American/American Indian 0
Other 0
Board Demographics - Gender
Male 5
Female 4
Unspecified 0
Board Term Lengths 3
Board Term Limits 2
Board Orientation Yes
Board Meeting Attendance % 77
Number of Full Board Meetings Annually 11
Board Self-Evaluation Yes
Written Board Selection Criteria No
Written Conflict of Interest Policy Yes
Percentage of Board Making Monetary Contributions 0
Percentage of Board Making In-Kind Contributions 55
Constituency Includes Client Representation
Standing Committees
Special Events (Golf Tournament, Walk / Run, Silent Auction, Dinner / Gala)
Governance Comments by Organization In accordance with the general principals in which the organization was founded, the Woman’s Exchange is made-up of a working board. Although financial support is always welcome and greatly appreciated, it is in no way a prerequisite required of board members.
Financial Info
Fiscal Year 2014
Projected Revenue $3,306,078.00
Projected Expenses $818,842.00
Spending Policy N/A
IRS Form 990s
Historical Financials
Revenue SourcesHelpThe financial analysis involves a comparison of the IRS Form 990 and the audit report (when available) and revenue sources may not sum to total based on reconciliation differences. Revenue from foundations and corporations may include individual contributions when not itemized separately.
Fiscal Year201320122011
Foundation and
Corporation Contributions
Government Contributions$0$0$0
Individual Contributions$186,002$147,721$128,408
Investment Income, Net of Losses($5,819)$7,396$11,079
Membership Dues$0$0$0
Special Events$0$0$0
Revenue In-Kind$0$0$0
Expense Allocation
Fiscal Year201320122011
Program Expense$2,228,936$2,019,049$1,560,638
Administration Expense$829,491$738,336$720,940
Fundraising Expense$0$0$0
Payments to Affiliates$0$0$0
Total Revenue/Total Expenses1.091.041.05
Program Expense/Total Expenses73%73%68%
Fundraising Expense/Contributed Revenue0%0%0%
Assets and Liabilities
Fiscal Year201320122011
Total Assets$1,690,260$1,479,489$1,226,859
Current Assets$1,024,679$1,083,119$878,317
Long-Term Liabilities$0$0$0
Current Liabilities$314,382$374,083$232,732
Total Net Assets$1,375,876$1,105,406$994,127
Top Funding Sources
Fiscal Year201320122011
Top Funding Source & Dollar AmountConsignment Sales $3,114,985Consignment revenue (gross) $2,704,328Earned Revenue $2,187,831
Second Highest Funding Source & Dollar AmountContributions, gifts, grants $186,002Contributions, gifts, grants $139,221Individuals $128,408
Third Highest Funding Source & Dollar AmountOther Sales $16,987Interest & Dividends $14,368Foundations and Corporations $68,000
CEO Compensation
Co-CEO Compensation
Tax Credits No
Short Term Solvency
Fiscal Year201320122011
Current Ratio: Current Assets/Current Liabilities3.262.903.77
Long Term Solvency
Fiscal Year201320122011
Long-Term Liabilities/Total Assets0%0%0%
Capital Campaign
Currently in a Capital Campaign? No
Financials Comments
Financial Comments by Organization

Although the Woman’s Exchange does not have an established endowment at this time, the organization does have policies in place that govern how gifts of money are to be allocated. Please see below an excerpt from the Woman’s Exchange’s bylaws.




Section 1: Establishment of Funds.

By appropriate resolution, the Board of Directors may establish Endowment Funds into which monies may from time to time be deposited, which shall be kept separate and apart from any other funds of the Woman's Exchange, and which shall be considered Trust Funds and used or expended only in the manner herein provided. It is the intent hereof that in the administration of the Endowment Funds, the Endowment Fund Committee shall be guided by the wishes of the donors to said Fund in the use and disposition of any monies deposited therein, consistent with the purposes and intent of the Woman's Exchange operations.

Section 2: Administration of the Funds.

A. The Endowment Funds shall be administered by the Treasurer. At least quarterly the Endowment Fund Committee shall report, in writing, to the Board of Directors, the status of the Fund as to income, principal and any disbursements therefrom. The quarterly report shall also contain any recommendations to the Board of Directors for the expenditure of monies from the Fund.


B. The Endowment Fund Committee shall be responsible for investing monies deposited into the Funds and shall maintain (separate and apart from the other monies of the Organization), the accounts necessary for such purposes at a local depository selected by the Board of Directors. No withdrawals or disbursements of income or principal from any such account or accounts may be made except upon:


(1) the approval of the Board of Directors; and


(2) thereafter by checks or drafts requiring the signatures of the President of the Board and the Chairperson of the Endowment Fund Committee.


C. The Committee shall at each annual meeting, provide a comprehensive report to the Board of Directors respecting the gifts, investments, income and disbursements, and any other relevant information with respect to the Endowment Fund.


Section 3: Intent Respecting the Use of Funds.

It is declared to be the intent and purpose of the Organization in establishing Endowment Funds, to maintain and/or expand the programs of the Organization consistent with the written expression of the donor or donors, by applying a conservative approach consistent with the goals and aims of the Organization.
Financial Comments by Foundation
Financial figures taken from audit documents and reflect gross consignment purchases and revenue. Consignment payouts are included as program expense. Also see IRS Form 990s.
Nonprofit Womans Exchange Inc of Sarasota
Address 539 S Orange Ave
Sarasota, FL 34236
Primary Phone 941 955-7859
CEO/Executive Director Karen Ruth Koblenz
Board Chair Richard Gans
Board Chair Company Affiliation Fergeson, Skipper, Shaw, Keyser, Baron & Tirabassi, P.A.
Year of Incorporation 1962
Former Names
Symphony Women’s Exchange

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