Sarasota Mindfulness Institute Inc
PO Box 15168
Sarasota FL 34277-1168
To provide programs which promote mindfulness practice, education and research in the local community. 
CEO/Executive Director No Executive Director
Board Chair Kurt Maurer
Board Chair Affiliation Community Volunteer
General Info
Tax Exempt Status Public Supported Charity
Incorporation Year 2010
State Charitable Solicitations Permit Yes May 2018
State Registration Yes Apr 2018
Financial Summary
IRS Letter of Determination
IRS Letter of DeterminationView
Impact Statement

Accomplishments 2017

1. Provided two eight-week Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction training and 3 Introduction to Meditation courses.

2. Provided weekly drop in meditation sessions for 1338 individual visits.
3. Provided mindful movement classes in yoga and qi gong and mindful eating workshops.
4. Outreach Program: Provided workshops in Manatee and Sarasota County schools for teachers and parents, including parents of at-risk students as well as to staff of local non-profit agencies. 

Goals for 2018

  1. In-house: Provide five Introduction to Meditation Courses and two Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction courses.  Continue twice-weekly mindfulness meditation sessions.

  2. Outreach: Institute a partnership with the Inner Explorer program to provide mindfulness training for personnel of Manatee County Schools and continue training programs in Sarasota County Schools.  Expand mindfulness training to New College students.

  1. Expand outreach to provide at least one mindfulness training course to an underserved group in our community.

  2. Increase number of trained presenters in our Speaker's Bureau.

  3. Reach out to area non-profits about arranging for presentations to staff and/or clients.

Needs Statement
  1. Maintain Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction in-house scholarship program for 12 students $4,000

  2. Conduct free mindfulness training outreach program for underserved groups: low-income individuals; single parents and others: $2, 400 

  3. Continue using contract work for marketing, fundraising and administrative functions: $6,000

Background Statement

Betsy Nelson, LCSW, founded the Sarasota Mindfulness Institute in 2009, with the support of her colleagues, friends and clients. After an early career as a golf professional, owner of the Metro Café in downtown Sarasota, and many years as a psychotherapist, she originally became interested in mindfulness practice as an effective treatment, along with cognitive therapy, for recurrent depression. After receiving formal training in Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR), originated by Jon Cabot-Zinn of the University of Massachusetts Medical School, Betsy offered a pilot MBSR 8-week course and achieved positive feedback and results. She began to host a weekly meditation group to supplement the course and due to demand, began a second and then a third weekly meditation. The vision for the Sarasota Mindfulness Institute, open to all community members, was born. In 2012, Sarasota Mindfulness Institute opened its first independent studio in downtown Sarasota. Since that time, attendance and participation in our programs and meditations has continued to increase, an ongoing teacher training programs is established and several new community programs are in the works.

Welcome to the Sarasota Mindfulness Institute!


Areas Served
Areas Served
FL- Sarasota
FL- Manatee
Service Categories
Primary Org Type Education
Secondary Org Type Community Improvement, Capacity Building
Tertiary Org Type
Statement from the Board Chair/Board President

I was recruited to serve as Board Chair by SMI’s founder approximately two years ago. My background includes not-for-profit management in the local community, including the start-up phase of an established not-for-profit. SMI had been offering the core Mindful-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) course and open community meditations for over five years, and the board of directors were united in the decision to take the next step and think long-term about how to best serve the community.

I have had a meditation practiced for many years and, from the start, I was attracted to SMI’s ambitions and mission. Over time, I’ve become more dedicated to SMI, impressed with its spirit of inclusion and focus on community; and because of the people I’ve met and the stories they tell of the reward a mindfulness practice has made in their personal and professional lives.

I am pleased that the Sarasota Mindfulness Institute has come this far entirely through the efforts of volunteer directors and teachers. Over the past year, we’ve become more professionally organized, and more focused on the next steps ahead: building a stronger board and membership base, obtaining funding for administrative support, continuing to build awareness in the community, and refining and expanding our program offerings to honor our mission and ensure fiscal sustainability.

Statement from the CEO/Executive Director
Sarasota Mindfulness Institute is currently an all-volunteer organization.
Description This is an eight week class designed to increase participants ability to develop a new relationship with stress, pain and the challenges of everyday life. Thousands of people have completed this course worldwide with several hundred completing it at the institute since it was first offered in 2009. Our teachers, with backgrounds in health and mental health fields, have been trained to conduct the course.
Budget $10,000
Category Education, General/Other Educational Programs
Program Linked to Organizational Strategy Yes
Population Served Adults Children and Youth (0 - 19 years)
Short Term Success

Participants will have learned to respond to stressful situations rather than simply reacting, which can often lead to negative consequences. Participants will be likely to have improved their basic physiological functioning, be more aware and in touch with the present moment.

Participants will have the tools to develop and continue their own mindfulness practice.

Long Term Success

Participants will continue mindfulness practice and will be encouraged to reinforce their practice through attending SMIs drop-in meditation groups, mindful movement classes and periodic retreats.

Program Success Monitoring

Participants evaluation forms show that 78% gave a grade of 5 and 22% a grade of 4 on a scale of 1-5 when asked “How important has this program been to you?”

Continued contact with past participants through their ongoing participation in SMI programs enables ongoing feedback and encouragement.

Program Success Examples

“I highly recommend this course for any over-worked, out-of-balance corporate executive (me!) who needs to start learning the tools for living mindfully. Excellent program, thank you! AS

“How to explain the joy at finding that Sarasota has a mindfulness institute? How can you not invest in MBSR for a lifetime of payout? Alison

“During this 8 weeks I have experienced an improvement in living in the moment, a reduction in stress, responding vs reacting and hope with continued practice this will only get better”. AWD

“I would recommend this course to anyone who has the desire to receive some tools that will help you learn to live life in the moment. It has taught me to recognize that life is a series of moments, most of which we spend pondering the past or the future. The real important stuff is happening right now. Thank you.” - Casey

“This class is a door to a better understood self.” - Sherry

"The MBSR course saved my sanity four years ago and now I come to the meditation sessions to keep up my practice" 

Manatee County School District:  During the 2015-2 016 school year, a series of classes was offered to teachers and staff of the Manatee County School District and the Manatee County Charter Schools. A total of 29 classes were conducted at 10 locations attended by 376 district personnel.  Participants were introduced to mindfulness practices through a variety of exercises which are similar to those offered in the full eight week Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction program.

Outreach to community agencies:  During 2016 we made outreach presentations on the benefits of mindfulness to clinical staff at the Child Protection Center and at Serenity Inpatient Psychiatric Unit of Doctors Hospital; staff of Dattoli Cancer Center and LeCom in Bradenton; and a series of 11 mindfulness classes to parents at Unity Church.
Budget $7,600
Category Education, General/Other Teacher & Faculty
Program Linked to Organizational Strategy Yes
Population Served Adults
Short Term Success

Participants will use mindfulness skills to help them respond (rather than react) to stressful situations in their work with children and adult clients in their professional capacities as well as in their personal lives. Living mindfully, in the present moment, often leads to improved emotional and physiological health.

Long Term Success

Participants will continue mindfulness practice.  Organizations will request follow-up sessions as needed.  We have conducted follow up sessions with Manatee County School District and Dattoli Cancer Center.

Program Success Monitoring
Surveys are taken after each series. Results from series held in the 2015-16 school year: The following % agree or strongly agree to the following evaluation questions:
I saw a lot of value in program and content: 93%
I learned and practiced techniques that I can apply to work: 85%
I learned and practiced techniques that I can apply to my personal life: 93%
If given the tools and resources I would incorporate this into my daily work: 74%
I benefitted from Nancy's introduction to mindfulness and meditation practice: 96%
I benefitted from Ben's guided meditation: 81%
I benefitted from Kimberly's mindful eating activity: 81%
I would attend a follow-up workshop offered on an inservice day: 82%
Program Success Examples

I enjoyed learning new strategies to deal with stress, and techniques for staying in the moment.

The fact that I got to help a colleague with a significant stress issue.


Meeting once a week and having time to focus on the present. Learning how to stay present.

Taking a breath and relaxing.

As a “survey” course it brought a little bit of everything—nice variety of techniques, applications, and between session practice. My fingers are crossed that a follow-up course is coming.

“Forced” to slow down for a bit—and realizing how much that helped.

Instructor’s voice.

Being present.

Introducing me to the art of meditation.


This introductory class teaches basic skills to people to help remove perceived barriers to practicing Mindfulness in everyday life. The class defines mindfulness and dispels common misunderstandings about mindfulness. The class also covers how to establish a successful home practice. Participants are taught body awareness and loving kindness meditations in this introductory class.

Budget $300
Category Education, General/Other
Program Linked to Organizational Strategy Yes
Population Served Adults
Short Term Success

Mindfulness is very much in the news these days and we have many people that are interested in seeing how mindfulness meditation can help them improve their lives. We receive reports from people that our Introduction to Mindfulness Meditation training has helped them to better understand how to reduce the stresses in their lives. Those who find some benefit naturally want to know how they can further their practice of mindfulness in their everyday life. Many attend the other sitting classes and movement classes that SMI offers. Some of these beginners decide to register for the highly regarded MBSR (Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction) classes pioneered by John Kabat-Zinn more than 30 years ago and taught by trained instructors at SMI.

Long Term Success

At the present time we have no direct measures of long term success among our population of participants. However, there are many successes attributed to Mindfulness Meditation.

Mindfulness training has been shown in hundreds of scientific studies conducted over the past 30+ years to be helpful in many areas. Studies have shown positive changes in the brain after as little as 8 weeks of training. Mindfulness has been adopted by large businesses like Google because it improves their bottom lines and enhances their employee’s quality of life. Professional and collegiate sport teams use Mindfulness training to improve their performance. Many schools across the country have adopted Mindfulness training as a way to enhance social and emotional learning.

Program Success Monitoring A feedback survey is sent to each student who enrolls in the course.  Responses are used to fine-tune this course so that it meets the needs of people who wish to start a meditation practice.
Program Success Examples

What did you hope you would learn when you signed up?

Expected to learn specifics about starting & continuing a daily meditation practice for good health & to be able to focus my attention much better.

Did the course meet your expectations?

Yes, because I learned several techniques I had not known and was encouraged to set up a routine for practicing meditation daily

What worked well for you?

The teacher calmly answered our concerns about the difficulties we were having with our home practice, and gave us clear suggestions we could try.

I do want to express my appreciation and gratitude to the organizers for arranging to give these sessions which I enjoyed and think they will certainly be good first steps to what I think will be a lengthy journey for me to be able to meditate.

We offer two one-hour drop in meditation sessions each week. Participants include people who have completed our MBSR program and want support for their ongoing mindfulness practice; people who are new to meditation and experienced meditators. The sessions provide guided meditation along with a book discussion. 

Budget $5,250
Category Education, General/Other
Program Linked to Organizational Strategy Yes
Population Served Adults
Short Term Success

Participants will return after a positive experience.  

Long Term Success

Participants come regularly and report that the group has helped them establish a mindfulness practice in their daily lives.

Program Success Monitoring

Each week there is an introduction where attendees are invited to share their thoughts on the group and on their own practice.  Surveys are distributed periodically which ask participants: Has the group been helpful to you in your home meditation practice and/or your life?  Is there anything you think we should change?  Do you meditate at home?  Results are shared with our meditation leaders and program committee to help them fine-tune the sessions to meet participant needs.

Program Success Examples

Comments include: “I come as often as I can to maintain my meditation practice.” “I appreciate how caring and supportive the group is.” “Something we read this week really resonated with me.”  "As a beginner, guided help is essential"; "the group provides a supportive experience"; "I strive for inner peace; I found this in today's group"; "fellowship helps motivate me"; "you provide me support through difficult times"; "Tips people share about their practices, challenges and successes help me"; "the group helped me relax and stop worrying";

CEO/Executive Director
CEO/Executive Director No Executive Director
CEO Term Start 0
CEO/Executive Director Email N/A
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 2
Volunteers 35
Management Reports to Board N/A
CEO/Executive Director Formal Evaluation N/A
Senior Management Formal Evaluation N/A
Non-Management Formal Evaluation No

Manatee County School District – contracts school year 2015-16 and 2016-17 to provide mindfulness training to teachers and staff.

Manatee Charter Schools - contract school year 2016-17 to provide mindfulness training to teachers and staff.

Sarasota County School District – 2014-15 trained volunteers conducted mindfulness lessons for children in after school programs in Title I elementary schools

SMI volunteers have conducted mindfulness presentations and discussed collaboration with the following agencies:

Florida Blue

Dattoli Cancer Center

Early Learning Coalition of Sarasota County

Jewish Family and Children’s Service

 Child Protection Services
LeCom Bradenton 
External Assessments and Accreditations
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 No
Document Destruction Policy No
Directors and Officers Insurance Policy No
Policies and Procedures No
Management Comments by Organization

SMI has budgeted $5000 to contract on a part-time basis with two individuals who assist with communications and administrative tasks.  This has freed the Board up to provide strategic guidance and enabled us to communicate our message more effectively, while at the same time staying organized on a day to day basis.  We will continue to assess our need for additional help but at the current time are within the amount budgeted for these activities.

Board Chair
Board Chair Kurt Maurer
Company Affiliation Community Volunteer
Board Term Apr 2014 to Aug 2018
Board Chair Email
Board Members
Board Members
Lynne Lockie Community Volunteer
Kurt Maurer Community Volunteer
Lily Myers community volunteer
Robert Seyler Community Volunteer
Peg Tams community volunteer
Roxanne Williamson Community Volunteer
Constituency Includes Client Representation Yes
Board Ethnicity
African American/Black 0
Asian American/Pacific Islander 0
Caucasian 6
Hispanic/Latino 0
Native American/American Indian 0
Other 0 0
Board Gender
Male 2
Female 4
Unspecified 0
Board Term Lengths 2
Board Term Limits 3
Board Orientation Yes
Number of Full Board Meetings Annually 9
Board Meeting Attendance % 96
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 100
Standing Committees
Program / Program Planning
Communications / Promotion / Publicity / Public Relations
Strategic Planning / Strategic Direction
Development / Fund Development / Fund Raising / Grant Writing / Major Gifts
Governance Comments by Organization



Fiscal Year Projections
Fiscal Year Start Month Sept
Fiscal Year Start Day 01
Fiscal Year Begins 2017
Fiscal Year End Month Aug
Fiscal Year End Day 31
Fiscal Year Ends 2018
Projected Revenue $34,111.00
Projected Expenses $34,111.00
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
Campaign Goal
Campaign Dates 0 to 0
Amount Raised To Date 0 as of 0
Historical Financial Review
Expense Allocation
Fiscal Year201720162015
Program Expense$15,039$24,691$28,633
Administration Expense$6,134$3,486$2,013
Fundraising Expense$0$0$0
Payments to Affiliates$0$0$0
Total Revenue/Total Expenses1.731.040.91
Program Expense/Total Expenses71%88%93%
Fundraising Expense/Contributed Revenue0%0%0%
Assets and Liabilities
Fiscal Year201720162015
Total Assets$23,022$7,633$9,638
Current Assets$23,022$5,634$6,330
Long-Term Liabilities$0$0$2,899
Current Liabilities$0$0$0
Total Net Assets$23,022$7,633$6,739
Top Funding Sources
Fiscal Year201720162015
Top Funding Source & Dollar AmountProgram Service Revenue $18,949Program Service Revenue $26,019Program Service Revenue $25,178
Second Highest Funding Source & Dollar AmountContributions, gifts, grants $15,975Contributions, gifts, grants $2,404Contributions, gifts, grants $2,820
Third Highest Funding Source & Dollar AmountOther $2,085Investment Income $7500 $0
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%30%
Financials Comments
Financial Comments by Foundation
Financial information taken solely from the organization's unaudited compilations.  Contributions include foundation and corporate support.
Organization was incorporated in 2010, but did not receive their 501c3 status until 2015.
Nonprofit Sarasota Mindfulness Institute Inc
Address PO Box 15168
Sarasota, FL 34243 1168
Phone 941 355-7194