The Exchange donates $250,000 to the arts


SARASOTA – The Exchange, formerly the Women’s Exchange, will award $250,000 to 19 regionally based arts and cultural organizations and 22 students.

The awards will be given at an invitation–only event at the exchange on June 7.

Karen Koblenz who is the CEO of the exchange says the organizational grants are for specific projects and outreach programs, including performances, exhibitions, education initiatives and special series.

The Exchange’s board bases its granting decisions on many things including the educational impact these programs will have on area students.

“Whether you choose to shop, consign, and volunteer your time. It’s an act of generosity. It’s a form of philanthropy. We’re able to take the merchandise that people turn in or purchase and turn it into money which is then given away to support the arts,” said Koblenz. “It is the arts that separates Sarasota from every other beach community in Florida.”

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Jessika Ward is a Sarasota native and an award-winning multimedia journalist. She joined the Suncoast News Network in February of 2018 and is happy to be back in her hometown. Jessika won three Florida Associated Press Awards while a student at Florida A&M University. Prior to coming to SNN, Jessika interned with WWSB ABC7 and worked as a videographer/editor at WTXL ABC27 in Tallahassee. ​​Jessika Ward is a proud rattler and Historically Black College and University (HBCU) advocate. She shares her HBCU experience in "Tell Them We Are Rising: The Story of Black Colleges and Universities,” a documentary about the history and future of HBCU's that was presented in the Sundance Film Festival and aired on PBS. Jessika's hobbies include photography, watching independent films, watching sports, and reading a good book.


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