The Manatee Players Inc
502 3rd Avenue West
Bradenton FL 34205-8660

"To represent, enrich and promote diverse artists and art forms.  The Manatee Players, Inc. and its performance venue, Manatee Performing Arts Center, serve as a significant cultural, educational and economic resource for the Florida Gulf Coast region."

CEO/Executive Director Ms. Janene M. Witham
Board Chair Dr Anthony T. Pizzo Jr.
Board Chair Affiliation Bradenton Cardiology Center
General Info
Organization DBA
Manatee Players
Manatee Performing Arts Center
Supported Organization
Former Names
Tax Exempt Status Public Supported Charity
Incorporation Year 1951
Awarded competitive grant from Community Foundation in the last 5 years? Yes
State Charitable Solicitations Permit Yes May 2016
State Registration No 0
IRS Letter of Determination
Financial Summary
Projected Revenue $2,810,476.00
Projected Expenses $2,916,742.00
Other Documents
Impact Statement

The impact of The Manatee Players, Inc. reaches beyond entertaining thousand of audience participants annually...We change lives. 

Our impact can be summed up in the following quote by Manatee Players Past President and child actor:

"I was taught how to present myself, how to express my thoughts and feelings.  It was a very vocational endeavor for me, and my experiences with The Manatee Players, Inc. definitely made me a better attorney!"  Bob also acknowledges "The Manatee Players helped me develop confidence and skills in teamwork, communication, organization, and leadership that have helped me play a supportive role in other positive community organizations."
                                                                        Bob Blalock, ESQ
Recent 2013 Accomplishments:
  • The opening of the Manatee Performing Arts Center
  • Installation of a state-of-the-art digital cinema and surround sound package in Stone Hall funded by the William G. & Marie Selby Foundation.
  • Retired a little more than 18% of capital debt within 4 months of the new facility being fully operational.
  • Established a Small Theatre Series (Bradenton Kiwanis Theater - a transitional space enhances an audience's appreciation of artists and their skills in approaching theatrical art forms in new ways.)
  • The Board of Directors moved from an operational management board to a strategic focus Board of Directors.

Recent 2014 Accomplishments and Goals

  • Purchased two 10 passenger trams (The trams allow us to transport people from area parking structures to the front entrance.)
  • Funded and installed a new wireless & rechargeable sound system in Stone Hall.
  • Forged a new partnership with the Sarasota Film Festival and Bradenton Movieville Festival.
  • Launch a series of  performance and technical based conservatory classes/workshops for all ages.
  • Establish policies and procedures for endowment funding.
  • Identify and develop new outreach markets and programs. 
Needs Statement
It is a priority of The Manatee Players, Inc. to provide every facility patron an enjoyable experience.  The organization's top 5 most pressing needs embrace the patrons experience:
  1. Parking - With an aging population many patrons do not get around as well as they once did.  Therefore The Manatee Players, Inc. is committed to identifying, purchasing and providing safe, close parking. $500,000
  2. Sound - A sound problem has been identified in Stone Hall, and the need to hire an acoustical consultant and purchase sound-blocking and sound-absorption products has been established. $18,500
  3. Lighting - The Manatee Players, Inc. relies on the lighting inventory of many other organizations in order to properly light each production.  Now with the implementation of the small theater series lighting demands are higher.  Often one lighting design must suffer do to lack of lighting instruments available. Full campaign $58,000 - $14,500 raised to date.
  4. Facilities Manager - The Manatee Performing Arts Center is in need of additional staff, specifically in the department of facility management.  $48,000
  5. Outreach/Marketing - With the opening of the Manatee Performing Arts Center, branding of the facility, internal programs and organization has become a primary focus.  The company needs to complete the following: a value assessment, brand/logo study and create a media portfolio.  $12,500
Background Statement
   Founded in December, 1947, by members of the Bradenton Junior Women's Club The Manatee Players, Inc. incorporated in 1951.   
   In 1953, due to the inspiration of The Manatee Players, Inc. first President, Dr. W.D. Sugg, and generosity of Mr. & Mrs. Edward Bishop the Riverfront Theater was built and dedicated to the Bishops.  People quickly embraced Manatee Players, showing a deep-rooted passion for the arts, and supported the grass-roots organization enabling it to become a focal point of the cultural growth in Manatee County.
   Although the group was originally referred to as the "local little theater movement", it continued to grow and flourish by producing such nationally recognized plays as "Oklahoma", "The Diary of Anne Frank", "The Music Man", "The Sound of Music", "Joseph and the Technicolor Dream Coat", "Wizard of Oz" and "Hair Spray".   In 2001, a capital campaign was established to design, build, and open Manatee County's first fully functioning cultural center.  The Manatee Performing Arts Center opened in March of 2013, after receiving contributions from more than 3,000 individual households.  The organization's passion for excellent theatre and community outreach, combined with its commitment to improving the quality of life for the people they serve, ensures The Manatee Players, Inc. and its new performance venue the Manatee Performing Arts Center will remain a significant component of the cultural fabric of the Florida Gulf Coast region.
Areas Served
Areas Served
FL- Hillsborough
FL- Manatee
FL- Sarasota
Service Categories
Primary Org Type Arts,Culture & Humanities
Secondary Org Type Public & Societal Benefit
Tertiary Org Type Community Improvement, Capacity Building
Theatre, Youth Education, theater, Performing Arts, meeting space
Statement from the Board Chair/Board President

As the Chairman of the Board of Directors, I would like to take this opportunity to thank all who have made the growth and development of our organization possible.

The last letter of this type I wrote explained why I became involved and what encouraged me to pursue the challenge to “Raising the Curtain” in the Manatee Performing Arts Center. Now that the curtain has been raised many times for many great shows, we shift our focus to laying the ground work for the future of The Manatee Players, Inc. and the Manatee Performing Arts Center.

Our organization has become a major driver in the development of downtown Bradenton and a tremendous community resource for the support and growth of the arts in our community.

We continue to expand and diversify our programs and will continue to develop our organization to meet the needs of our community.

 I have been blessed with talented people to work with during the completion of the Manatee Performing Arts Center. With the faith and support of our staff, patrons, volunteers and community we were able to achieve our primary goal, “Raising the Curtain”. 

With the ongoing support of our community, I believe we have a bright future ahead of us.

Thank you again for your support.


Anthony T. Pizzo, Jr. M.D.

2013-2014 Chairman, Board of Directors of The Manatee Players, Inc.

Statement from the CEO/Executive Director
   The Manatee Players is more than a venue for entertainment.  The organization has been, and will remain, an anchor for the downtown cultural arts district and a national leader among its peer organizations committed to providing opportunities that transform lives.  With so much successful years as a theatrical/educational institution, The Manatee Players has built a reputation of not only providing nationally acclaimed live entertainment, but also a willingness to collabrate with other organizations to meet the educational and social needs of a diverse and growing community.  Partners include:
  • Manatee County School District
  • Feld Entertainment
  • Realize Bradenton
  • Manatee Educational Foundation
  • Boys and Girls Club of Manatee County
  • Bradenton Kiwanis Club
  • Sertoma of South Manatee
The Manatee Players, Inc. and its facility provide year round performance based conservatory classes and workshops. Programs are specifically designed to offer young performers the opportunity to participate in theatrical, dance, technical and/or vocal experiences while gaining skills in creative thinking, problem-solving, oral communication and cross-cultural understanding as well as self confidence.
  • Technique (dance, vocal, acting etc.) classes will run in 4 month cycles starting September 2014, at $200 each
  • Summer intensive camps run 9-5 Monday - Friday and range in price $400 and $600 per student. 

It is the of the desire of The Manatee Players, Inc. never to deny a student the opportunity to participate in any class, camp or workshop because of financial restraints. 

Budget $31,500
Category Arts, Culture & Humanities, General/Other Theater Arts Instruction
Program Linked to Organizational Strategy Yes
Population Served K-12 (5-19 years)
Short Term Success
By the end of the program, 95% will experience increased self esteemed, ability to work productivity in a group environment and the ability to follow stage directions.
Long Term Success
  • For youth completing a full camp program, 60% will audition and be cast in a future mainstage production.
  • Youth learn confidence skills is performance based activity's
  • A creative outlet has been recorded to relieve day to day stress.
Program Success Monitoring
Parent written and verbal surveys of child's improvements, increased abilities and/or social skills.
Program Success Examples
"Looking back on our experiences at the theater, I appreciate the time it brought my family together and gave us something wonderfully fulfilling to share.  I was taught how to present myself, how to express my thoughts and feelings.  It was a very vocational endeavor for me and my experiences with The Manatee Players definitely made me a better attorney!"
Bob Blalock Esq.
  • Provide directorial assistance, props, costumes and scenic pieces for schools and student competitions.
  • Tour productions of social significance to elementary and middle schools.
  • Teach specialized classes that augment school curriculum.
Budget $28,000
Category Arts, Culture & Humanities, General/Other
Program Linked to Organizational Strategy Yes
Population Served K-12 (5-19 years)
Short Term Success
  • Of the public 6th grade middle school children enrolled in Manatee County, 90% will experience a live theatrical production.
Long Term Success
  • For students receiving directorial assistance in the local History Fair competition, 80% will advance to the national level.
Program Success Monitoring
  • Teacher, Student & Counselor surveys are giving pre and post performance.
Program Success Examples
History fair student portraying Eva Perone placed 1st in the 2012 National Competition, under the directoring support of The Manatee Players.

The "Light It Up" fund campaign is designed to bring both awareness to the technical importance of lighting to a production as well as raise donations to purchase additional theatrical lighting fixtures. The program includes a 15 minute theatrical lighting demonstration and explanation of needed lighting instrument upgrades.  The demonstration will be provided nightly prior to our main stage production of Man of La Mancha by donor and Master Electrician Thomas Sparks.

The identified lighting instruments needed are:

  1. 2 moving lights ($12,500 each)
  2. 15 LED Wash Lights ($1,600 each)
  3. 15 Profile Fixtures and additional lens ($434 each)
Budget $56,510
Category Arts, Culture & Humanities, General/Other
Program Linked to Organizational Strategy Yes
Population Served General/Unspecified
Short Term Success By the ens of the 15 minute presentation audience members will have better understand the contrition lighting make to telling our stage stories as well as hoe LED lights are energy efficient.
Long Term Success

The success of this program will give Lighting Designers the tools they need to provide the full emotional live entertainment.  Telling great stories in our Stone Hall Space.

Program Success Monitoring Our success will be determined by the level of interest in raising funds towards the Light It Up fund campaign.
Program Success Examples Theatrical Lighting is an extension of how directors and designers take scripts and shop drawing and produce a story that can stir any emotion. Lighting brings the dramatic imagination to life.
Program Comments by Organization
The current challenges facing The Manatee Players, Inc. is a sense of finding new normal with the new performing arts facility.  Currently we have only occupied the entire new facility for only 5 months.  On a daily bases we are listening to patrons and staff's recommendations and doing our best to incorporate as much as we are learning as quickly as possible.  We believe it will take a full 12 months to totally shake out the new facility and hope that while we do patrons will preserver, and continue to provide us opportunities for positive improvements.
Program Comments by Foundation
CEO/Executive Director
CEO/Executive Director Ms. Janene M. Witham
CEO Term Start Mar 2012
CEO/Executive Director Email

Janene brings her team building attitude to the helm of the Manatee Performing Arts Center - Manatee Players vision.  Her experience spans multiple sectors- arts, marketing, education, corporate, entrepreneurship, non-profit and community. With a belief in the importance of grassroots/collaborative marketing and fundraising, Janene is focused on broadening the support of the Manatee Performing Arts Center. She is a graduate of the 2005 class of Leadership Manatee and the 2003 class of Manatee County Citizens Academy. Active in our community, she is a member of Bradenton Kiwanis, ABWA, American Fundraising Professionals, a life member of the VFW Ladies Auxiliary and a past chair Manatee County's 14th Street CRA advisory board. Ms. Witham holds a Certificate in Non-Profit Management from Winchester Center. Prior to Ms. Witham employment with The Manatee Players, Inc. she was an owner operator of Manatee Apparel Graphics, an in-house screen printing, embroidery and promotional product manufacturing company located in Bradenton.

Former CEOs/Executive Directors
Senior Staff
Ms. Mary E. Johnson Finance/Human Relations Director
Mr. Rick Kerby Producing Artistic Director
Mrs. Susan Romine Development Officer
Staff & Volunteer Statistics
Full Time Staff 10
Part Time Staff 2
Staff Retention Rate % 100
Professional Development Yes
Contractors 70
Volunteers 300
Management Reports to Board No
CEO/Executive Director Formal Evaluation N/A
Senior Management Formal Evaluation Yes
Non-Management Formal Evaluation Yes
The Manatee Players has active collaborative relationships with:
  • Manatee Community Foundation
  • Realize Bradenton
  • Manatee Cultural Alliance
  • Manatee County School Board
  • Manatee Historical Society
  • Bradenton Kiwanis Club
  • Sarasota Film Festival
External Assessments and Accreditations
Awards & Recognition
Risk Management Provisions
Automobile Insurance
Commercial General Insurance
Directors and Officers Policy
Disability Insurance
General Property Coverage
Life Insurance
Medical Health Insurance
Workers Compensation and Employers' Liability
Government Licenses
Organization Licensed by the Government No
Fundraising Plan No
Communication Plan No
Strategic Plan Yes
Strategic Plan Years 3
Strategic Plan Adopted Apr 2014
Management Succession Plan Yes
Policies and Procedures Yes
Continuity of Operations Plan No
Nondiscrimination Policy Yes
Whistle Blower Policy Yes
Document Destruction Policy Yes
Directors and Officers Insurance Policy No
Management Comments by Organization
In March of 2012 the Manatee Players hired its first Executive Director in 9 years.   Since that date the organization has under gone some major changes and challenges.  Four new teams have been formed to help the organization complete and implement various plans.
  1. Risk Management is in the process of completing the Manatee Players first Succession Plan and updating the organizations Policy and Procedures.
  2. Safety/OSHA Committee is working with USF to author a facilities safety manual specific to a performing arts building, inclusive of tag out lock reports, almost misses reports, a weekly shop meeting agenda etc.
  3. Business Commitee mentors the Executive Director and was extremely helpful in establishing a new job description template.
  4. Marketing Commitee is working on a written marketing plan, communications plan as well as establishing bi-annual audience survey's.
Management Comments by Foundation
Board Chair
Board Chair Dr Anthony T. Pizzo Jr.
Company Affiliation Bradenton Cardiology Center
Board Term July 2013 to June 2014
Board Chair Email
Board Members
Board Members
Mr. Ron Allen NDC Construction
Mr. Steve O. Bayard Community Volunteer
Mrs Linda Diem Community Leader
Mr. Jeff Evans Community Volunteer
Mr. Randy Hanson Community Vounteer
Mr. John Hargreaves Maintenance Too Paper Company
Mr. Jack Hawkins Grimes, Gobel, Hawkins & Galvano
Dr. Ron Lennon PhDUSF - Sarasota Manatee
Mr. Jason Lipton Trident Technical Solutions/SkillStorm, Inc
Mr. Thomas Moseley Thomas A. Moseley, Chartered
Ms Fay Murphy Retired Music Educator
Mrs. Pat Pickelsimer Manatee Printers, Inc.
Dr. Anthony T Pizzo JrBradenton Cardiology Center
Mr. David Schrott Retired Nonprofit Executive Director
Mrs. Arline Spino Retired R.N./Realtor
Dr. Steve Tinsworth Tinsworth Orthodontics
Ms. Patricia Whitesel Retired Advertising Public Relations
Student serving on the board through Community Youth Development? No
Board Demographics - Ethnicity
African American/Black 0
Asian American/Pacific Islander 0
Caucasian 17
Hispanic/Latino 0
Native American/American Indian 0
Other 0
Board Demographics - Gender
Male 12
Female 5
Unspecified 0
Board Term Lengths 3
Board Term Limits 3
Board Orientation Yes
Number of Full Board Meetings Annually 12
Board Meeting Attendance % 77
Board Self-Evaluation Yes
Written Board Selection Criteria Yes
Written Conflict of Interest Policy Yes
% of Board Making Monetary Contributions 100
% of Board Making In-Kind Contributions 100
Constituency Includes Client Representation Yes
Standing Committees
Board Governance
Development / Fund Development / Fund Raising / Grant Writing / Major Gifts
Governance Comments by Organization
The largest challenge/opportunity facing The Manatee Players, Inc. is the unknown... although The Manatee Players, Inc. has been apart of the region for more than 64 years, moving into the Manatee Performing Arts Center and establishing many new community wide programs both within the art of acting as well as other performance based entertainment is a challenge the entire organization from the board of directors to the loyal volunteer are willing to face head on.  
Governance Comments by Foundation
Fiscal Year Projections
Fiscal Year Begins 2014
Fiscal Year Ends 2015
Projected Revenue $2,810,476.00
Projected Expenses $2,916,742.00
Endowment Value $550.00
Endowment Spending Policy Income Only
Endowment Spending Policy %
Capital Campaign
In a Capital Campaign Yes
Campaign Purpose New Performing Arts Facility and home of The Manatee Players
Campaign Goal $20,000,000.00
Campaign Dates July 2005 to 0
Amount Raised To Date 16500000 as of Jan 2013
Capital Campaign Anticipated in Next 5 Years? Yes
IRS Form 990s
Form 990 2012-20132013
Form 9902012
Historical Financial Review
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$2,678,974$663,635$32,686
Investment Income, Net of Losses$1,637$2,956$3,410
Membership Dues$0$0$0
Special Events$52,211$37,064$40,877
Revenue In-Kind$727,304$558,172$382,770
Expense Allocation
Fiscal Year201320122011
Program Expense$1,556,948$805,554$559,300
Administration Expense$109,792$115,320$243,938
Fundraising Expense$90,505$108,173$112,246
Payments to Affiliates$0$0$0
Total Revenue/Total Expenses1.681.981.54
Program Expense/Total Expenses60%78%61%
Fundraising Expense/Contributed Revenue3%9%19%
Assets and Liabilities
Fiscal Year201320122011
Total Assets$20,100,871$14,448,041$13,465,126
Current Assets$1,413,655$2,010,684$1,474,565
Long-Term Liabilities$3,855,806$2,798,450$2,798,450
Current Liabilities$2,724,222$705,130$728,061
Total Net Assets$13,520,843$10,944,461$9,938,615
Top Funding Sources
Fiscal Year201320122011
Top Funding Source & Dollar AmountContributions, gifts, grants $2,678,974Admissions $720,696Admissions $708,782
Second Highest Funding Source & Dollar AmountAdmissions $789,261Contributions, gifts, grants $663,635Federated Campaigns $503,582
Third Highest Funding Source & Dollar AmountIn-Kind Donations $727,304Federated campaigns $478,319Miscellaneous Program Service Revenue $59,750
CEO/Executive Director Compensation $50,001 - $75,000
Co-CEO/Executive Director Compensation
Tax Credits No
Short Term Solvency
Fiscal Year201320122011
Current Ratio: Current Assets/Current Liabilities0.522.852.03
Long Term Solvency
Fiscal Year201320122011
Long-Term Liabilities/Total Assets19%19%21%
Financials Comments
Financial Comments by Organization
Financial Comments by Foundation
Financials provided based on IRS Form 990 and audit documents. 990s and audits reconcile. Individual contributions include foundation/ corporate support, as reported in 990s.  The organization includes valuation of in-kind donations in its income statement.
Nonprofit The Manatee Players Inc
Address 502 3rd Avenue West
Bradenton, FL 342058660
Primary Phone 941 749-1111

Related Information

Spirit of Manatee

The Spirit of Manatee, an awards event held each February since 2006, publicly recognizes individuals and organizations for their philanthropic spirit and commitment to building a community legacy in Manatee County.