The Van Wezel Foundation Bolsters Community Engagement with New Hire

Sarasota, Florida – January 22, 2020 – The Van Wezel Foundation is pleased to announce the appointment of Tracey Long Beeker as its new director of communications and community engagement. In her new role, Beeker will be responsible for informing and engaging audiences to learn about and take part in the Foundation’s mission to enrich the lives of children through the performing arts.

Beeker brings more than 20 years of experience as a leader in communications, marketing, public affairs and community engagement. Throughout her career, she has worked in corporate and non-profit sectors, helping organizations increase awareness, engage audiences, build coalitions, and foster community impact.

Most recently, Beeker served as director of communications and community relations for Sarasota County Schools. As a senior team leader, she developed multi-platform communications strategies that informed and inspired students, teachers, administrators, and parents, while promoting educational outcomes throughout Sarasota County. Beeker was part of the team responsible for cultivating community alliances and partnerships, conducting public forums and digital town hall meetings, and growing the district’s volunteer programs to support public schools.

Prior to her work for Sarasota County Schools, Beeker was the managing director and chief strategist for BE MORE Consultants in Washington, D.C., where she advised clients including Public Broadcasting Service (PBS), Artemis Entertainment, and other national accounts. One of her more notable campaigns was “I LOVE PBS,” a grassroots advocacy initiative to support federal funding for public television. Beeker also served as the vice president of marketing and communications for Reading Is Fundamental and gained early experience in brand marketing with Feld Entertainment, Turner Entertainment, and Walt Disney Studios.

“I am thrilled that Tracey Long Beeker has joined the team at such a pivotal time,” said Van Wezel Foundation CEO Cheryl Mendelson. “Tracey’s breadth of experience working in education, in concert with her leadership as a community builder, will play a critical role in extending the Foundation’s mission to create a world-class performing arts center that enriches the community, supports arts education and inspires young minds.”

Beeker graduated from Lemon Bay High School in Englewood, Florida, and attended Florida State University, where she earned her B.A. in Theater Arts. She also holds a master’s degree from George Washington University’s Graduate School of Political Management with a focus in strategic communications. Beeker has received multiple industry awards, including the Shorty Social Innovation Award, PRSA Silver Anvil and Holmes Report SABRE Award, among others.


Since 1987, The Van Wezel Foundation has partnered with the City of Sarasota to foster a connection between the people, the bay and the spirit of human creativity. Through this collaboration and the generosity of donors, the Foundation has provided grants of more than $14 million to invest in arts education and capital projects at the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall. The mission of the Van Wezel Foundation is to create a world-class performing arts center that enriches the community, supports arts education and inspires young minds. For more information, visit To learn more about the many ways we can grow our vision for the community together, visit

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