Back when I was writing about Appalshop as a model of community dialogue, there were some questions about the funding model, and suggestions that Appalshop was largely government funded. Here is a clarification from a member of Appalshop:
As an artist at Appalshop I just want to be clear that most of our funding does not come from the NEA. There might have been a time when federal sources had that sort of impact, but it has not been true for many, many years.
Appalshop's endowment comes from thousand of small donations from folks across the country, with some anchor support from foundations for various campaigns. The earnings from the endowment equal around six percent of the annual 2.0 mil. operating budget and mostly act as seed money for artistic projects from all divisions (theater, film, radio, and education) to get kick started. Our funding comes from an innovative web of private, government, earned income, contract, donor, and other forms of sales. Many times it comes from developing partnerships with other non-profits or agencies addressing pressing socials issues—who don’t have a mission of supporting arts, but see how our work can be strategic to their social, economic, cultural, or political goals. We also do yard sales!
I would say our best resource is the social capital of the folks who work here and are invested in making art happen here and beyond.