Venice Historic Preservation League
PO Box 995
Venice FL 34284

To promote a public awareness and understanding of the historic heritage of Florida, Sarasota County, and the Venice Area within the context of our nation’s history, and to encourage inquiry and research into this history.

CEO/Executive Director No Executive Director
Board Chair Ms. Brenda Holland
Board Chair Affiliation Community Volunteer
General Info
Organization DBA
Venice Area Historical Society
Former Names
Venice Area Historic and Preservation League, Inc.
Tax Exempt Status Public Supported Charity
Incorporation Year 1991
State Charitable Solicitations Permit Yes Apr 2018
State Registration Exempt Feb 2018
Financial Summary
IRS Letter of Determination
VHPL, Inc. 501(c)(3)View
Other Documents
Winter 2017 Newsletter Venice ExpressView
Letter for Board PresidentView
Venice Train Depot BrochureView
Spring 2016 Newsletter, The Venice ExpressView
Fall 2016 Newsletter The Venice ExpressView
Impact Statement

Past Year Accomplishments

  • Presented seven free history lectures on the topic the Civil War to Civil Rights.  In 2016, it was announced that the long running Lecture Series was fully funded, in perpetuity, by the Bill Jervey, Jr. Charitable Foundation and renamed the Betty Intagliata Lecture Series.  This funding will allow The Lecture Series to continue without dependance on fundraising or annual grants.   All Lectures are Free and Open to the Public.  Presenters were notable state and national experts on Florida and national history.  The Topic, Civil War to Civil Rights will continue for another year.  Audience response has been very positive. 
  • November 2016, the Board met with a professional moderator hired to direct the discussion and formulate the resulting 3-Year Strategic Plan that was later adopted by the Board.
  • After several years of planning and fund-raising, the historic Circus Train Car was transported to Venice for extensive restoration at a local specialized shop; delivery to the Train Depot campus is expected in early 2018.   
  • Installed and migrated to new data management software to streamline member data and allow for more efficient use of management tools and data. Further refinements are planned for 2017-18.
  • Collaborated with Venice Institute for Performing Arts (VIPA) to produced a video documentary of the acquisition, moving, restoration and placement of the historic Circus Train Car on the Venice Train Depot campus.  Expected completion early 2018. 
  • Educated and informed local residents and visitors about local history through ongoing tours of the Historic Venice Train Depot (with VAHS-created exhibits and displays) for individuals and groups, including the internationally known Road Scholars adult enrichment programs and school/children groups with both bus transportation and age-appropriate programming provided.  Program to continue in 2018.
  • Continued to publish the Society’s newsletter, The Venice Express; maintain our website,;  produce brochures on historic topics and provide periodic media releases.
  • Collaborated with the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Venice to present a four-part 2017 Summer Series of Lectures, "Early Sarasota County History"
  • Promoted Speakers Bureau and sought new presenters to expand the scope of programs offered.
  • Awarded four $1,000 college scholarships to Venice HS local graduates funded by VAHS members.

Current Year Goals (See 2017-18 Strategic Plan)
  • Complete the Circus Train Car Project by permanently installing the Circus Train Car at the Train Depot campus  
  • Promote effective development and fundraising program to sustain the future of the Society
  • Identify and acquire infrastructure resources to support VAHS as it grows (e.g., meeting space, storage space, limited paid staff, etc.)
  • Create opportunities for members to interact around history topics and increase member involvement in the organization
  • Continue to strengthen partnerships, programs, governance and VAHS visibility in the community.
Needs Statement

1. To complete the restoration of the Circus Train project and see it permanently placed on the available tracks at Venice Depot campus. This will fulfill Sarasota County’s original plan for the campus and provide exhibits and displays to educate the public about Venice’s circus and railroad history.  

2. To create a sustainable development and fundraising program to:move its current office out of the caboose at the Venice Depot and into a space that will support organizational administration, meetings, and storage for records, program delivery equipment, etc.

  • hire staff to promote long-term professional management, thereby strengthening Board and off-Board leadership and improving organizational processes and continuity.  Additional funds for operations are estimated to be $60,000.
  • Identify persons in the local community to become members an foster involvement by current members in volunteer capacities.

Background Statement

Since 1991, VAHS has been the creator, manager, and underwriter of a wide array of programs designed to heighten public awareness of the history of the Venice area, Sarasota County, and Florida.

Through its educational programs, VAHS

  • Annually presented seven free history lectures series, open to the public, which beginning in 2016 is now funded, in perpetuity, by the Bill Jervey, Jr. Charitable Foundation and renamed the Betty Intagliata Lecture Series.  
  • Annually awards four college scholarships
  • Presents speakers and historical interpreters for local organizations
  • Researches and develops programs on local history and its preservation
  • Honors the history of local businesses and organizations at its Annual Meeting and major fundraiser.
  • Participates in public celebrations such as the Venice's Anniversary Celebrations, 
  • Hosts Road Scholar adult learners national tours at Sarasota County’s Historic Venice Train Depot, VAHS
  • Has welcomed over 32,000 visitors since 2003 through free docent-led tours of the Depot (two waiting rooms, baggage room, and freight room), and the Depot campus (caboose and Gunther Gebel-Williams statue)
  • Created museum quality historical exhibits in the Depot, providing a comprehensive history of the Venice area and the Depot itself
  • Has assumed responsibility for aggressively marketing the Depot and raising funds to pay for marketing, broadly publishing Depot hours in a variety of media outlets, its newsletter (The Venice Express), its website (, its Facebook pages (1927 Historic Venice Depot and Venice Area Historical Society), periodic press releases, and specialty communications
  • Provides child- and student-centered tours of Venice Train Depot for schools and youth groups, including bus transportation
  • Created and widely distributed a free brochure for the public, detailing the history of the Depot
  • Has received numerous donated artifacts related to the history of the Venice area or the Depot and placed them on display for the public to view
  • Provided select recreational and tourism information for the public in the Depot and the caboose.
  • Through its preservation efforts, VAHS:

    • Designates historic buildings in Venice with commemorative plaques.
Areas Served
Areas Served
FL- Sarasota
Areas Served Comments

The service area is South Sarasota County, Florida, including Venice, South Venice, Nokomis, Laurel, and Osprey.

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

I have lived in various cities in the U. S., and their history has always interested me. However, the only historical society I’ve ever joined is VAHS. Not only have I been an active member, but I am also serving as President for the second time. What is it about VAHS that deserves my support,and also yours?

VAHS’s mission includes two important themes;education and preservation. The Society is committed to making local history accessible to the public through diverse programming, and it engages in several activities to preserve historical buildings, artifacts, and information for the future.

VAHS has high professional standards. It brings an intellectual element to everything it does—from educational programs to newsletters to historically-themed fundraisers. People notice VAHS’s careful emphasis on historical research, and they trust the Society to provide them with accurate information and worthwhile experiences that enhance their lives.

VAHS has a history of strong professional leaders, starting with our founding President, Betty Intagliata, who is still active in the organization. Ms. Intagliata imbued VAHS with the importance of team effort and community service, and the culture of openness and collaboration that she created exists today. The governance of VAHS has always been transparent, and thus, the Society has made rapid progress in embracing new approaches to governance. Our new committee structure actively involves over 80 members.

VAHS has three challenges. First, we need to finalize arrangements to realize our #1 Strategic Goal--preserving Venice’s circus train heritage through the purchase and reconfiguration of a circus Pullman car for the Venice Depot campus. We have raised $225,000 to date, and approximately $25,000 is needed.

Second, our new committee structure must be carefully nurtured. Venice area citizens are busy with their jobs, personal responsibilities, or opportunities for an active retirement in paradise. We must continue to appeal to them, not only for event attendance, but also for volunteerism. Another Strategic Goal is to provide more opportunities for members to socialize around topics of history, leading to continued satisfaction with VAHS and a desire to become more involved.

Third, for 25 years, VAHS has worked without staff and facilities, and in that context, the breadth and extent of its accomplishments are stunning. Since 2004, VAHS has had a nominal office in the caboose on the Depot campus, but meeting and storage space are very limited. In order to carry out their responsibilities and even to store Society records, supplies, etc., officers basically set up offices in their homes. We must raise funds and secure adequate office space, equipment, and staff so that we can operate more efficiently as a contemporary non-profit.

Thank you for supporting this wonderful organization!


VAHS has managed and marketed the Historic Venice Train Depot for Sarasota County since the Depot’s restoration in 2003, providing access to over 31,000 local citizens and tourists. The only remaining depot in the county, the Depot is open 120 days per year, and an all-volunteer staff of docents gives free tours of its two waiting rooms, baggage room, and freight room, as well as the caboose and Gunther Gebel-Williams statue in the adjacent Rollins W. Coakley Railroad Park.

The waiting rooms contain museum-quality displays created by VAHS, highlighting the history of Venice and the Depot itself. Also on display is a collection of Depot-related historical artifacts including the Donald W. DeCoster, Sr. Station Agent Collection, gifted to VAHS in 2010–2014 by the DeCoster family. VAHS also creates and distributes history-related brochures, and it supports other organizations by providing select recreational and tourism information to the public in its information kiosk.

Budget $1,500
Category Arts, Culture & Humanities, General/Other Cultural & Ethnic Awareness
Program Linked to Organizational Strategy Yes
Population Served Adults Families K-12 (5-19 years)
Short Term Success

Visitor counts and donations will continue to increase.Visitor comments will continue to be positive.Community members will continue to donate historical artifacts, reflecting their confidence and trust in the Society as a steward of historic preservation. The public response to the proposed circus Pullman car will be positive.

Long Term Success

VAHS will be regarded by Sarasota County as a permanent partner at the Depot and will continue to be relied upon for programming and marketing.

VAHS will have sufficient funding to keep exhibits and displays fresh, accurate, and appealing.
Individual and group visitorship will continue to grow.
New initiatives such as the current proposal for a circus Pullman rail car on the campus will continue.
Program Success Monitoring

Program success is monitored through:

  • Visitor counts
  • Docent Hours
  • Opening Hours
  • Recruitment success of additional docents
Program Success Examples
Over 31,000 visitors since the 2003 opening of the restored Depot
Visitation counts have increased over the years
Increased visitation due to opening of Legacy Trail
Increased requests for group visits have been accommodated.
Telephone inquiries regarding specific exhibits
Increased donations of historical artifacts by community members
Popularity of the 1927 Historic Venice Train Depot Facebook page.
VAHS has developed a range of programs on Venice area history, offered on request to other organizations for a small donation. VAHS members serve as presenters and historical interpreters, offering several presentations they have developed based on their interests, background, and expertise.
Many speakers serve as re-enactors and make their presentations in period costume. They represent historical figures such as Bertha Palmer or John and Mabel Ringling. Others address topics such as the area’s pioneer history, the founding of Venice, the effect of the railroad and Depot on Venice, the impact of Dr. Fred Albee’s work in the community, the role of the Air Base during and after World War II, and the creation of the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway.
Typically, the Speakers Bureau makes 10 to 15 presentations per year. In 2016-17, there e were 11 speaker programs to eight different organizations in the greater Venice area.  Currently, ten Society members volunteer their time and effort to provide these quality programs and performances.  Due to natural attrition we are always on the lookout for new volunteer speakers.  Most engagements occur in the 6-month period form November - April.
Budget $400
Category Arts, Culture & Humanities, General/Other Cultural Heritage
Program Linked to Organizational Strategy Yes
Population Served Adults Elderly and/or Disabled Children and Youth (0 - 19 years)
Short Term Success
Organizations will perceived VAHS as a valuable provider of historical information for their members.
There will be continued requests for presentations.
Organizations will be willing to provide additional contributions for presentations
Long Term Success
The Speakers Bureau will be asked to provide increased numbers of presentations every year.
The Bureau will add topics and do research on an ongoing basis.
Program Success Monitoring
  • Community continues to call for presentations by speakers bureau and historical interpreters.
  • Additional donations to Society
Program Success Examples
  • Enthusiastic reception and letters of appreciation for presentations
  • Publicity in news media resulting from presentations

VAHS provides educational outreach to schools and children. Programs include tours of the Historic Venice Train Depot for school groups and youth groups, contributions to Venice High School for a Florida History, four scholarship programs for seniors graduating from Venice High, first grade programs at the Depot.

To illustrate, since 2013, one hundred first graders have visited annually.  The young children visited the Depot and spent the morning rotating through age-appropriate activity stations on the Depot campus, including the caboose. The activities were designed by the VAHS Education Committee and implemented by Society volunteers. 
Budget $1,500
Category Education, General/Other Early Childhood Education
Program Linked to Organizational Strategy Yes
Population Served Children and Youth (0 - 19 years) K-12 (5-19 years) Families
Short Term Success
Schools will continue to see VAHS as a resource each year and will be willing to partner with the Society in an ongoing basis.
Additional members will sponsor scholarships.
Long Term Success

Increased visits to depot and caboose by children and families leading to a greater appreciation of local history.

Additional VAHS members will sponsor scholarships.
Program Success Monitoring
Number of visits by school and youth groups at depot and caboose will increase annually.
Positive Feedback from school and children's group leaders
Program Success Examples
In 2013, the Education Committee developed a new program for first grade visitors to the campus of the Historic Venice Train Depot.  In February 2017, 96 Venice Elementary children visited the Depot. The children rotated through various activity stations manned by VAHS volunteers that addressed train travel (e.g., trip preparation, role of a caboose), local Depot history (e.g., the circus and the shipment of fruit and vegetables). and bicycle safety.  Each student received a bag of educational materials to take home with them. Teachers and parents were ecstatic.
VAHS presents seven free history lectures each year and is open to the Public.  The current Series is titled, "From Civil War to Civil Right".  In 2016, the long running Lecture Series was fully funded, in perpetuity, by The Bill Jervey, Jr. Charitable Foundation and renamed The "Betty Intagliata Lecture Series".  VAHS developed and executed 10 programs on Florida and the Great Depression in the spring of 2011 and 2012. In the spring of 2013 and 2014, 10 lectures on the Civil War and Florida were presented by noted scholars throughout Florida.  The current Lecture Series is  devoted to topics addressing subjects related to 'From Civil War to Civil Rights and attendance has consistently been in the 150 to 175 range, the venue maximum.
On occasion, speakers of national significance have been brought in. One example is Kirsten Downey of the Washington Post, the biographer of Frances Perkins, the first Secretary of Labor. Another is Dr. Tracey J Revels, Chair of the History Department at Wofford College, Spartanburg, SC and author of Grander in Her Daughters; Women During the Civil War. The theme for 2015-2016 was the "1920's and Florida".
Budget $1,200
Category Education, General/Other Adult Education
Program Linked to Organizational Strategy Yes
Population Served Adults Elderly and/or Disabled Children and Youth (0 - 19 years)
Short Term Success
  • Increased attendance at specific meetings and from year to year
  • Enthusiasm for topics and presenters will be shown on periodically conducted member surveys.
  • There will be increased inquiries about upcoming events.
Long Term Success
Qualified Lectures by notable history professors and exports in their fields will be continuously and successful presented.
The public will continue to respond positively to the program series.
Program Success Monitoring
  • Increased attendance levels at monthly programs
  • Number of regular attendees
  • Increased registration of members
Program Success Examples Attendance in the past two years reached the venue maximum because the programs were so popular.  The Lectures are fully funded in perpetuity and open to the Public without charge.
Program Comments by Organization

A challenge for VAHS is to continue to secure sufficient funding to support; free individual and group tours of the Historic Venice Train Depot; and school - youth group visits to the Depot (costs such as bus transportation are provided by VAHS).

CEO/Executive Director
CEO/Executive Director No Executive Director
CEO Term Start 0
CEO/Executive Director Email
Former CEOs/Executive Directors
Senior Staff
Staff & Volunteer Statistics
Full Time Staff 0
Part Time Staff 0
Staff Retention Rate % 100
Professional Development Yes
Contractors 0
Volunteers 90
Management Reports to Board N/A
CEO/Executive Director Formal Evaluation N/A
Senior Management Formal Evaluation N/A
Non-Management Formal Evaluation N/A

VAHS works closely with area history groups, e.g., History and Preservation Coalition of Sarasota County, particularly Venice Heritage, Inc., Venice Museum and Archives, Venice Historic Preservation Board, Friends of the Sarasota County History Center, and Suncoast Chapter of National Historic Railway Society. In 2016, VAHS partnered with VMA to present four free lectures to the public on New Urbanism.

A major partner is Sarasota County, the owner of the Historic Venice Train Depot. Other partners include Friends of the Legacy Trail, Friends of the Sarasota County Parks, the City of Venice, and Village On the Isle (the generous host of VAHS’s Monthly Lecture Series). The Society also works with the Venice Chamber of Commerce, Visit Sarasota County, and Venice MainStreet to market the Depot as an important tourist destination in Venice and Sarasota County.

IN 2017, the Society is producing Documentary Video with the Venice Institute of Performing Arts (VIPA), a local 501(c)(3) that manages the Venice Performing Arts Center (VPAC).  The Video will document the acquisition, moving, restoration and placement of the historic Circus Train car on the Venice Train Depot campus in 2018.

External Assessments and Accreditations
Risk Management Provisions
Government Licenses
Organization Licensed by the Government No
Fundraising Plan No
Communication Plan No
Strategic Plan No
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 No
Policies and Procedures Yes
Multi-Media Comments by Organization
The Venice Area Historical Society has completed a revision of its website The site provides up-to-date information about the Society, The Train Depot,  Calendar of Events, Education and Preservation initiatives.  The Venice Express, the VAHS newsletter is published three times a year and is distributed via email which has resulted in significant saving in printing and postage costs.  A four-fold Brochure about the historic Venice Train Depot is distributed in the community; as well as a 2-sided rack card describing the seven Lectures presented each year, Free and open to the Public from October to April.  
Board Chair
Board Chair Ms. Brenda Holland
Company Affiliation Community Volunteer
Board Term Mar 2016 to Mar 2018
Board Chair Email
Board Members
Board Members
Ms. Carol Bailey Retired
Mr. Thomas Bowers Community Volunteer
Mr. Ed Gates Retired
Ms. Brenda Holland Retired
Ms. Beatrice Holt Retired
Dr. Mary Huba Retired
Dr. William Jervey Retired
Mr. Norman Rao Community Volunteer
Constituency Includes Client Representation Yes
Board Ethnicity
African American/Black 0
Asian American/Pacific Islander 0
Caucasian 8
Hispanic/Latino 0
Native American/American Indian 0
Other 0 0
Board Gender
Male 4
Female 4
Unspecified 0
Board Term Lengths 2
Board Term Limits 3
Board Orientation Yes
Number of Full Board Meetings Annually 7
Board Meeting Attendance % 84
Board Self-Evaluation No
Written Board Selection Criteria Yes
Board Conflict of Interest Policy Yes
% of Board Making Monetary Contributions 100
% of Board Making In-Kind Contributions 100
Standing Committees
Board Governance
Communications / Promotion / Publicity / Public Relations
Development / Fund Development / Fund Raising / Grant Writing / Major Gifts
Governance Comments by Organization
VAHS is governed by a nine-member Board of Directors. Directors are elected every two years, and officers are elected annually.
In 2016, the Society met in an all-day retreat setting with a professional moderator to develop and revised 3-Year Strategic Plan which the Board subsequently adopted.  The Governance Committee has provide critical functions such as recruiting a replacement Treasurer and presented a slate of officers for 2017-18 Board election by members at the March Annual Meeting.  The Audit Committee is functioning well-directing an annual audit of the Society’s expenditures, deposits, and assets. The audit is certified to the Board, and the Board presents the results to members at the Annual Meeting.  In 2017, Governance developed a Formal Agreement that outlined expectations for the Board and its members which  was adopted by the Board in February 2017 to be implemented in April 2017.  A concept of Mission Moments will be implemented at the April Board meeting and continue at its monthly meetings.  "The 12 Principles of Governance That Power Exceptional Boards" by Board Source will serve as the monthly Mission Moments.  Each Board member will be provided a copy of the resource book.
Fiscal Year Projections
Fiscal Year Start Month Mar
Fiscal Year Start Day 01
Fiscal Year Begins 2018
Fiscal Year End Month Feb
Fiscal Year End Day 28
Fiscal Year Ends 2019
Projected Revenue $15,575.00
Projected Expenses $15,575.00
Total Projected Revenue includes "in-kind" contributions/ donations No
Organization has Endowment No
Endowment Spending Policy N/A
Capital Campaign
Currently In a Capital Campaign No
Anticipate Campaign within 5 years? No
Campaign Purpose To bring a restored/reconfigured circus train car to the Historic Venice Train Depot by 2017. To educate the public about the intertwined histories of the circus and the railroad. Completed 
Campaign Goal
Campaign Dates 0 to 0
Amount Raised To Date 0 as of 0
Historical Financial Review
Expense Allocation
Fiscal Year201720162015
Program Expense$87,143$23,526$25,733
Administration Expense$0$5,636$5,968
Fundraising Expense$0$23$1,573
Payments to Affiliates$0$0$0
Total Revenue/Total Expenses1.381.110.93
Program Expense/Total Expenses100%81%77%
Fundraising Expense/Contributed Revenue0%0%22%
Assets and Liabilities
Fiscal Year201720162015
Total Assets$238,177$205,900$87,896
Current Assets$238,177$205,900$87,896
Long-Term Liabilities$0$0$0
Current Liabilities$0$0$0
Total Net Assets$238,177$205,900$87,896
Top Funding Sources
Fiscal Year201720162015
Top Funding Source & Dollar AmountContributions, gifts, grants $108,503Contributions, gifts, grants $18,331Program Service Revenue $17,398
Second Highest Funding Source & Dollar AmountMembership Dues $7,805Membership Dues $5,455Membership Dues $6,425
Third Highest Funding Source & Dollar AmountFundraising $1,750Program Service Revenue $5,446Contributions, gifts, grants $3,636
CEO/Executive Director Compensation
Tax Credits No
Short Term Solvency
Fiscal Year201720162015
Current Ratio: Current Assets/Current Liabilities------
Long Term Solvency
Fiscal Year201720162015
Long-Term Liabilities/Total Assets0%0%0%
Financials Comments
Financial Comments by Organization
Financial Comments by Foundation
Capital Campaign $92,000 (Includes $37,000 capping grant).
Financial information taken from IRS Form 990-EZ for tax years 2010 and 2011. For years 2012 and 2013, financial compilations were used as the organization filed a 990-N.  Individual contributions include foundation and corporate support.
Nonprofit Venice Historic Preservation League
Address PO Box 995
Venice, FL 34285
Phone 941 412-0151