Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe Of Florida Inc
1343 Main Street, Suite 402
Sarasota FL 34236
Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe
The mission of Westcoast Black Theatre is to produce shows that promote and celebrate the African-American experience, attract diverse audiences, support and develop African-American artists, and build the self-esteem of African-American youth.
CEO/Executive Director Mr. Richard M. Parison Jr.
Board Chair Julie Leach
Board Chair Company Affiliation Philanthropist
History and Background
Organization DBA
Tax Exempt Status Public Supported Charity
Supported Organization NA
Awarded a competitive grant from Community Foundation in the last 5 years? Yes
Incorporation Year 1999
Financial Summary
Projected Revenue $1,181,382.00
Projected Expenses $1,177,872.00
Additional Documents
IRS Letter of Determination
IRS Determination Letter
State Info
State Charitable Solicitations Permit Yes Sept 2015
State Registration Yes Sept 2017


  • Established a higher level of financial stability with increased donor base, subscribers up to 3500, built a base of cash reserves.
  • Purchased theatre location at 1646 10th Way – now our customers know where to find us, we can rehearse in the same venue that we perform, we can do outreach with children and other populations we wish to engage.
  • Increased the reach of our theatre program to an annual audience of over 20,000; increased our number of shows during regular season to 4, added a summer series, as well as a fall production.
2014-2015 Goals:
  • Celebrate our 15th Anniversary in the community.
  • Continue to increase artistic quality of our productions.
  • Explore the possibilities for the future of our Education and Artist Development Program.
  • Prepare to announce our Capital and Endowment Campaign  
  • Using national Best Practices, refine our Development Action Plan. Introduce new Annual Fund for Individual Giving, Corporate Giving and Production Sponsorships.
  • Establish the Christine Jennings StarPower Fund as a precursor to an endowment campaign which meaningfully contributes to the stability of the organization
The Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe of Florida, Inc. (WBTT) was founded and incorporated as a Florida not-for-profit 501(c)(3) organization on December 17, 1999 by Nate Jacobs. It is the only African-American theatre company on Florida's West Coast.
 Since its inception, WBTT has mentored and inspired many African-American adults and youth through participation in the company's productions. WBTT provides a platform for artistic individuals who might not otherwise have opportunities to cultivate their artistic interests and talents. A number of aspiring professional artists trained in the WBTT performing arts program have gone on to work with such national and regional companies as The Black Theatre Troupe, Phoenix, AZ; The Cumberland County Playhouse, Crossville, TN; Florida Studio Theatre, Sarasota, FL; The Asolo Repertory Theatre, Sarasota, FL; Stage Door Theatre, Coral Springs, FL; and Mad River Theatre, West Liberty, OH and some are performing on Broadway.
 WBTT currently offers four mainstage productions during its regular season. We have added additional matinee performances for every production to accommodate demand for tickets. Reviews for all productions have been excellent and audience satisfaction is at an all-time high. The number of season subscribers has increased from 2,520 to 3,646 over the past three years (a 45% increase). In 2013, WBTT was one of 39 companies from across the nation invited to perform at the National Black Theatre Festival in Winston-Salem, NC, out of more than 140 applicants. The response was so overwhelmingly positive that WBTT's "Soul Crooners" was the only show that was invited to come back "by popular demand" to do 4 shows in May 2014.
Westcoast Black Theatre welcomes donors who might wish to make a gift of to support any of these critical needs:
  • With gifts ranging from $500 to $5,000, donors can help us provide support to our professional regional theatre, assisting us in promoting the diversity and inclusionary opportunities in our community.   
  • Additional affordable housing opportunities for artists who do not reside in Sarasota.  
  • Raise Capital Funds our our campus renovation to be announced in the coming year.   
  • Build Endowment ($1,000,000) and increase annual funding ($100,000) to fund more paid staff sufficient to accommodate our rapid growth, and to be able to provide employee benefits for our full-time employees
  • Create an education and artists mentoring program.
Statement from the CEO/Executive Director

As the only professional black theatre company on Florida’s west coast, the Westcoast Black Theatre is an irreplaceable part of the area’s rich artistic community. It provides not only exciting professional theatre experiences but also a platform for gifted individuals who might not otherwise have an opportunity to cultivate their interests and talents.

We keep our mission statement at the forefront in everything we do.  

Since arriving in 2014, I have been impressed with our organization's commitment to the community and also with the community's commitment to our organization.  I look forward to continuing the upward trajectory left by retiring CEO, Christine Jennings.

In the past five years, we have increased our winter season from three shows running three weeks each to a season of four shows running five weeks each. We have also added two summer shows.  We have this year added a 5th MainStage production at the holiday season.   We will continue to explore the feasibility of a summer production.

Our financial picture is fiscally sound. Currently our annual budget is approximately $1.4 million and our revenue is derived from three main sources: ticket sales (50%); Contributed Revenue (50%).  Our desire is to continue to provide the highest quality entertainment at affordable prices -- with that in mind, we need to evaluate our current pricing structure to make sure we are aligned with colleague theaters in the region.

Although our accomplishments have been many, we are looking ahead to new ways of reaching out to the community and increasing our impact on the community through our professional offerings.  

I want to assure all our stakeholders that fiscal responsibility is of the upmost importance to us and that we steward contributions as well as we steward the artistic mission.  We value your investment in our mission. And, we appreciate your desire to help us expand and provide exciting entertainment as only the Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe can do.
Richard M. Parison, Jr. 
Statement from the Board Chair/Board President Four years ago, under the management of our now retired Chief Executive Officer, Christine Jennings, and then Board Chair, Howard Millman, WBTT began a reconstitution of the Board of Directors and the governance of WBTT.  WBTT had excellent artistic leadership under our Founder and Artistic Director, Nate Jacobs, and had developed a good reputation and enthusiastic audience in the area for its productions, but the theatre group had few financial resources, numerous debts and various performance venues. 

Since that time, Christine, Nate and the Board have worked together to build our financial resources, eliminate our debts, secure a stable performance venue, and improve our governance procedures, all while expanding the quality, quantity and reach of our outstanding artistic productions.

This is our foiurth year in our new theatre space! Having our own space is allowing us to fully accomplish our mission to produce plays that promote and celebrate the African-American experience, attract diverse audiences, support and develop African-American artists and build the self-esteem of African-American youth. In addition to presenting a full range of African American experience through our performances, we are now able to engage young students in the area through visits to the theatre, hold special events like our Martin Luther King, Jr. special event in January, and host events with other organizations at our theatre which bring even more cultural diversity to Sarasota. We can even extend our sold-out shows and extend our production season!

Our biggest challenges at this time are to continue to build our financial stability while at the same time beginning a major capital and endowment campaign.  Building capacity takes time and we are excited about what the future holds.     
Julie Leach
Areas Served
Areas Served
FL- Sarasota
FL- Manatee
FL- Charlotte
FL- Hillsborough
Service Categories
Primary Org Type Arts,Culture & Humanities
Description  Mission: To produce shows that promote and celebrate the African-American experience, attract diverse audiences, support and develop African-American artists, and build the self-esteem of African-American youth. Artistic Director Nate Jacobs has brought shows to life that celebrate the contributions of African-Americans to Arts—Cab Calloway, Marvin Gaye, Josephine Baker, Sammy Davis Jr., Lorraine Hansberry, Fats Waller, and more.

Mr. Jacobs seeks out and nurtures local talent to bring Broadway-quality entertainment to the arts scene and offers a showcase for those voices often underserved in the community.

Audiences are treated to an intimacy that offers them the opportunity to feel a part of each show seldom experienced. From the jubilation of "Five Guys Named Moe" to the heartbreak of "A Raisin in the Sun," and the sheer joy of "Soul Crooners"—WBTT offers more than a passive experience, but instead gives theatergoers a chance to connect with performers in a meaningful way.

Budget $64,000
Category Arts, Culture & Humanities, General/Other Performing Arts
Program linked to organizational strategy? Yes
Population Served General/Unspecified
Short Term Success
  • Increase audience diversity
  • Longer season with increased number of performances
  • Expand the audience reach beyond Sarasota
Long Term Success
  •  Theater productions to be performed year-round
  •  Actors to establish a career practicing their craft
  •  WBTT conduct successful touring productions
How Program is Monitored
  • Numbers of performances per year
  • Ticket sales analysis
  • Audience demographic survey


Examples of Program Success
  • The number of performances increased from 44 in 2009-2010 to 118 in the 2010-2011 season.
  • Number of attendees increased from approximately 4400 in 2009-2010 to 17,390 in 2010-2011
  • Number of season subscriptions sold increased from 1740in 2010-2011 season to 2518 in 2011-2012 season.
WBTT seeks to bring youth and school groups to performances that are appropriate for their age group and experiences.  Groups from organizations such as Booker High School, Boys and Girls Club, and the Dream Center in Bradenton have participated in this program. 
In addition, members of the Troupe have visited on location to conduct theater workshops and classes in theater etiquette.
Budget $3,500
Category Arts, Culture & Humanities, General/Other General Arts Education
Program linked to organizational strategy? Yes
Population Served Children and Youth (0 - 19 years)
Short Term Success
  • Students will learn of history and heritage through the WBTT performances.
  • WBTT will collaborate with other organizations to educate youth in the Arts. 
Long Term Success
  • Children's Theater - programs for children and youth to learn the craft of theater, both on and behind the stage.  Performances will be staged to showcase the talent of the performer and the expertise of the technical crew.
  • Outreach - children and youth that are normally unable to attend performances for economic reasons will be able to see shows that are appropriate for their age group.
  • Theater Etiquette classes will be conducted on a regular basis in schools in the area
How Program is Monitored
  • WBTT will monitor the numbers of students brought to performances through our outreach program.
Examples of Program Success
  • Students from various schools and organizations have been able to attend performances at WBTT.
WBTT provides tickets for performances to groups that are normally unable to attend due to economic reasons.  Some of the groups that have participated in this program include:
Newtown Senior Friendship Center
J H Floyd Sunshine Meadows
Senior Friendship Center
North Sarasota Library
Second Chance Last Opportunity
Budget $5,000
Category Arts, Culture & Humanities, General/Other Performing Arts
Program linked to organizational strategy? Yes
Population Served Adults Other Economic Level
Short Term Success
Several organizations in the Sarasota area have been able to participate in bringing people to performances at WBTT.
Long Term Success
WBTT will continue to provide the theater experience for economically disadvantaged people.
How Program is Monitored
Success determined by numbers of individuals receiving tickets through the Outreach program.
Examples of Program Success
350 people have participated in the Outreach program.
CEO/Executive Director
Executive Director Mr. Richard M. Parison Jr.
CEO Term Start Sept 2014
Email rparison@wbttsrq.org
Full Time Staff 8
Part Time Staff 2
Volunteers 82
Contractors 52
Staff Retention Rate % 80
Professional Development Yes
Management Reports to Board Yes
Organization Plans
Fundraising Plan Yes
Communication Plan Yes
Strategic Plan No
Strategic Plan Years 3
Strategic Plan Adopted 2011
Management Succession Plan Yes
Policies and Procedures No
Continuity of Operations Plan Yes
Senior Staff
James Dodge Production Manager
Debra Flynt-Garrett Development Officer
Nate Jacobs Founder and Artistic Director
Eleanor Miller Box Office Manager
Juanita Munford Stage Manager
Travis Ray Operations Manager
Formal Evaluations
CEO Formal Evaluation Yes
Senior Management Formal Evaluation Yes
NonManagement Formal Evaluation Yes
WBTT troupe members have performed for many different civic organizations and philanthropic groups to the mutual benefit of various charities. These include:
The Jewish Federation of Sarasota-Manatee
The Senior Friendship Center
Theatre Odyssey
Sarasota Chamber of Commerce
Second Chance Last Opportunity
Women's Resource Center
Designing Women Boutique
Fine Arts Society
Sarasota County Bar Association
Institute for the Ages
Glasser Schoenbaum Human Services Center
The Longboat Key Education Center
Realize Bradenton
Christ Child Society
Temple Beth Shalom
Chabad of Bradenton & Lakewood Ranch
Unitarian Church
Sertoma Club
Big Brothers and Big Sisters
Boys and Girls Club
Handy AwardSarasota Herald Tribune2011
Curtain Call AwardSarasota Herald Tribune2011
Arts Leadership AwardArts and Cultural Alliance of Sarasota County2010
Nate JacobsCommunity Video Archives2013
Boundary Crosser - Christine JenningsSCOPE2013
Arts Leadership Award for Volunteer of the Year - WBTT Trustee Mike RosarioArts and Cultural Alliance2013
Arts Leadership Award for Cultural Champion - WBTT Trustee Howard MillmanArts and Cultural Alliance2013
Government Licenses
Is your organization licensed by the Government?
Nondiscrimination Policy Yes
Whistle Blower Policy No
Document Destruction Policy Yes
Directors and Officers Insurance Policy No
Board Chair
Board Chair Julie Leach
Company Affiliation Philanthropist
Board Term Oct 2011 to Sept 2015
Email julie.leach@comcast.net
Board Members
Board Members
Marvin Albert Community Volunteer
Cheryl Anderson Partner - Cavanaugh & Co, LLP
Chris Caswell Attorney - Caswell Legal
Kitty Cranor Community Volunteer
Michael Gardiner Community Volunteer
Seymour Goldblatt Community Volunteer
June Gordon Community Volunteer
Len Gumley Community Volunteer
Dr. Jaih Jackson Owner, American Family Dental
Alan Kurland Realtor
Julie Leach Philanthropist
Margie Nellum Lee Community Volunteer
Howard Millman Former Asolo Artistic Director - Actor
Dr. Randall Morgan Sarasota Orthopedic Associates
Marian Moss Manager - Commercial Real Estate Development
Roger Pettingell Coldwell Banker Previews
Mary Ann Robinson Philanthropist
Mike Rosario Owner, RoseBay Real Estate
Eva Slane Former Theatrical Agent - Community Volunteer
Lois Watson Community Volunteer
Student serving on the board through Community Youth Development? No
Board Demographics - Ethnicity
African American/Black 5
Asian American/Pacific Islander 0
Caucasian 15
Hispanic/Latino 0
Native American/American Indian 0
Other 0 0
Board Demographics - Gender
Male 11
Female 9
Unspecified 0
Board Term Lengths 3
Board Term Limits 0
Board Orientation Yes
Board Meeting Attendance % 80
Number of Full Board Meetings Annually 11
Board Self-Evaluation Yes
Written Board Selection Criteria Yes
Written Conflict of Interest Policy Yes
Percentage of Board Making Monetary Contributions 100
Percentage of Board Making In-Kind Contributions 25
Constituency Includes Client Representation Yes
Standing Committees
Community Outreach / Community Relations
Board Governance
Development / Fund Development / Fund Raising / Grant Writing / Major Gifts
Financial Info
Fiscal Year 2014
Projected Revenue $1,181,382.00
Projected Expenses $1,177,872.00
Endowment Value $10,000.00
IRS Form 990s
990 20132013
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$43,403$0$0
Individual Contributions$1,136,851$544,446$538,773
Investment Income, Net of Losses$1,473$1,910$209
Membership Dues$0$0$0
Special Events$142,533$0$0
Revenue In-Kind$24,193$22,014$24,546
Expense Allocation
Fiscal Year201320122011
Program Expense$916,921$576,446$422,113
Administration Expense$304,427$282,930$337,206
Fundraising Expense$18,078$55,871$66,730
Payments to Affiliates$0$0$0
Total Revenue/Total Expenses1.521.181.17
Program Expense/Total Expenses74%64%51%
Fundraising Expense/Contributed Revenue1%10%12%
Assets and Liabilities
Fiscal Year201320122011
Total Assets$1,883,781$734,694$332,233
Current Assets$1,350,278$652,081$259,565
Long-Term Liabilities$0$0$0
Current Liabilities$994,002$472,109$232,282
Total Net Assets$889,779$262,585$99,951
Top Funding Sources
Fiscal Year201320122011
Top Funding Source & Dollar AmountContributions, gifts, grants $1,136,851Contributions, gifts, grants $544,446Contributions, gifts, grants $538,773
Second Highest Funding Source & Dollar AmountTicket Sales $479,491Ticket Sales $476,018Ticket Sales $357,627
Third Highest Funding Source & Dollar AmountFundraising $142,533Other $26,493Concession Income $26,435
CEO Compensation
Co-CEO Compensation
Short Term Solvency
Fiscal Year201320122011
Current Ratio: Current Assets/Current Liabilities1.361.381.12
Long Term Solvency
Fiscal Year201320122011
Long-Term Liabilities/Total Assets0%0%0%
Capital Campaign
Currently in a Capital Campaign? No
Capital Campaign Anticipated in Next 5 Years? Yes
Financials Comments
Financial Comments by Foundation
Financial figures based on IRS Form 990. Individual contributions include foundation and corporate support. 2009 Form 990 represented a shortened fiscal year-- 1/1/2009- 9/30/2009.  Organization includes in-kind services in revenue computation.
Nonprofit Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe Of Florida Inc
Address 1343 Main Street, Suite 402
Sarasota, FL 34236
Primary Phone 941 366-1505
CEO/Executive Director Mr. Richard M. Parison Jr.
Board Chair Julie Leach
Board Chair Company Affiliation Philanthropist
Year of Incorporation 1999