National Alliance on Mental Illness Of Sarasota County Inc
1226 N. Tamiami Trail Ste 301

NAMI Sarasota County is dedicated to improving the quality of life for individuals living with mental illness, as well as the lives of their families and caregivers, through support, education, awareness, and advocacy in Sarasota, Manatee, Charlotte, and DeSoto counties. 

CEO/Executive Director Ms Colleen Thayer
Board Chair Patricia Mahoney-Zaehe
Board Chair Affiliation Retired
General Info
Organization DBA
NAMI Sarasota County
Former Names
Tax Exempt Status Public Supported Charity
Incorporation Year 1986
State Charitable Solicitations Permit Yes May 2018
State Registration Yes May 2018
Financial Summary
Note: Revenue includes the value of in-kind contributions/donations
IRS Letter of Determination
IRS Letter of DeterminationView
Impact Statement

NAMI Sarasota County is a resource for individuals and families living with mental illness and mental health conditions, provides educational and support programs, and advocates on behalf of people living with mental illness and their caregivers.

2017 Accomplishments

1. NAMI Sarasota launched our signature fundraiser, Out of the Blue which was attended by 400 Sarasota County residents, making it the largest event to benefit mental illness and mental health in Sarasota County.

2. NAMI Sarasota published the Mental Illness Resource Guide, a print and online resource that provides guidance to effective management of illness and support for those living with mental illness. More than 1,000 resource guides have been distributed since September 2015.

3. NAMI Sarasota provided information on mental illness and mental health and community resources through partnerships with Sarasota Memorial Healthcare, Vincent Academy, Mental Health Community Centers, the Sarasota County Behavioral Health Stakeholders Coalition, primary care physicians, psychiatrists, nurses, occupational and physical therapists, and numerous health care related facilities and programs. These partnerships allow us to help families meet the myriad of challenges associated with mental illness and link them to local resources including integrative medical services, e.g. exercise and rehabilitation, education, emotional support and the latest pharmaceutical treatments.

4. NAMI Sarasota increased our capacity which enabled us to provide 29 presentations, and 12 education programs led by psychiatrists and other community experts. NAMI trained 4 additional facilitators and attended 57 community events to educate the community about mental illness and NAMI’s services. NAMI answered 877 phone and email inquiries and expanded our nationally renowned support groups and classes into North Port. This effort resulted in approximately 6,100 points of meaningful contact. 2017 was the first full year of implementing our communications strategy: Use of our new website,, and our social media plan resulted in 39,383 impressions, making the case that the management of mental illness is a top level concern for many people in our community.

5. NAMI Sarasota leased an office with access to shared committee and seminar rooms, giving us the opportunity to centralize our operations and meet with donors, community leaders, volunteers, and members easily.

2018 Goals

1. NAMI Sarasota is planning to implement fundraising efforts that will enable us to to recruit and employ an experienced executive director.

2. To introduce the NAMI Signature program, Ending the Silence in Spring 2018. (ETS is a 50 minute presentation that helps middle and high school students understand mental illness by teaching common warning signs and when and where to get help for themselves or friends). To ensure the broadest reach for this program NAMI will collaborate with Sarasota Teen Court to teach over 300 students.

3. NAMI Sarasota is planning a Mental Health education event for people living with mental illness, their caregivers and healthcare providers. Collaboration with primary behavioral health stakeholders will be an important feature of this Mental Health Symposium.

4. To achieve re-affiliation with NAMI Florida and National in 2018 to ensure that as an affiliate NAMI Sarasota County is operating with high standards of governance. (We are currently affiliated.)

5. NAMI Sarasota plans to raise the bar on our communications strategy to reach more Sarasota County residents, including broadening and strategically using social media. Diversify our board with the same intent.

Needs Statement

NAMI fills a unique niche in the nonprofit health and human services marketplace. Pressing needs include: 

1. Administrative Support: $30,000: Administrative support hired in the third quarter of 2018 to address increasing demand for NAMI’s services. Currently volunteers respond to nearly 900 inquiries. Each inquiry takes 15-120 minutes to resolve. Administrative support to assist with inquiries and other office needs will provide consistency, sustainability and increased capacity. 

2. Training and Programs: $10,000 Increase education and support services provided to the community by sending 8 to 10 volunteers to NAMI signature training programs to become teachers and support group facilitators. A key feature of NAMI programs is that our groups and classes are peer-managed.

3. Grant Writing Services: $12,000 NAMI would benefit greatly from working with a professional grant writer.

4. Physician Education Program: $5,000. NAMI has identified a clear need for CME-physician mental health education. The initial investment of $5,000 will enable us to complete the creation of the CME-designated presentation and enroll 15-20 doctors. Repeat presentations will cost $1,500 and could be funded through grants.

5. Copier Lease: $2,500. Color copies are $.33 each using a printing company. Leased copies are $.07 each. A lease would save us $1,100 per year. 

Background Statement
Originally started in 1982 by the Spence family of Venice calling the organization "Families Together." Incorporating in 1984 calling itself "Families Together for Mental Health." In 1990 it became "Alliance for the Mentally Ill of Sarasota County." By 1997 all groups became identified as NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness). The mission remained constant -- dedicated to improving the quality of life for those affected by mental illness through advocacy, education, and support. There are 23 chapters in the State of Florida that are affiliated with the State Chapter and the National Organization. NAMI the National Alliance on Mental Illness, is the nation’s largest grassroots mental health organization dedicated to building better lives for the millions of Americans affected by mental illness. What started as a small group of families gathered around a kitchen table in 1979 has blossomed into the nation's leading voice on mental health. Today, NAMI is an association of 1,100  local affiliates, state organizations and volunteers who work in communities to raise awareness and provide support and education that was not previously available to those in need.
NAMI in Sarasota County relies on gifts and contributions to support our important work. We do not receive government funding. All donations stay in Sarasota County for the benefit of our residents with the exception of a portion of membership dues going to the national organization.
NAMI  has created several signature programs that are offered free of charge to  individuals living with mental illness and family members of persons suffering with serious mental illness. The cornerstone of each program is support, education and advocacy. NAMI Sarasota County is the only non-profit in the area that offers these vital services to any community individual or family seeking its help.  NAMI Sarasota County has been active for three years. During that three years, income has grown steadily and NAMI has produced numerous programs and using trained facilitators. Programs include support groups for families and peers, education classes for peers and families, monthly education programs led by board-certified physicians, other healthcare providers and law enforcement officials. We have many testimonials from people who have used our services and programs that say, "NAMI Sarasota saved my life." And it's only our third year!
Areas Served
Areas Served
FL- Sarasota
FL- Manatee
FL- Charlotte
FL- DeSoto
Areas Served Comments

We serve Sarasota County including North Port, Venice, Osprey, and Nokomis. We have education programs and/or support groups attended by residents from Englewood (Charlotte), Arcadia (DeSoto County) & Bradenton (Manatee County). We also take referral and advice inquires from all four counties and will expand our program offerings in these counties as funds allow.

Service Categories
Primary Org Type Mental Health & Crisis Intervention
Secondary Org Type Public & Societal Benefit
Tertiary Org Type Public & Societal Benefit
Statement from the Board Chair/Board President

NAMI, the nation’s largest grassroots mental health organization, is dedicated to building better lives for those affected by mental illness. NAMI Sarasota County believes that with the right treatment and support individuals living with severe and persistent mental illness can recover and lead productive and meaningful lives.

Access to appropriate and timely treatment is a major challenge for people living with mental illness, and their families. Our services and programs aim to make accessing services easier, by providing knowledge about evidence based treatment, and the skills to advocate for access easier. With the right support people with mental illness are able to graduate from school or college, maintain social contact, find work that they are able to manage, and live without the fear of stigma. Without support and timely treatment people with mental illness can easily become homeless, be incarcerated, and loose contact and support of family and friends. NAMIs mission is to prevent this from happening.


Statement from the CEO/Executive Director
When an individual or their family member is struggling with mental illness or health issues, NAMI can be the connection to recovery, providing opportunities for education, and for peer-to-peer or family support. We envision a community (and world) free of stigma and continue to advocate in that regard. Our goal is meet the needs of those individuals and families who call our warmline or email us in need of resources and provide support or connect them with the community resources they need. As our community and region continue to grow we hope to continue to be able to expand our support and education offerings to meet those needs.
Colleen Thayer 
Description Respond to phone calls, emails & facebook & in person inquiries regarding issues surrounding support, education and advocacy for individuals with serious mental illness and their family members.
Budget $5,000
Category Mental Health, Substance Abuse Programs, General/other Mental Disorders
Program Linked to Organizational Strategy Yes
Population Served Families Adults People/Families with of People with Disabilities
Short Term Success Offer information and referral about resources offered by NAMI and other community resources for individuals and families affected by serious mental illness. Budgeted cost includes a website that would enhance resources available to the community.  Website is now live since early 2016. Regular eblasts to membership and others regarding program/resource offerings through NAMI Sarasota.
Long Term Success Offer support groups, Family to Family classes to educate & provide a network of other family members that have a mutual understanding of what someone experiences with serious mental illness and how it impacts the family and community at large.
Program Success Monitoring NAMI Sarasota affiliate tracks number and type of emails and calls answered. Many who attend the family support group learn about the family education program (Family to Family), and go on to take the class, become advocates themselves in the community for increased awareness about mental illness, and volunteer with NAMI in order to increase outreach to the community and reduce stigma associated with mental illness. 
Program Success Examples Have formed two monthly support groups, one in Sarasota and one in Venice for family members with on-going participation from those seeking information and referral services.
Description Offer three family support groups on-going facilitated by trained leaders who have also been affected by serious mental illness in their own families. The groups meet and discuss their personal concerns and issues and seek support from others dealing with similar circumstances. 
Budget $2,500
Category Mental Health, Substance Abuse Programs, General/other Mental Disorders
Program Linked to Organizational Strategy Yes
Population Served Families People/Families with of People with Psychological Disabilities Adults
Short Term Success Provide support as stated in the mission of NAMI Sarasota to family members that are affected by serious mental illness. Expansion of two support groups to three for family members and have added a support group (Connections) for consumers with mental illness.
Long Term Success NAMI Family Support Groups serve to aid those who feel alone and anguished as they struggle to support their loved one with mental illness while learning to take care of themselves.A lessening of a sense of isolation in dealing with loved ones with serious mental illness. Some go onto become volunteers, trained facilitators, advocates in the community, and even board members. There is no other program in the community like NAMI that serves to provide this support to families. 
Program Success Monitoring Direct responses from participants that they are no longer feeling alone in the challenges of dealing with a loved one with mental illness and expression of appreciation for any resources and education garnered from participating in the support group. Many chose to go on to become volunteers in some capacity for NAMI Sarasota.
Program Success Examples Family members who move on to enroll in a Family to Family 12 week class to become educated on what is mental illness and the strategies for coping with mental illness in the family. Family members who obtain resources provided within the community to assist them in dealing with mental illness in their families.

A 12-session free course for family caregivers of individuals living with serious mental illness. The curriculum-based course covers a range of topics, including participants' emotional responses to the impact of mental illness on their lives, information about many of the major mental illnesses, research related to the biology of brain disorders, and information on the evidence-based treatments that are most effective in promoting recovery. Led by a two-person team of volunteer teachers, who themselves are family caregivers. Through a variety of skills-building exercises, participants gain empathy by understanding the subjective, lived experiences of a person with mental illness; learn new techniques for problem solving and communicating; acquire strategies for handling crises and relapses; learn methods for coping with anxiety; and receive guidance on locating services within the community. Teachers must participate in training learning to deliver the structured course curriculum.

Budget $3,600
Category Mental Health, Substance Abuse Programs, General/other
Program Linked to Organizational Strategy Yes
Population Served Families People/Families with of People with Psychological Disabilities Adults
Short Term Success
Family to Family Class: All NAMI education courses are formally evaluated upon completion of each class through written evaluations sent to the NAMI Florida office for review. Feedback received is either provided to the NAMI Sarasota affiliate and/or used at the state level for change.  
The main goal of these classes is that family members and friends of individuals living with severe mental illness feel a sense of empowerment along with new skills and tools to better help themselves and their ill family member. The 12-week course helps participants to better cope with periods of instability and crisis in the family.  Frequently the family member with mental illness has been hospitalized, incarcerated, has harmed himself or others, or/and is living at home and dependent on their families to care for them. In other circumstances the individual may be homeless or possibly their whereabouts are unknown. The NAMI education program is designed to be educational, and provides tools and strategies for the family to cope with these difficult situations along with feelings of powerlessness and guilt.  Our goal is to offer two class sessions rather than one per year.
Long Term Success Improvement in outcomes for the individuals with mental illness as their family support group becomes more equipped to help them in their recovery. Sometimes if recovery of the affected individual is not attained at least the family is better able to cope with the situation. 
Program Success Monitoring
Often family members who meet during these classes stay together as friends, communicate via social media and email. Many join the organization as volunteers, trained facilitators & board members or continue to advocate for their loved ones and others as part of NAMI. Class evaluations are collected by participants and reviewed for feedback and then sent on to NAMI Florida, the state chapter.
Program Success Examples Responses and feedback given to facilitators from participants how the class directly impacted their families ability to cope with and help their loved one with serious mental illness. Reduced stigma and isolation often associated with this disability which is the least understood by society as a whole. 
Connection Recovery Support Group is a free, peer-led group in which participants gain insight from hearing the challenges and successes of others. It’s led by NAMI-trained facilitators who’ve been there. By sharing experiences in a safe and confidential setting, members are able to develop relationships and know that they are not alone. The group encourages empathy, productive discussion, and a sense of community.
NAMI Connection Recovery Support Group helps to
See the individual first, not the illness
Recognize that mental illnesses are medical illnesses that may have environmental triggers
Understand that mental illnesses are traumatic events
Aim for better coping skills
Find strength in sharing experiences
Reject stigma and not tolerate discrimination
Not judge anyone’s pain
Forgive yourself and reject guilt
Embrace humor as healthy
Accept that we cannot solve every problem
Work for a better future in a realistic way
Budget $1,750
Category Mental Health, Substance Abuse Programs, General/other Peer Counseling
Program Linked to Organizational Strategy Yes
Population Served Adults People/Families with of People with Psychological Disabilities
Short Term Success

NAMI Sarasota County now has 8 trained Connection Recovery Group Facilitators who work together to co-ordinate the schedule of weekly meetings. Each group is run by two trained facilitators. The Connection Recovery Support Group provides a place for people who have mental illness to share their experience and learn from others in the group. 

Long Term Success
Sharing the experience of mental illness is not easy and many participants meet share their experience with other group members who have the same diagnosis for the first time. Participants share which services have helped, their experience of taking medication, and which lifestyle changes support recovery

The Connection group works with a National signature program developed by NAMI National and is based on evidence of best practice. 

Program Success Monitoring

The Connection Recovery Facilitators record attendance at the group on the NAMI national database for program monitoring. Since September 2017 the group has met weekly and has had an average of 15 participants each week. Facilitators organize the schedule on an app called Telegram in which they can plan who will facilitate and share information with each other. The facilitators make contact with new members before they arrive at the group and greet them on arrival.

Program Success Examples

The success of the program can be measured by the active participation of the 8 facilitators in the work of the affiliate in volunteering to:

Speak about their experience of mental illness publically at 10 presentations to a wide audience including medical students, pharmacists, nursing students, the Behavioral Health Consortium, the League of Women Voters, a Recovery Panel, Out of the Blue NAMIs largest fundraiser

7 Connection facilitators and participants were interviewed by Carrie Seidman for the Faceing Mental Illness project, and having their profile in the Sarasota Herald Tribune.

Volunteering to answer the NAMI warm line and emails for two weeks over the Holiday season to cover the absence of a staff member.

The Connections facilitators and participants willingness to make such courageous contributions to the work and mission of NAMI is something that the Board of Directors is very grateful for.

Program Comments by Organization We have added a Connection Consumer Support Group meeting weekly and facilitated by peers who have undergone training. In addition we  offered a Peer-to-Peer 10 week class this year for consumers with mental illness also taught by consumers who are in recovery. This is an educational course that empowers the consumer to assist them on their path to recovery. NAMI has just started a Peer-to-Peer 10 week class for consumer education. A program targeting young people in Middle School and High School called Ending the Silence will be introduced in Spring 2018.
CEO/Executive Director
CEO/Executive Director Ms Colleen Thayer
CEO Term Start Apr 2018
CEO/Executive Director Email
Former CEOs/Executive Directors
Senior Staff
Staff & Volunteer Statistics
Full Time Staff 0
Part Time Staff 1
Staff Retention Rate % N/A
Professional Development Yes
Contractors 2
Volunteers 55
Management Reports to Board N/A
CEO/Executive Director Formal Evaluation N/A
Senior Management Formal Evaluation N/A
Non-Management Formal Evaluation No

NAMI Sarasota collaborates with NAMI Florida and other affiliates in Florida to train our trainers, facilitators and mentors to manage our programs. NAMI Sarasota partners with Beneva Christian Church, and the Mental Health Community Centers who host our Family Support Groups, Connection Recovery Groups and Family to Family classes.

NAMI Sarasota partner with annually LECOM and State College of Florida to present to medical students, pharmacy students, and nursing students.

Board members participate in the monthly Sarasota County Behavioral Health Stakeholders meeting.

NAMI works with the Sheriff’s Department annually to present on the Crisis Intervention Training on mental illness, alcohol, and addiction, for police officers

NAMI collaborates with faith communities by presenting at the United Church of Christ Venice conference in Mental Illness, and to the Parish Nurses in Sarasota.

NAMI collaborated with Carrie Seidman on the Faceing Mental Illness program at panel events, by recruiting NAMI peers to tell their story in a profile for the Herald Tribune. NAMI is working with Carrie Seidman and the Vincent Academy to set up a monthly social meeting point for those people who took part in the project and want to continue to meet
Affiliate/Chapter of National Organization
National Alliance for the Mentally Ill (NAMI)1990
External Assessments and Accreditations
Awards & Recognition
Outstanding MentalHealth Leadership-Wendy Abramson, past presidentSarasota Cty. Medical Society Alliance2017
Risk Management Provisions
Government Licenses
Organization Licensed by the Government No
Fundraising Plan Yes
Communication Plan No
Strategic Plan Yes
Strategic Plan Years 2
Strategic Plan Adopted Jan 2017
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 Yes
Policies and Procedures No
Management Comments by Organization
The Board have agreed to hire an Executive Director to lead the affiliate, and an advert has been placed with a closing date in February 2018.
NAMI signed a lease on an office in December 2017 and have finally been able to move all of the affiliated records, collateral and equipment to one location. The office has access to Board rooms and shared seminar rooms.
We are moving the affiliate to become a more stable and sustainable nonprofit that will enable us to serve our community more effectively. 
Planning & Policies Comments by Organization We are developing a communications plan and a succession plan now. 
Multi-Media Comments by Organization This video represents a collaboration between NAMI Sarasota County and the Sarasota County Medical Alliance Foundation. Six health care providers talk about anxiety and depression. The video collection resides at and will be expanded over time.
Other Documents
Board Chair
Board Chair Patricia Mahoney-Zaehe
Company Affiliation Retired
Board Term Mar 2017 to Mar 2020
Board Chair Email
Board Members
Board Members
Heather Dunn ARNP
Debra Jones Treasurer
Charles Kenniff Sarasota County Sherrif's Department, Officer
Patricia Mahoney-Zaehe MScCommunity Vounteer
Bob Piper Retired
Marty Remis Secretary
Linda Stone PhDCommunity Health Centers of Sarasota County
Doreen Sutherland MBACommunity Vounteer
Barbara Wulf Board Member at Large
Mihaela Zdrali DrCenterstone
Constituency Includes Client Representation Yes
Board Ethnicity
African American/Black 0
Asian American/Pacific Islander 0
Caucasian 10
Hispanic/Latino 0
Native American/American Indian 0
Other 0 0
Board Gender
Male 2
Female 8
Unspecified 0
Board Term Lengths 3
Board Term Limits 2
Board Orientation Yes
Number of Full Board Meetings Annually 12
Board Meeting Attendance % 87
Board Self-Evaluation No
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
Program / Program Planning
Communications / Promotion / Publicity / Public Relations
Strategic Planning / Strategic Direction
Community Outreach / Community Relations
Governance Comments by Organization

Our goal in is to always consider how the health of our constituents is impacted and improved by our governance decisions. Our challenge at this time is to recruit board members who can extend our sphere of contacts within the community and who can provide the organization with valuable professional skills. A board member application and description of responsibilities is being developed and we will solicit applicants who fit our needs. Another challenge is that of recruiting and hiring a part time executive director. We realize that this is a critical component of future success and sustainability and are prepared to work on this during the first quarter of 2018. We are excited about future expansion under the direction of an executive director.

Current Year Projections
Tax Year Start Month Jan
Tax Year Start Day 01
Tax Year Begins 2018
Tax Year End Month Dec
Tax Year End Day 31
Tax Year Ends 2018
Projected Revenue $77,500.00
Projected Expenses $92,900.00
Total Projected Revenue includes "in-kind" contributions/ donations No
Organization has Endowment No
Capital Campaign
Currently In a Capital Campaign No
Campaign Purpose
Campaign Goal
Amount Raised To Date 0 as of 0
Audit/Financial Documents
Financial Review
Expense Allocation
Fiscal Year201720162015
Program Expense$17,423$19,051$2,758
Administration Expense$8,486$6,371$2,304
Fundraising Expense$0$0$0
Payments to Affiliates$0$0$0
Total Revenue/Total Expenses2.312.584.38
Program Expense/Total Expenses67%75%54%
Fundraising Expense/Contributed Revenue0%0%0%
Assets and Liabilities
Fiscal Year201720162015
Total Assets$109,503$75,307$35,173
Current Assets$88,895$75,307$35,173
Long-Term Liabilities$0$0$0
Current Liabilities$224$60$42
Total Net Assets$109,279$75,247$35,131
Top Funding Sources
Fiscal Year201720162015
Top Funding Source & Dollar AmountContributions, gifts, grants $51,343Contributions, gifts, grants $62,786Contributions, gifts, grants $20,598
Second Highest Funding Source & Dollar AmountFundraising $6,284Membership Dues $2,754Membership Dues $1,581
Third Highest Funding Source & Dollar AmountMembership Dues $2,3140 $00 $0
CEO/Executive Director Compensation $0 - $50,000
Tax Credits No
Short Term Solvency
Fiscal Year201720162015
Current Ratio: Current Assets/Current Liabilities396.851255.12837.45
Long Term Solvency
Fiscal Year201720162015
Long-Term Liabilities/Total Assets0%0%0%
Financials Comments
Financial Comments by Organization We have applied and been awarded our first grant from the Sarasota Community Foundation to be applied towards training for facilitators and materials for our Education classes, Family-to-Family and Peer-to-Peer. The organization participated in the On-Line Giving Challenge in September 2016 raising 35,000 and is planning other fundraising events in an effort to sustain and grow. One  of our challenges has been to create enough income to enable us to hire an ED. We have established a solid event in support of this and are planning another now. In 2017 we held our first annual fundraising event called Out of the Blue and successfully raised a gross of 33,000. We are committed to making this an annual event.
Financial Comments by Foundation Financial information taken from Federal 990-EZ.  Contributions include foundation and corporate support as they are not separately stated on the tax return.
Nonprofit National Alliance on Mental Illness Of Sarasota County Inc
Address 1226 N. Tamiami Trail Ste 301
Phone 941 376-9361