Punta Gorda History Center Inc
PO Box 512557
PUNTA GORDA FL 33951-2557
To promote and encourage historical research and education by acquiring through purchase or gift historical materials and to insure such materials are preserved and made accessible to researchers, students and the general public.
CEO/Executive Director No Executiive Director
Board Chair Mr. Eugene Edward Murtha
Board Chair Affiliation Retired
General Info
Organization DBA
Tax Exempt Status Public Supported Charity
Incorporation Year 2011
State Charitable Solicitations Permit Yes Nov 2016
State Registration Yes Mar 2017
Financial Summary
Projected Revenue $190,000.00
Projected Expenses $173,000.00
IRS Letter of Determination
IRS Letter of DeterminationView
Impact Statement
Top accomplishments – Last Year:
  1. Leased interim office location which enabled the removal of the Vernon and Edna Jane Peeples history collection from storage.

  2. Setup display of key historical items from the collection for public review and research.

  3. Held multiple fund raisers for the on-going operational needs of the Punta Gorda History Center and funding towards the renovation of our future and permanent location.

  4. Established a volunteer support staff of highly skilled and enthusiastic workers.

  5. Created and spearheaded a “Punta Gorda - Founders Week” throughout all of Punta Gorda with participation by the City Government, the Chamber of Commerce and 12 other non-profit organizations. December 1-7 has now and forever been declared as ”Founders Week”  by City Council Proclamation. Purpose is to provide a venue for all non-profits to collaborate under a common theme and raise needed funds, while celebrating our City’s great and rich history.  

Top goals – This Year:

  1. Complete raising the needed capital to finish the renovation of our future and permanent location. The building is directly across from Charlotte High School and adjacent to the middle school.

  2. Once in the new facility it will allow the Punta Gorda History Center to better collaborate with the Charlotte County Schools and share the incredible local history collection that is in its care.

  3. Continue fund raising to support the operational needs and mission of the Punta Gorda History Center.

  4. Continue focus on the careful preservation of all the various types of media within the collection.

  5. Expand on the community wide enthusiasm, support and pride in having a Punta Gorda History Center that brings to life the incredible history of Punta Gorda and Charlotte Harbor.

Needs Statement

1. Funding for completion of our permanent archive facility, which will be on Grace St., Punta Gorda, Fl. across from Charlotte High School. We have leased a building from Charlotte County for $10 per year for 3 ten year periods (30 years). The Agreement called for the County to gut the building interior due to it having been unused for years and in disrepair, which it has done. The Punta Gorda History Center is to pay for all the reconstruction of the interior. The building will be primarily historical archives with some space dedicated to displays and presentations. Estimated grant request: $50,000 

2. Software and equipment to digitize the thousands of unique photographs, postcards and documents in the collection. Estimated grant request: $10,000
3. Archival supplies to preserve all documents and materials. Estimated grant request: $3,000
4. Library shelving and racking for the storage of the collection. Estimated grant request: $3,000
5. Display cases and furniture for the new permanent location of the Punta Gorda History Center. Estimated grant request: $10,000 
Background Statement

In 2010 Mr. Vernon Peeples, who was in his early 80’s, approached a local citizens action group for help to insure his massive history collection, that focuses on Punta Gorda and Charlotte Harbor,  was preserved upon his passing. The collection was an accumulation of over 70 years.

Mr. Peeples was widely acknowledged as one of the greatest living historians of Florida history. He was an author, lecturer, and had a weekly radio show on WGCU-FM for 11 years. The collection spans thousands of photographs, postcards, books, antique maps, research papers, etc.

The Punta Gorda History Center, Inc. was incorporated in early 2011 to address his concern. In August, 2011, it became a 501c3 tax exempt organization.  An Agreement of Gifting to the Punta Gorda History Center was signed on October 18, 2012. Two requirements in the Agreement was that it had to stay within the city of Punta Gorda, plus the collection was only to be turned over to the Punta Gorda History Center after his passing.

Planning for this future date, a search was begun for a suitable location for the Punta Gorda History Center. After reviewing and considering many sites over the course of two years, an unused all brick Charlotte County Government building was located. Actually, there were two adjacent buildings. It was presented to the Charlotte County Commission that the Punta Gorda History Center could use the smaller of two and by moving the Charlotte County History Center from its location into the other building it would create an educational “History Campus”. The Charlotte County Commission agreed 100%.

The Punta Gorda History Center was granted a lease for $10 per year for three consecutive 10 year periods.  It was signed on June 24, 2014. The larger building now houses the Charlotte County History Center.

On April 12, 2015, Mr. Vernon Peeples passed away having been preceded by his wife’s passing 8 months earlier.  With this milestone being met serious fund raising was initiated and continues.

Phase I of the reconstruction of the permanent location has begun. Phase II of the needed reconstruction capital funds must be raised. It is the major goal of the Punta Gorda History Center for the next year. It is desired by the Board of Directors that we are located in the proposed “History Campus” as quickly as possible. From there we can accelerate our mission of education and research as we will have adequate space and better proximity to the schools.

Areas Served
Areas Served
FL- Charlotte
Areas Served Comments

The Punta Gorda History Center's geographic coverage is mainly focused on Punta Gorda, Charlotte Harbor and Charlotte County, but actually spans the entire state of Florida due to the extensiveness of the History Collection. Mr. Vernon Peeples, who was the donor of the collection, served for years in the State Legislature, and had state wide interest in its history. The collection reflects it.

Service Categories
Primary Org Type Arts,Culture & Humanities
Secondary Org Type
Tertiary Org Type
Statement from the Board Chair/Board President

Board President – Eugene Murtha

In 2011, Mr. Vernon Peeples, who was 80 years old and one of the most acknowledged historians of Florida history, came to a Punta Gorda citizen group called “Team Punta Gorda” asking for help with the preservation of his massive history collection. Being a very practical person, he realized he wasn’t going to live forever.  The collection spanned over 70 years of collecting. It is a true treasure trove of local and Florida history. Being a lifelong resident of Punta Gorda, he had one requirement on the donating of his collection. The collection had to remain in the City of Punta Gorda.

As I was on the Board of Directors of Team Punta Gorda at the time, I knew it was something that my wife and I would be interested in spearheading. We volunteered to head up the effort, and I became the President of the Punta Gorda History Center. My wife became a member of the Board of Directors after incorporation. It has been a love of our lives, since its inception. It perfectly matched our business careers from a needs standpoint. My skills being one who has managed many large corporate projects as an Executive and my wife‘s skills being a Publisher for various international publishing companies.

Over the course of the next two years, the History Center was able to establish an impressive Board of Directors, become a 501c3 tax exempt organization, and begin limited fund raising. The early on issue was that the collection was not to be turned over the Punta Gorda History Center until the passing of Mr. Peeples, which did occur in 2015. Of course, not having the collection hampered fund raising but did allow time for a thorough search for a permanent location. It had to be affordable and structurally sound.

 Finally, we discovered Charlotte County had left unused their old HHS Complex which was two solid brick buildings. It was also a perfect location across from Charlotte High School, since one of the missions of the History Center is education. After approaching the County Commission and outlining our needs and mission, we were granted a $10 per year lease for three consecutive 10 year periods for the smaller of the two buildings. Now all that had to be done was to raise $125,000 for the interior renovation. We were building a historical archive center from what was previously a medical facility. It required the gutting of the interior and starting over.

While we were successful in securing a future building site, we were in need of on-going operating funds in addition to the capital needs for the reconstruction of the building. A fund raising committee was established and has been addressing both needs through major events and grants. In a strange twist of fate, Charlotte County was designated to receive $6M in BP Oil Spill fund, which it did. The County Commission was approached by the History Center for financial assistance for the History Center and was given a $50,000 grant for capital construction, which only addressed Phase 1 cost of the reconstruction. We will continue to pursue grants and donations for Phase 2.  

Phase 1 of the reconstruction has begun. Phase 2, the final phase, will be completed after the capital for it has been raised. We will relocate from our temporary offices to it immediately after completion and be open to all the public. This remains our main focus.


Description In 2015 the Punta Gorda History Center, Inc. decided that our early settlers and the original Founders of Punta Gorda should be honored. As part of the recognition, it was felt that a city wide celebration was in order. The concept was enthusiastically accepted by the entire community. The concept was not only to honor the specific individuals, but allow all participating non-profits an opportunity to create an event which would increase their community exposure and raise funds for themselves. Over 15 organizations including the City and County government along with the Punta Gorda and Charlotte County Chambers of Commerce all participated. The City Council by proclamation declared that hence forth each year, Dec. 1-7 will be ‘Founders Week” throughout the City. It was a huge success with all organizations having benefited. The Punta Gorda History Center remains the catalyst for the event, and each year is planned to grow by adding more non-profits and events. 
Budget $1,000
Category Arts, Culture & Humanities, General/Other History & Historical Programs
Program Linked to Organizational Strategy Yes
Population Served US K-12 (5-19 years) Adults
Short Term Success The Founders Week resulted in sold out events across the City of Punta Gorda. The celebration was targeted specifically to assist all participating non-profits in their quest to further their respective missions and help them in fund raising. The approach to the event is very straightforward. There is no entry fee. An organization just plans an event with a history theme, and advertising it as part of the Founders Week Celebration. The Sun Herald supplied free advertising and promotion, plus the Punta Gorda Chamber established a separate web site for the celebration. By collaboration of all the participants and community, it was a success in every regards. From a first year perspective, it couldn’t have been any more successful. It met all expectations based upon feedback at out post event recap meeting.
Long Term Success Each year we will be expanding the event and bringing in more non-profits. The Punta Gorda History Center’s mission is one of bringing the rich history of Punta Gorda and Charlotte Harbor to the entire community, while at the same time helping others to succeed where we can. By collaborating with other organizations with the Founders Week celebration both goals are being achieved. The long term success is the expansion of the event by adding more non-profits and seeing continued success in marketing themselves and fund raising. It will be quite easy to measure.  We will listen to them before and after the event, and adjust the program with any good ideas.
Program Success Monitoring The monitoring of the success of the Founders Week celebration is quite easy. We will be listening to all the participants both from a planning standpoint before the event and to their results after the event. Adjustments will be made where needed.
Program Success Examples The success for our first event was everywhere. The Punta Gorda History Center held a dinner attended by over 280. It was sold out. The evening saw the induction of 15 pioneers and early settlers inducted into the “Hall of Honor”. It was emotional, since actual decedents of 14 of the 15 inductees were present. Their families were all honored with one recipient remarking it was one of the greatest events in our history. In 2016, we will induct another 10. Other examples were the Blanchard House (Black History museum) afternoon tea was sold out; the historic trolley ride was sold out, the Women’s Club afternoon luncheon was sold out, etc. The interest and participation across the City was amazing for a first year event. We are certain it will only increase as the years go by.
Program Comments by Organization The Punta Gorda History Center has as one of its main objectives the bringing of the history of Punta Gorda and Charlotte Harbor to life. This program has enabled it to have as part of the Founders Week Celebration its own event where we select and present new candidates into our “Hall of Honor”. While we started off with 15 initial entrees, we will be adding 10 new ones each year. Along with the name goes the associated history and interesting stories. By presenting it to the living decedents, it makes people stop and think about their ancestor’s achievements and just who they really were. Actually, it is a very rewarding personal experience for both the Punta Gorda History Center and the ones accepting the plaque.
CEO/Executive Director
CEO/Executive Director No Executiive Director
CEO Term Start 0
CEO/Executive Director Email genemurtha@comcast.net
Former CEOs/Executive Directors
Senior Staff
Staff & Volunteer Statistics
Full Time Staff 0
Part Time Staff 0
Staff Retention Rate % N/A
Professional Development No
Contractors 0
Volunteers 25
Management Reports to Board Yes
CEO/Executive Director Formal Evaluation N/A
Senior Management Formal Evaluation N/A
Non-Management Formal Evaluation No
The Punta Gorda History Center collaborates with all non-profits in the City and County. It is the originator of the Punta Gorda city-wide “Founders Week” Celebration, which enables all non-profits to participate, thus being further recognized for their respective missions and to be able to fund raise. The 2015 celebration had over 12 non-profits of various types. The 2016 planning is underway and it is expected that the participation will be even greater.
External Assessments and Accreditations
Risk Management Provisions
Government Licenses
Organization Licensed by the Government No
Fundraising Plan Yes
Communication Plan Yes
Strategic Plan Under Development
Strategic Plan Years
Strategic Plan Adopted 0
Management Succession Plan No
Continuity of Operations Plan No
Nondiscrimination Policy No
Whistle Blower Policy No
Document Destruction Policy No
Directors and Officers Insurance Policy Yes
Policies and Procedures No
Management Comments by Organization The main challenge for the Punta Gorda History Center for 2016 is the raising of capital for the final phase of the reconstruction of the permanent facility that has been leased to the Punta Gorda History Center by Charlotte County. The History Center’s agreement is that it will cover these costs in consideration of a long term favorable lease on the building. The final phase is $50,000. We will pursue getting grants and doing local fund raising. While we are addressing this issue, we still have to keep open and operating our interim location on Sullivan St. in Punta Gorda, since it is our mission to keep our history collection available to the public for its use in research and education. So, we have a double financial effort on which to focus.

Our approach is to keep our volunteers efforts and morale as high as possible. It is through their enthusiasm to see our rich history preserved forever, that it will come to fruition. We put a great deal of focus on team participation and everyone being current on where we stand. Having a great working team reflects itself on the community and further enhances our chance of continued success. We are an organization founded on community spirit and we intend on staying that way. That is how we will address any and all challenges.

Planning & Policies Comments by Organization This initiative is planned to pick up tempo later this year as we move closer to completion of the reconstruction of the Punta Gorda History Center’s future location. Over the last year our focus has been on the absorption of the massive history collection that was our first collection donation. This plus fund-raising has been the top priorities. As we are rapidly maturing as an organization, it is planned to develop a robust Policy and Procedures Manual. The initial policy that was developed was for collection donations. It is in use. We will proceed with a deliberate initiative that takes advantage of what other History Centers have learned and implemented. We will be shortly prioritizing the policies that will be needed as we advance. With a 100% volunteer organization tasks are carefully assigned. As mentioned, fund raising and the accessing of our initial collection have been paramount. The need for planning and documented policies and procedures is well acknowledged and planned within the next several months. We have every intention of being one of the best run History Center’s in the USA.
Board Chair
Board Chair Mr. Eugene Edward Murtha
Company Affiliation Retired
Board Term Jan 2012 to Dec 2017
Board Chair Email genemurtha@comcast.net
Board Members
Board Members
Mrs. Gussie Baker Community Volunteer
Mr. Frank Desguin Community Volunteer
Mrs. Mary Ann Hughes Community Volunteer
Mrs. Stacy Jones Community Volunteer
Mr. Frank Mazur Community Volunteer
Mr. Robert McQueen Community Volunteer
Mrs. Theresa Murtha Community Volunteer
Mr. Eugene Murtha Community Volunteer
Ms. Kathy Nash State Farm Insurance
Mrs. Claire Phelen Community Volunteer
Mrs Nancy Prafke Punta Gorda City Council Member
Mr. Jerry Presseller Business owner
Mr Ed Uhland Community Volunteer
Mr. Sankey Webb Webb, Lorah & McMillan, PLLC
Mrs. Linda Wilson Wilson Realty
Mr. Edward Wotitzky Wotitzky, Wotitzky, Ross & McKinley, PA, Attorneys at Law
Constituency Includes Client Representation Yes
Board Ethnicity
African American/Black 0
Asian American/Pacific Islander 0
Caucasian 16
Hispanic/Latino 0
Native American/American Indian 0
Other 0 0
Board Gender
Male 8
Female 8
Unspecified 0
Board Term Lengths 2
Board Term Limits 99
Board Orientation No
Number of Full Board Meetings Annually 6
Board Meeting Attendance % 69
Board Self-Evaluation Yes
Written Board Selection Criteria No
Board Conflict of Interest Policy Yes
% of Board Making Monetary Contributions 100
% of Board Making In-Kind Contributions 100
Standing Committees
Special Events (Golf Tournament, Walk / Run, Silent Auction, Dinner / Gala)
Governance Comments by Organization Corporate governance used to simply mean the financial end of a business being carefully managed, which in the case of the Punta Gorda History Center it is, but today it also means good corporate citizenship. We are comfortable with all aspects of the business position as of today. As the History Center scales up the need may arise for more controls and financial oversight.  With a spending limit defined in the By-Laws and having two levels of financial management with both a Treasurer and an Assistant Treasurer we feel secure.

From a corporate citizenship, we are viewed by the entire community as having filled a long needed gap of addressing the preservation of our history and the sharing of it with the general public. Additionally, with our Founders Week Celebration, started by the History Center, we have tried to aid all non-profits with fund raising. It is indicative of our mission being on focus and reaching out to help the entire community.

Fiscal Year Projections
Fiscal Year Begins 2016
Fiscal Year Ends 2016
Projected Revenue $190,000.00
Projected Expenses $173,000.00
Organization has Endowment No
Capital Campaign
Currently In a Capital Campaign Yes
Anticipate Campaign within 5 years? Yes
Campaign Purpose Recontruction of the final phase of the interior of our future facility
Campaign Goal $125,000.00
Campaign Dates Jan 2016 to Mar 2017
Amount Raised To Date 75000 as of June 2016
IRS Form 990s
Audit/Financial Documents
Historical Financial Review
Expense Allocation
Fiscal Year201520142013
Program Expense$0----
Administration Expense$14,811----
Fundraising Expense$0----
Payments to Affiliates$0----
Total Revenue/Total Expenses3.57----
Program Expense/Total Expenses0%----
Fundraising Expense/Contributed Revenue0%----
Assets and Liabilities
Fiscal Year201520142013
Total Assets$51,931----
Current Assets$37,147----
Long-Term Liabilities$0----
Current Liabilities$0----
Total Net Assets$51,931----
Top Funding Sources
Fiscal Year201520142013
Top Funding Source & Dollar AmountFundraising $50,068----
Second Highest Funding Source & Dollar AmountContributions, gifts, grants $2,861----
Third Highest Funding Source & Dollar Amount0 $0----
CEO/Executive Director Compensation
Tax Credits No
Short Term Solvency
Fiscal Year201520142013
Current Ratio: Current Assets/Current Liabilities------
Long Term Solvency
Fiscal Year201520142013
Long-Term Liabilities/Total Assets0%----
Financials Comments
Financial Comments by Organization The financial challenge of 2016 is the achievement of the final portion of our capital fund raising for the completion of the Punta Gorda History Center’s new facility. $50,000 is needed to complete the work and allow the History Center to move from its current leased location to its permanent location, which is across from Charlotte High School in Punta Gorda. We are pursuing this by grant applications and fund raising. The move will significantly reduce our on-going operating costs.

Our planned fund raisers for 2016 will continue to go towards operating expenses. It is really multiple financial needs, but in the same regards, it is realistic and fairly standard. We need capital funds to complete our construction and operating funds to address our on-going expenses. We really believe people will see the value of the preservation of our fantastic historical collection, and our mission of sharing it for research and educational purposes and support our funding requests. 

Financial Comments by Foundation Organization did not have any financials in 2013 and 2014 as they were just getting started.  Financial information for 2015 taken from the Federal 990-EZ.
Nonprofit Punta Gorda History Center Inc
Address PO Box 512557
PUNTA GORDA, FL 33950 2557
Phone 941 916-8800