Venice Symphony, Inc.
1515 S. Tamiami Trail
Southbridge Park, Suite 7
Venice FL 34285
The Venice Symphony provides music appreciation that integrates quality musical performances, accomplished musicians and educational opportunities to enrich the experiences of the community. 
CEO/Executive Director Ms. Christine Kasten
Board Chair Mr. Robert Anderson
Board Chair Affiliation Retired business professional
General Info
Organization DBA
The Venice Symphony
Tax Exempt Status Public Supported Charity
Incorporation Year 1974
Awarded competitive grant from Community Foundation in the last 5 years? Yes
State Charitable Solicitations Permit Yes July 2018
State Registration Yes Dec 2018
Financial Summary
Note: Revenue includes the value of in-kind contributions/donations
IRS Letter of Determination
IRS Letter of DeterminationView
Impact Statement
  • More than 200 students participated in the Venice Symphony Summer Music Camp in June 2017. 
  • Symphony members traveled to schools in the Sarasota County area demonstrating instruments for over 2,000 3rd grade students in 19 schools.  Three concerts were given near the end of the school year for all 3rd-grade students who participated in the demonstrations as well as home-schooled students. This past year our musicians also visited special needs classrooms
  • In 2016-17 we provided cultural enrichment to thousands of people at 18 classical and pops concerts performed by more than 80 professional musicians at the Venice Performing Arts Center 
  • Grew our Pre-Concert Talk Series, welcoming hundreds of people to 18 free informative discussions about the composers and selections of every concert this past season.
Goals for this coming year (2017-18)
  • Continue to offer summer music camp to all area students in grades 1 to 12, never turning away a student for inability to pay and welcoming the community to a free concert by these students at the Venice Performing Arts Center.
  • Introduce the community to our seven conductor candidates at our free Meet the Maestro Pre-Concert Talk Series and survey our audience regarding their experience  at these concerts as we select our new Music Director/Maestro in May 2018
  • Present an outstanding concert series of symphonic and popular music led by our seven conductor candidates and featuring more than 80 professional musicians and outstanding guest soloists, incorporating music selections from masterworks to challenging pieces and popular music. 
  • Continue our Symphony in the Schools program's exciting collaboration with the Carnegie Hall Weill Music Institute, with a goal  to reach more students, including home-schooled and special needs students, in Sarasota County, all at no cost to our area's public schools. 
  • Launch The Venice Symphony Youth Orchestra in Fall 2018. The Symphony currently is accepting applications for a youth orchestra with the goal of beginning rehearsals in conjunction with summer camp and offering free concerts in 2018. A symphony musician has assumed leadership of this project. 
Needs Statement
  1. Underwriting for performances. $10,000 per concert
  2. Scholarships for summer music camp for children aged 6-17  - $200 each child
  3. Funding for musicians' meals during matinee performances in the community. $2,000 
  4. Underwriting for Symphony In The Schools (SITS) programs instilling the love of music in children. $35,000
  5. Supporting purchase of sheet music for music library. $15,000
Background Statement

The Venice Symphony has become the pride of South Sarasota County. Residents and tourists fill its performance hall for seven series of concerts each November through May. 

The Venice Symphony provides cultural enrichment for South Sarasota County and enhances the area's cultural image for residents and visitors through performances of classical works and "pops" selections. It serves as a source of music appreciation education for the community and provides a stimulating musical experience for professional musicians, promising students, retirees with musical talents, and its audience. Free concerts are presented annually for all 3rd graders in our Symphony in the Schools program at the Venice Performing Arts Center .

When the symphony was founded in 1974, the musicians were volunteers including an eighty-six year old French horn player and an eight year old boy and his grandmother, both playing violins. Initially, admission was free with area businesses and contributors covering the costs of music and printing. As operating costs increased and the orchestra became professional, with the seventy-five musicians receiving compensation, it became necessary to charge for admission. Today the Symphony is funded through ticket sales, private and corporate contributions, Tourist Development Council, Sarasota County Arts Council, Friends of the Symphony and other philanthropic organizations, and grants. In 1990 a staff was added to manage the Symphony and its library of music, engage orchestra personnel, and handle the staging of the concerts. The publisher of a local newspaper has praised Venice Symphony as being one of the most exemplary models for efficiency in the arts.

Areas Served
Areas Served
FL- Sarasota
FL- Charlotte
FL- Manatee
Areas Served Comments
Primarily serve Sarasota and Manatee and Charlotte Counties.
Service Categories
Primary Org Type Arts,Culture & Humanities
Secondary Org Type Arts,Culture & Humanities
Tertiary Org Type Education
Statement from the Board Chair/Board President
The vibrant Venice Symphony is engaging the community & enriching its quality of life through live musical & educational programs.
Statement from the CEO/Executive Director
Music is essential to our lives and our venue at the Venice Performing Arts Center further enhances our capabilities. We are an important cultural asset to our community. We understand the importance of music education for the youth in our community. We bring our musicians and the prestigious  Carnegie Hall’s Weill Music Institute Link Up program to third-grade students throughout Sarasota County, including students with learning challenges and home-schooled students. In May all students involved in this program (more than 2000 in 2017) take buses to the Venice Performing Arts Center for a concert by the Venice Symphony, all at no cost to the schools or students. We continue to expand our educational outreach programs in scope and geographical reach. Your gift is important to the Venice Symphony and essential to our existence. 
This exciting program reaches students grades 1 to 12 and is held at Island Village Montessori School in Venice. The camp provides instrumental and vocal instruction (beginning and intermediate), music games, music theory, Jazz Band, dance,choral, keyboard lab and conducting.  New additions are in dance and music theatre. Students perform in a concert at the Venice Performing Arts Center on the final day of camp and that concert is free and open to the public. More than half of the students receive full or partial scholarships to attend camp. 
Budget $30,000
Category Arts, Culture & Humanities, General/Other Music Appreciation
Program Linked to Organizational Strategy Yes
Population Served K-12 (5-19 years)
Short Term Success
Participating campers enjoy a safe, friendly and enriching environment to learn about and strengthen their appreciation for music and ability to perform. They are also able to try new instruments without having to purchase the instrument, allowing them to explore their options without any cost to their family. 
Long Term Success
Children and teens enrolled in Summer Music Camp are instilled with a love for music, appreciation for the history of music, and possibly may become professional or volunteer performers. Students gain self-confidence to pursue life's challenges.
Program Success Monitoring
  • The number of students enrolled - target of 150 to 200 each year
  • Assessment of students by instructors
  • Students present a concert for family, friends and the community on the final day 
Program Success Examples
A perfect example of program success is visible at the end-of-camp concert provided to the community. It is evident that the campers thoroughly enjoy themselves and confidently present their skills in music and performing.
Symphony in the Schools program is for third graders at 19 South Sarasota Schools, including special needs students and home-schooled students. Symphony musicians and educators teach a program of music based on the third-grade literature curriculum supplied by the Carnegie Hall Weill Music Institute, along with history and music appreciation of the period when the music was created. A final concert is performed by the full Orchestra for 2,000 students and their teachers, all at no cost to the schools or students. 
Budget $35,000
Category Arts, Culture & Humanities, General/Other Arts, Culture & Humanities, General/Other
Program Linked to Organizational Strategy Yes
Population Served Children Only (5 - 14 years) Children Only (5 - 14 years) Children Only (5 - 14 years)
Short Term Success
Short-term success is determined by the students' attendance and their participation. There is also a final report by the teachers. Students also send drawings, notes and cards that illustrate what they've learned in the classroom and their reactions to the music they hear at the concerts. 
Long Term Success
Success is asserted by attendance to the program and assessed by teachers in the classroom. The success of the children is assessed by their advancement in their studies. If they pursue music education it is deemed very succesful.
Program Success Monitoring
There is an assessment tool given to every teacher for the program and their students' performance. Participating musicians also give a verbal and written assessment of the program. 
Program Success Examples
The Symphony receives hundreds of letters annually from parents, teachers, and students. Attendance at the final concert is also a measurement of success. 
Description This is a series of free 30-minute talks featuring the conductor and guests that are open to the public and do not require a ticket to the symphony or reservation. The talks take place at the Venice Performing Arts Center before every concert and are moderated by a symphony musician. The goal is to provide insight into the music being performed and the composers. This program is currently sponsored by Bank of America. 
Budget $3,000
Category Arts, Culture & Humanities, General/Other Music Appreciation
Program Linked to Organizational Strategy Yes
Population Served Adults Families Aging, Elderly, Senior Citizens
Short Term Success Because this program doesn't require a ticket or reservation or sign-in at the event, we can not follow-up with the audience via email. However, we do send post-concert surveys to our concert audience and include questions about the pre-concert talk. We also take a count of attendees at each talk. Their questions to the conductors and guests at the talks, and comments are taken into consideration when planning future talks. 
Long Term Success People who attend this program will have a greater knowledge of symphonic music and how an orchestra functions. They will know more about the composers. This will lead to increased music appreciation and understanding. 
Program Success Monitoring While we do not require reservations, we know that many guests keep returning to this program. Surveys have shown us that many people have made the talk part of their concert experience. We are hoping to grow our audience of non-concert attendees, especially with young people in the community.
Program Success Examples Attendance has increased from about 25 people at our first talk in 2016, to more than 125 at our November 2017 talk. 
Program Comments by Organization We have moved from a 600 seat venue to a 1000 + seat performing arts center and have thus sharply expanded our audience base.  In 2017-18 we are offering a season of seven concerts with seven different conductors and renowned soloists, bringing varied programs and music to the community. In May 2018, one of these seven conductors will become the Music Director/Conductor of The Venice Symphony for 2018-19 and beyond. 
CEO/Executive Director
CEO/Executive Director Ms. Christine Kasten
CEO Term Start May 2016
CEO/Executive Director Email
Ms. Kasten has more than 25 years of management, sales, marketing, and fundraising experience in private business and not-for-profit organizations. She is a member of The Venice Nokomis Rotary and the Association of Fundraising Professionals. 
Former CEOs/Executive Directors
Mr. Doug Kerr - Apr 2016
Senior Staff
Ms. Sharyn Lonsdale Marketing Director
Staff & Volunteer Statistics
Full Time Staff 3
Part Time Staff 1
Staff Retention Rate % 100
Professional Development Yes
Contractors 75
Volunteers 50
Management Reports to Board Yes
CEO/Executive Director Formal Evaluation Yes
Senior Management Formal Evaluation Yes
Non-Management Formal Evaluation Yes
  • Carnegie Hall Weill Music Institute for Symphony in the Schools (SITS)
  • Sarasota County School Board for the SITS program
  • Venice Theatre for shared advertising
  • Island Village Montessori School
  • South County Food Pantry for annual food drive
  • Venice  Art Center
  • Venice Institute of Performing Arts 
  • Visit Florida and Visit Sarasota Partner
  • State College of Florida Evening Under the Stars
Leage of American Orchestras - Member0
Venice Area Chamber of Commerce0
Arts and Cultural Alliance of Sarasota County0
Englewood-Cape Haze Area Chamber of Commerce0
External Assessments and Accreditations
Awards & Recognition
Best of VeniceVenice Gondolier2016
Best of VeniceVenice Gondolier2017
Best of Venice Venice Gondolier2018
Risk Management Provisions
Government Licenses
Organization Licensed by the Government No
Fundraising Plan Yes
Communication Plan No
Strategic Plan No
Strategic Plan Years
Strategic Plan Adopted 0
Management Succession Plan No
Continuity of Operations Plan No
Nondiscrimination Policy Yes
Whistle Blower Policy Yes
Document Destruction Policy Yes
Directors and Officers Insurance Policy No
Policies and Procedures No
Board Chair
Board Chair Mr. Robert Anderson
Company Affiliation Retired business professional
Board Term June 2017 to May 2018
Board Chair Email
Board Members
Board Members
Mr. Robert Anderson Attorney
Mr. Kevin Bellosa Musician
Ms. Maureen Bentley Retired
Mr. Elliott Corn retired
Mr. James Crandall Retired CPA
Ms. Barbara Freeman Retired Teacher and Gallery Owner
Mr. David Joyner Joyner Family Insurance
Mr. Floyd Juday Retired
Mr. Paul McCullough retired
Mrs. Donna Perkins retired business professional
Mr. Mack Wilcox retired business professional
Mrs. Janice Zarro Wood retired business professional
Constituency Includes Client Representation Yes
Board Ethnicity
African American/Black 0
Asian American/Pacific Islander 0
Caucasian 13
Hispanic/Latino 0
Native American/American Indian 0
Other 0 0
Board Gender
Male 8
Female 4
Unspecified 0
Board Term Lengths 3
Board Term Limits 2
Board Orientation Yes
Number of Full Board Meetings Annually 12
Board Meeting Attendance % 81
Board Self-Evaluation Yes
Written Board Selection Criteria Yes
Board Conflict of Interest Policy Yes
% of Board Making Monetary Contributions 100
% of Board Making In-Kind Contributions 95
Standing Committees
Board Governance
Development / Fund Development / Fund Raising / Grant Writing / Major Gifts
Governance Comments by Organization
We continue to seek diversified and qualified applicants for the board. The shift to the new Venice Performing Arts Center in 2014 has brought unique opportunities.
Current Year Projections
Tax Year Start Month June
Tax Year Start Day 01
Tax Year Begins 2017
Tax Year End Month May
Tax Year End Day 31
Tax Year Ends 2018
Projected Revenue $962,500.00
Projected Expenses $957,250.00
Total Projected Revenue includes "in-kind" contributions/ donations No
Organization has Endowment Yes
Endowment Value $470,000.00
Endowment Spending Policy Percentage
Capital Campaign
Currently In a Capital Campaign No
Campaign Purpose
Campaign Goal
Amount Raised To Date 0 as of 0
IRS Form 990s
Form 9902016
990 2014-20152015
990 2013-20142014
Audit/Financial Documents
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 Year201720162015
Foundation and
Corporation Contributions
Government Contributions$0$42,551$30,808
Individual Contributions$275,236$284,708$219,254
Investment Income, Net of Losses$104,779$12,051$3,537
Membership Dues$0$0$0
Special Events$67,315$27,977$9,062
Revenue In-Kind$0$0$0
Expense Allocation
Fiscal Year201720162015
Program Expense$593,732$559,671$587,952
Administration Expense$361,239$253,265$234,049
Fundraising Expense$12,185$3,582$3,761
Payments to Affiliates$0$0$0
Total Revenue/Total Expenses1.041.100.96
Program Expense/Total Expenses61%69%71%
Fundraising Expense/Contributed Revenue4%1%1%
Assets and Liabilities
Fiscal Year201720162015
Total Assets$1,028,461$935,917$968,675
Current Assets$993,477$165,584$929,799
Long-Term Liabilities$0$0$0
Current Liabilities$76,017$17,454$89,870
Total Net Assets$952,444$918,463$878,805
Top Funding Sources
Fiscal Year201720162015
Top Funding Source & Dollar AmountTicket Sales $496,148Ticket Sales $489,609Ticket Sales $429,412
Second Highest Funding Source & Dollar AmountContributions, gifts, grants $275,236Contributions, gifts, grants $284,708Contributions, gifts, grants $219,254
Third Highest Funding Source & Dollar AmountInvestment Income $104,779Government Grants - Unspecified $42,551Dick Hyman Show $67,750
CEO/Executive Director Compensation $50,001 - $75,000
Short Term Solvency
Fiscal Year201720162015
Current Ratio: Current Assets/Current Liabilities13.079.4910.35
Long Term Solvency
Fiscal Year201720162015
Long-Term Liabilities/Total Assets0%0%0%
Financials Comments
Financial Comments by Foundation
Financial figures taken from 990.  990s and audits are reconciled for 2008, 2010 - 2013.  2009 audit not provided.  Audit for 2014 not available at time of review.  Foundation, corporations and congregations are included with individual contributions as they are not separated in 990s.  Financial information for 2017 taken solely from the audited financial statements as the Federal tax return was not available at time of review.
Nonprofit Venice Symphony, Inc.
Address 1515 S. Tamiami Trail
Southbridge Park, Suite 7
Venice, FL 34284
Phone 941 488-1010