John C. Campbell Folk School

Brasstown, NC   |
GuideStar Charity Check

John C. Campbell Folk School

EIN: 56-0552780


The Folk School transforms lives, bringing people together in a nurturing environment for experiences in learning and community life that spark self-discovery.

Ruling year info


Executive Director

Bethany Chaney

Main address

One Folk School Road

Brasstown, NC 28902 USA

Show more contact info



Subject area info

Arts and culture

Higher education

Population served info


NTEE code info

Higher Education Institutions (B40)

Arts, Cultural Organizations - Multipurpose (A20)

What we aim to solve

This profile needs more info.

If it is your nonprofit, add a problem overview.

Login and update

Our programs

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

Lifelong Learning and Cultural Awareness

John C. Campbell Folk School (the Folk School) was founded in Brasstown, NC in 1925, as an experiment in progressive education. Today it offers over 850 week and weekend classes for adults in 47 program areas encompassing craft, art, music, dance, cooking, gardening, and nature studies. The Folk School also hosts a full calendar of events, including an annual Fall Festival and weekly concerts and dances. Listed as a historic district on the National Register of Historic Places, the 270-acre campus includes fifteen studios, fourteen student houses, a dining hall, a community house for student gatherings and events, and a History Center. The Craft Shop, a fine craft gallery, showcases a diverse selection of traditional and contemporary Appalachian craft. John C. Campbell Folk School operates as a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization with support from individuals, foundations, and other organizations.

Population(s) Served

The Folk School annually offers over 850 week and weekend classes for adults in a range of program areas, including:
Book Arts
Broom Making
Chair Seats
Felt Making
Nature Studies
Needlework & Thread Art
Paper Art
Soap Making
Surface Design
Unique Offerings

Population(s) Served

Student hosts live at the Folk School for a four month period, and are responsible for making sure that students have a good experience. In exchange, hosts may take one class each week.

Population(s) Served

Work Study Students live as a group at the Folk School for nine weeks. During the nine-week session they work five of the weeks and take weeklong classes for four of the weeks.

Population(s) Served

The school's fascinating story of nearly 100 years is represented in its History Center, where interesting examples of 20th-century Appalachia are on display. Visual art, fine and folk craft, music, historic film footage, photographs and written textual panels provide a strong sense of how today is defined by our past. From the old bench where the world-famous Brasstown Carvers began, to the original photographs of world-renowned photographer Doris Ulmann, the rich heritage that has made the Folk School a historical landmark are available to view. The Folk School was named a Historic District with the National Register of Historic Places on August 22, 1983.

Population(s) Served

The Folk School's Craft Shop represents more than 300 juried craftspeople and features an impressive collection of traditional and contemporary Appalachian craft, including jewelry, pottery, wood, fiber, ironwork, basketry and other disciplines. The Craft Shop is also proud to be the home of the world-renowned Brasstown Carvers.

The Folk School is a founding member of the Southern Highlands Craft Guild.

Population(s) Served

Where we work

Our results

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

How does this organization measure their results? It's a hard question but an important one.

Total number of free performances given

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Related Program

Lifelong Learning and Cultural Awareness

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success


Goals & Strategy

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn about the organization's key goals, strategies, capabilities, and progress.

Charting impact

Four powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

Based on the belief that personal growth and interpersonal relationships are crucial to our individual and collective well-being, the Folk School fosters edifying creative-learning experiences and helps people forge authentic personal connections.

The school is based on folkehøjskole, the Danish folk school model of education in which people live and learn together in a supportive, non-competitive environment. We offer 850+ weeklong and weekend classes in a variety of craft, art, music, dance, cooking, gardening, nature studies, writing, and photography mediums each year.

We have a robust community outreach program designed to promote and preserve traditional Appalachian culture. In part, this includes vibrant concert and dance programs; an afterschool music education program for high school students; a large, annual Fall Festival featuring craftspeople, musicians, and dancers, and numerous other activities that bring people together; a History Center that presents traditional Appalachian craft and history; and a Craft Shop that features both traditional and contemporary work of regional artists.

With a participatory board of directors, a strong senior leadership team, and motivated and engaged staff and contractors, the Folk School synergistically works to achieve its goals.

The Folk School’s Strategic Plan focuses on five priority areas: Programming, Community Relations, Human Capital, Physical, Environment and Technological Infrastructure, and Finance. Guided by the organizational goals associated with each of these priorities, the school conducts annual planning, budgeting, and employee review sessions, and staff members’ goals are aligned with departmental and, then, organizational goals.

- Founded in 1925, we now teach 6500+ students from the US and abroad each year in 850+ weeklong and weekend classes.
- The Folk School has the annual economic impact of $13,000,000 and 1,100 jobs in economically distressed “Tier One” Cherokee and Clay counties of far west North Carolina.
- We are on the National Register of Historic Places.
- Utilization of a 20-year campus master plan and replacement of an outdated IT platform will help us better serve our students and community.
- We will continue to expand local, regional, and national partnerships to improve our ability to provide experiences in non-competitive learning and community life that are joyful and enlivening.

How we listen

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Seeking feedback from people served makes programs more responsive and effective. Here’s how this organization is listening.

done We shared information about our current feedback practices.
  • How is your organization using feedback from the people you serve?

    To identify and remedy poor client service experiences, To identify bright spots and enhance positive service experiences, To make fundamental changes to our programs and/or operations, To inform the development of new programs/projects, To identify where we are less inclusive or equitable across demographic groups, To strengthen relationships with the people we serve, To understand people's needs and how we can help them achieve their goals

  • Which of the following feedback practices does your organization routinely carry out?

    We collect feedback from the people we serve at least annually, We take steps to get feedback from marginalized or under-represented people, We aim to collect feedback from as many people we serve as possible, We take steps to ensure people feel comfortable being honest with us, We look for patterns in feedback based on demographics (e.g., race, age, gender, etc.), We look for patterns in feedback based on people’s interactions with us (e.g., site, frequency of service, etc.), We engage the people who provide feedback in looking for ways we can improve in response, We act on the feedback we receive, We share the feedback we received with the people we serve, We tell the people who gave us feedback how we acted on their feedback, We ask the people who gave us feedback how well they think we responded

  • What challenges does the organization face when collecting feedback?

    It is difficult to get the people we serve to respond to requests for feedback, It is difficult to find the ongoing funding to support feedback collection, Staff find it hard to prioritize feedback collection and review due to lack of time, It is hard to come up with good questions to ask people, It is difficult to get honest feedback from the people we serve, It is difficult to identify actionable feedback


John C. Campbell Folk School
Fiscal year: Jan 01 - Dec 31
Financial documents
2022 2022 Audit 2020 John C. Campbell Folk School 2018 JCCFS 990
done  Yes, financials were audited by an independent accountant. info

Revenue vs. expenses:  breakdown

SOURCE: IRS Form 990 info
Note: When component data are not available, the graph displays the total Revenue and/or Expense values.

Liquidity in 2022 info

SOURCE: IRS Form 990


Average of 7.43 over 10 years

Months of cash in 2022 info

SOURCE: IRS Form 990


Average of 5.3 over 10 years

Fringe rate in 2022 info

SOURCE: IRS Form 990


Average of 35% over 10 years

Funding sources info

Source: IRS Form 990

Assets & liabilities info

Source: IRS Form 990

Financial data

SOURCE: IRS Form 990

John C. Campbell Folk School

Revenue & expenses

Fiscal Year: Jan 01 - Dec 31

SOURCE: IRS Form 990 info

Fiscal year ending: cloud_download Download Data

John C. Campbell Folk School

Balance sheet

Fiscal Year: Jan 01 - Dec 31

SOURCE: IRS Form 990 info

The balance sheet gives a snapshot of the financial health of an organization at a particular point in time. An organization's total assets should generally exceed its total liabilities, or it cannot survive long, but the types of assets and liabilities must also be considered. For instance, an organization's current assets (cash, receivables, securities, etc.) should be sufficient to cover its current liabilities (payables, deferred revenue, current year loan, and note payments). Otherwise, the organization may face solvency problems. On the other hand, an organization whose cash and equivalents greatly exceed its current liabilities might not be putting its money to best use.

Fiscal year ending: cloud_download Download Data

John C. Campbell Folk School

Financial trends analysis Glossary & formula definitions

Fiscal Year: Jan 01 - Dec 31

SOURCE: IRS Form 990 info

This snapshot of John C. Campbell Folk School’s financial trends applies Nonprofit Finance Fund® analysis to data hosted by GuideStar. While it highlights the data that matter most, remember that context is key – numbers only tell part of any story.

Created in partnership with

Business model indicators

Profitability info 2018 2019 2020 2021 2022
Unrestricted surplus (deficit) before depreciation $34,359 $2,073,363 -$137,754 -$109,138 -$2,375,301
As % of expenses 0.6% 35.9% -3.5% -2.2% -32.2%
Unrestricted surplus (deficit) after depreciation -$276,875 $1,764,059 -$473,247 -$445,649 -$2,713,362
As % of expenses -4.8% 29.0% -11.0% -8.3% -35.2%
Revenue composition info
Total revenue (unrestricted & restricted) $6,543,603 $6,619,600 $2,926,665 $4,524,565 $7,407,302
Total revenue, % change over prior year 16.5% 1.2% -55.8% 54.6% 63.7%
Program services revenue 76.1% 77.5% 34.0% 54.1% 57.9%
Membership dues 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0%
Investment income 5.4% 4.5% 8.0% 5.1% 3.0%
Government grants 1.4% 1.4% 21.0% 2.0% 1.2%
All other grants and contributions 10.4% 11.7% 32.9% 28.9% 33.7%
Other revenue 6.7% 4.9% 4.2% 10.0% 4.2%
Expense composition info
Total expenses before depreciation $5,465,682 $5,777,423 $3,984,493 $5,037,094 $7,372,435
Total expenses, % change over prior year 3.8% 5.7% -31.0% 26.4% 46.4%
Personnel 46.9% 45.9% 62.0% 53.0% 53.4%
Professional fees 4.6% 5.8% 5.3% 5.3% 3.9%
Occupancy 4.0% 3.7% 4.0% 3.5% 3.3%
Interest 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0%
Pass-through 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0%
All other expenses 44.5% 44.6% 28.7% 38.2% 39.3%
Full cost components (estimated) info 2018 2019 2020 2021 2022
Total expenses (after depreciation) $5,776,916 $6,086,727 $4,319,986 $5,373,605 $7,710,496
One month of savings $455,474 $481,452 $332,041 $419,758 $614,370
Debt principal payment $0 $0 $0 $0 $0
Fixed asset additions $0 $0 $0 $0 $0
Total full costs (estimated) $6,232,390 $6,568,179 $4,652,027 $5,793,363 $8,324,866

Capital structure indicators

Liquidity info 2018 2019 2020 2021 2022
Months of cash 5.6 7.3 7.8 11.8 5.0
Months of cash and investments 26.4 29.4 42.9 36.3 20.5
Months of estimated liquid unrestricted net assets 22.9 25.5 35.5 27.4 14.5
Balance sheet composition info 2018 2019 2020 2021 2022
Cash $2,550,605 $3,514,926 $2,603,927 $4,946,519 $3,079,189
Investments $9,482,599 $10,655,874 $11,625,441 $10,301,747 $9,544,535
Receivables $19,802 $17,135 $4,874 $258,340 $322,016
Gross land, buildings, equipment (LBE) $9,263,181 $9,250,090 $9,464,572 $9,645,553 $9,840,125
Accumulated depreciation (as a % of LBE) 45.9% 46.8% 49.0% 51.6% 53.8%
Liabilities (as a % of assets) 8.2% 7.1% 9.1% 14.1% 14.2%
Unrestricted net assets $15,425,571 $17,189,630 $16,627,650 $16,182,001 $13,468,639
Temporarily restricted net assets $574,562 N/A N/A N/A N/A
Permanently restricted net assets $82,249 N/A N/A N/A N/A
Total restricted net assets $656,811 $915,699 $1,055,071 $1,418,698 $1,873,011
Total net assets $16,082,382 $18,105,329 $17,682,721 $17,600,699 $15,341,650

Key data checks

Key data checks info 2018 2019 2020 2021 2022
Material data errors No No No No No


The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

Form 1023/1024 is not available for this organization

Executive Director

Bethany Chaney

Number of employees

Source: IRS Form 990

John C. Campbell Folk School

Officers, directors, trustees, and key employees

SOURCE: IRS Form 990

Show data for fiscal year
Compensation data
Download up to 5 most recent years of officer and director compensation data for this organization

John C. Campbell Folk School

Highest paid employees

SOURCE: IRS Form 990

Show data for fiscal year
Compensation data
Download up to 5 most recent years of highest paid employee data for this organization

John C. Campbell Folk School

Board of directors
as of 05/21/2024
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board of directors data
Download the most recent year of board of directors data for this organization
Board chair

Jo Haas

Janet Davis

Joanna Haas

Dale Jaeger

Maritza Maxwell

Dina Norris

Tommye Scanlin

Eric Cero

Andrea Conarro

Chris Dockery

Lillian Gantsoudes

Jane Jennings

Ceila Larson

Wil Posey

Stewart Senger

Jack Smoot

Organizational demographics

SOURCE: Self-reported; last updated 5/21/2024

Who works and leads organizations that serve our diverse communities? Candid partnered with CHANGE Philanthropy on this demographic section.


The organization's leader identifies as:

Race & ethnicity
Decline to state
Gender identity
Sexual orientation
Decline to state
Disability status
Decline to state

Race & ethnicity

No data

Gender identity

No data

Transgender Identity

No data

Sexual orientation

No data


No data

Equity strategies

Last updated: 05/21/2024

GuideStar partnered with Equity in the Center - an organization that works to shift mindsets, practices, and systems to increase racial equity - to create this section. Learn more

  • We review compensation data across the organization (and by staff levels) to identify disparities by race.
  • We ask team members to identify racial disparities in their programs and / or portfolios.
  • We disaggregate data to adjust programming goals to keep pace with changing needs of the communities we support.
  • We employ non-traditional ways of gathering feedback on programs and trainings, which may include interviews, roundtables, and external reviews with/by community stakeholders.
  • We disaggregate data by demographics, including race, in every policy and program measured.
  • We have long-term strategic plans and measurable goals for creating a culture such that one’s race identity has no influence on how they fare within the organization.
Policies and processes
  • We use a vetting process to identify vendors and partners that share our commitment to race equity.
  • We have a promotion process that anticipates and mitigates implicit and explicit biases about people of color serving in leadership positions.
  • We seek individuals from various race backgrounds for board and executive director/CEO positions within our organization.
  • We have community representation at the board level, either on the board itself or through a community advisory board.
  • We help senior leadership understand how to be inclusive leaders with learning approaches that emphasize reflection, iteration, and adaptability.
  • We measure and then disaggregate job satisfaction and retention data by race, function, level, and/or team.
  • We engage everyone, from the board to staff levels of the organization, in race equity work and ensure that individuals understand their roles in creating culture such that one’s race identity has no influence on how they fare within the organization.