Kara Morgan was appointed CEO of Venice MainStreet in the summer of 2019. She uses dynamic community connections and high-level strategic oversight, plus over 15 years of experience in nonprofit management and development to tackle large projects, such as capital growth campaigns and federal grants to navigating everyday challenges, like building awareness and visitor engagement.
Kara is originally from Wisconsin, became a Venice resident in 2015, and has lived in Sarasota County since 2007. She holds Bachelor of Arts degrees in Education and Youth Studies, and Art History, from Beloit College and a Master of Arts degree from John Hopkins University. Locally, she most recently served as Director of Development of Art Center Sarasota and previously Deputy Director of Historic Spanish Point for seven years.
Within her new role, Morgan finds, “MainStreet is an asset to residents and visitors of historic downtown Venice. It offers collaborations and connections for business, cultural organizations, local government, and individuals. Organizations like MainStreet make a critical impact championing the community, fostering dialogue and creating platforms for partnerships that leverage the unique assets of all participants for the benefit of the collective.”
VENICE MAINSTREET STAFF
Kara Morgan, Chief Executive Officer
Michelle Harm, Community Engagement Coordinator
Bekah Horsley, Marketing Coordinator
Lysa Locke, Events Coordinator
2023 BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Venice MainStreet is governed by a Board of Directors that serves from January 1 through December 31. The president serves a one year term.
President- Tracy Silver, Venice Wine & Coffee Company
Vice President- Jeannie Gomes, Hotel Venezia
Secretary- Beaky Leake, Englewood Bank & Trust
Treasurer- James Haas, Twist Boutique and SunBug
Andrew Britton, Britton Law Group
Sandra Di Pentima, Fifth Third Bank
Ronnie Fernandez, Venice Florida Tours
Cindy Lodge, Community Volunteer
Helen Moore, Michael Saunders & Co.
Hector Pescio, Made in Italy
Laurie Sparr, Sarasota Memorial Hospital – Venice Campus
Economic Vitality Committee, Beaky Leake, Chair
Focuses on capital, incentives, and other economic and financial tools to assist new and existing businesses, catalyze property development, and create a supportive environment for entrepreneurs and innovators that drive local economies.
Design Committee, Jean Trammell, Chair
Supports a community’s transformation by enhancing the physical and visual assets that set the commercial district apart.
Subcommittee- Alleyway Committee
Marketing Committee, Cindy Lodge, Chair
Positions the downtown commercial district as the center of the community and hub of economic activity, while creating a positive image that showcases a community’s unique characteristics.
Organization Committee, Tracy Silver, Chair
Involves creating a strong foundation for a sustainable revitalization effort, including cultivating partnerships, community involvement, and resources for the district.
Partnership Committee, Sandra Di Pentima, Chair
Recruits existing and new businesses, nonprofits and community partners through a membership and benefits program. Implements organizational outreach at events and in the community.
Helen Moore, City of Venice Council Member
Joe Neunder, Sarasota County Commissioner
As a nonprofit organization, funding is achieved through the following:
1. Fundraising: A schedule of yearly events plays an important role in our fundraising efforts. Beverages and merchandise sold at these events create funds for the program, as well as advertising sales on our website and printed directory.
2. Partnerships: Businesses and community partners support Venice MainStreet, Inc. through annual partnerships, which range from $35 to $250. Corporate sponsorships range from $5,000 to $10,000.
3. Grants: Venice MainStreet, Inc. often acquires grants to offset the cost of program expenses.
A LEGACY OF LEADERSHIP
Thank you to the following community and business leaders who served our organization through the years.
Paul Intagliata, 1988-1990
Bob Hebert, 1991-1993
Carol Fritsch, 1994-1995
Sue Vedder, 1995-1997
Jean Trammell, 1997-1998
Chris Hassler, 1998-1999
Laurel O’Connors, 1999-2001
Murray Chase, 2001-2002
Kathy Chrisman, 2002-2003
Judy Johnson Lawrence, 2004-2006
Jean Trammell, 2006-2007
Bill Vanderstein, 2007-2008
Kathy Lehner, 2008-2009
Janis Fawn, 2010-2011
Kathryn Heddings, 2012
Sandy McGowan, 2013
Thomas Trammell, 2013-2014
Tracy Ivey, 2015
Jean Trammell, 2016
Bill Willson, 2017
Rod Nafziger, 2018
Nick Flerlage, 2019
Ronnie Fernandez, 2020
Sandra Di Pentima, 2021
Tracy Silver, 2022