Gulf Coast Community Foundation announces Fall Board Institute grads

24 complete program on Oct. 27

This is the Fall 2023 Gulf Coast Board Institute graduating class. Photo courtesy Gulf Coast Community Foundation

Twenty-four leaders from across the region graduated on Oct. 27 from the 2023 Fall Gulf Coast Board Institute (GCBI), the Gulf Coast Community Foundation has announced. The group made up the 17th class to participate in the Gulf Coast Community Foundation’s long-running board development initiative, a news release notes.

The initiative is part of the Foundation’s Invest In Incredible program, “which provides a variety of important services to regional nonprofits,” the release points out.

The following individuals who completed the 2023 Fall Gulf Coast Board Institute, and their board affiliations, are as follows:

  • Mary Lou Belisle, Literacy Volunteers of South Sarasota County and START of Sarasota County.
  • Sarah Clough, Manatee Habitat for Humanity.
  • Thomas Doherty, Venice Area Historical Society.
  • DeeAnna Dowdle, Manatee County Audubon Society and City of Sarasota Parks & Sustainability Advisory Board.
  • Denise Dull, Florida International Airshow and Integrity Charitable Foundation.
  • Len Frischer, The Haven.
  • Victor Gartner, North Port Art Center.
  • Kristofer Geddie, Venice Theatre and Friends of the Venice Public Library.
  • Dr. Deborah Hamm, Sarasota Orchestra.
  • Bianca Harris, Education Foundation of Sarasota County.
  • Wendy Ingram, Dragonfly Mental Health.
  • Michael Ippolito, Selah Freedom.
  • Peter Kretzmer, Sarasota Orchestra, Sarasota Cuban Ballet School.
  • Wayne Luoma, The Haven.
  • Lise Mills, START of SC and South County Food Pantry.
  • Christina Ottman, Girl Scouts of Gulfcoast Florida.
  • Lisa Pervin, Charlotte County Homeless Coalition.
  • Sasha Pyatte, Gulf Coast Community Foundation’s Philanthropic advisor.
  • Sasha Rosin, Jewish Family and Children’s Service.
  • Paige Soper, Streets of Paradise.
  • Dalton Tininenko, Peace River Botanical and Sculpture Gardens.
  • Clolita Vitale, Girls Inc. of Sarasota County and Sarasota Cuban Ballet School.
  • Gale West, North Port Art Center.
  • Linda Zeck, Sarasota Medical Pregnancy Center.

“This institute and its participants have a significant impact on our community, effecting arts and culture and all aspects of health and human services,” said Invest In Incredible Director Betsy Steiner in the release. “We are so fortunate to have dedicated volunteers serving in a board capacity throughout our region. It is an honor to help these volunteers become better board members,” Steiner added in the release.

“The quality, depth, and breadth of Gulf Coast Board Institute’s training for nonprofit board members was truly outstanding,” GCBI Fall 2023 graduate Dr. Deborah Hamm said in the release. “This is an ‘everything you need to know’ course that provides a solid foundation for the inexperienced as well as a refresher for the pros. Every presentation was broad in scope, rich in detail, and delivered by experienced experts who animated discussions with interesting case examples and fun group activities,” Hamm continued in the release. “Without a doubt, Gulf Coast Board Institute is a powerful resource for helping our nonprofits fulfill their missions with greater positive impact on the community we love,” she added. “Upon reflection, it’s not surprising to find the Ivy League of nonprofit board training in one of the most philanthropic areas of our country.”

The institute is offered each year at the Gulf Coast Community Foundation’s two office locations, the release notes: the Venice headquarters and the downtown Sarasota Philanthropy Center. “The institute provides high-level board governance training to new and veteran voluntary, nonprofit board members,” the release points out.

Applications for the complimentary February 2024 session opened on Nov. 13. To apply, visit