Folk Alliance International
512 Delaware St.
Kansas City MO 64105
OSOG Official Showcase at the 2017 Folk Alliance International Conference.
Web and Phone Contact
Telephone (816) 221-3655
Mission Statement
To nurture, engage and empower the international folk music community –traditional and contemporary, amateur and professional – through education, advocacy and performance.
Our six goals put this mission into action through all of our activities, especially the annual conference:
  1. Education - To increase understanding of the variety, value, and continuing relevance of folk music
  2. Networking - To provide a bridge between folk music organizations, artists and needed resources
  3. Advocacy - To influence decision makers, inform our members and ensure the growth of folk music
  4. Field Development - To support and encourage the development of grassroots folk organizations
  5. Professional Development - To strengthen the effectiveness of folk music artists and organizations
  6. Consumer Development - To build the consumer base for folk music
CEO/Executive Director Mr. Aengus Finnan
Board Chair Mr. Matt Smith
Board Chair Company Affiliation Manager, Club Passim
History and Background
Year of Incorporation 1989
Volunteer Opportunities
Ways to donate, support, or volunteer
Folk Alliance International has multiple funds to donate to to help support our mission:
  • Charitable Mission
  • Elaine Weissman Scholarship (First-Timer Conference Attendee)
  • Mike Seeger Scholarship (Traditional Artist)
  • Gene Shay Scholarship (Emerging Folk DJ)
  • The Folk DJ Chart Fund
  • Music Camp
Anyone can donate at any time by mailing a check, donating over the phone, or using the secure donation links on our website at:
Mailing Address for Checks:
Folk Alliance International
512 Delaware Street
Kansas City, Missouri 64105
If anyone wishes to volunteer their time at our annual conference, if selected they will receive a full conference registration in return for their hours worked. Our volunteer page on our website provides more information:
Folk Alliance International also has numerous avenues for advertising. These include:
  • Program Book
  • Private Showcase Guide
  • Digital Advertising
  • Elevator Skins
  • Conference Monitors
  • Tote Bag Inserts
Our advertising page provides more information, as well as contacts:
Financial Summary
Revenue Expense Area Graph

Comparing revenue to expenses shows how the organizations finances fluctuate over time.

Source: IRS Form 990

Net Gain/Loss:    in 
Note: When component data are not available, the graph displays the total Revenue and/or Expense values.
Mission Statement
To nurture, engage and empower the international folk music community –traditional and contemporary, amateur and professional – through education, advocacy and performance.
Our six goals put this mission into action through all of our activities, especially the annual conference:
  1. Education - To increase understanding of the variety, value, and continuing relevance of folk music
  2. Networking - To provide a bridge between folk music organizations, artists and needed resources
  3. Advocacy - To influence decision makers, inform our members and ensure the growth of folk music
  4. Field Development - To support and encourage the development of grassroots folk organizations
  5. Professional Development - To strengthen the effectiveness of folk music artists and organizations
  6. Consumer Development - To build the consumer base for folk music
Background Statement
As FAI enters its third decade, the organization is in its strongest position to date. Increased staff capacity, a focus on data-based decision making, and strategic conference changes have yielded near-universal praise for the conference both anecdotally and in conference surveys for two years in a row. Increasing numbers of new and legacy delegates are being attracted to the conference’s business, networking, and educational offerings.
The organization’s first meeting was located in Malibu, California, in 1989. 125 attendees met to respond to a need for a national network to preserve, present, and promote folk music. This led to the annual conference that has been located in many different cities across North America. Since its inaugural meeting, FAI shifted to a more international focus, and has emphasized diversity in all of its programs. The move to Kansas City in 2013 has enabled FAI to create successful programs such as the Kansas City Folk Festival and Louis Jay Meyers Music Camp that thrive in a city with such a vibrant local music scene. The central location provides a more accessible venue for attendees across North America, and appeals to international attendees as well.
Impact Statement
FAI is currently in a period of rapid mission-driven growth. Accomplishments include the following:
  1. Increase in operational effectiveness and staff capacity. In the past several years, FAI has diligently refined systems to produce higher-caliber events, gathered better data from which to make decisions, increased to a full complement of staff, and offered more refined member-services.
  2. Elevated national and international credibility and recognition. This includes increased presenters and industry, higher levels of sponsorship, and better quality and breadth of programming at the conference.
  3. Increased diversity in staff, board, and overall programming.
  4. Enhanced development activity including starting a Friends of Folk program to encourage larger donors.
  5. Formal adoption of several pilot projects that give back to the Kansas City community (Artist in Residency, The Louis Jay Meyers Music Camp, Folk in the Schools, and the Kansas City Folk Festival).
FAI’s goals include the following:
  1. Implement national outreach in partnership with regional organizations including creating a music export project for regional export-ready artists to perform in national and international markets.
  2. Create and fund opportunities for regional presenters and key international talent buyers to attend the conference.
  3. Develop an academic summit for ethnomusicologists and folklorists.
  4. Negotiate on behalf of our members for more robust member services and increase advocacy and training for local, regional, and national artists and industry.
  5. Continue to engage diverse communities and develop FAI as a home for the truly international nature of folk music and all its cultural origins.
Needs Statement
  1. Diversification of funding resources: grants, foundation support, an active donor network regionally and nationally. Increased brand positioning, starting with stakeholder and market research to determine the economic impact of folk music and consumer associations with the folk brand.
  2. Developing more robust year-round outreach programs, including professional development for our members and public presentation of folk music.
  3. Underwriting operational expenses including staffing, updating technology (software and hardware), office infrastructure, and sustainable growth.
  4. Advocating on music industry issues at state and national levels and augmenting member services.
Service Categories
Arts,Culture & Humanities NEC
Areas of Service
CEO/Executive Director/Board Chair Statement
From Aengus Finnan, Executive Director

Folk Alliance International’s greatest success is the overall preservation, promotion, and presentation of folk music.
For 30 years FAI has provided training, events, services, advocacy, and career development for the global folk music community (artists, industry, presenters).
  • For its member non-profit organizations, FAI has ensured that they are supported, connected, informed, represented, and aware of and following 501c3 best practices.
  • For artists, cultural sector entrepreneurs, and cottage industry businesses, FAI has ensured that folk music is a viable career choice by providing professional development, training, and networking opportunities.
  • For rural and urban audiences, FAI has nurtured a grassroots community traditions through the support of acoustic music events and cultural exchange.
  • FAI’s music camp provides unparalleled access to instruction on all instruments.
  • For the folk music industry FAI has represented the interests, needs, and concerns via coalition work and advocacy at a municipal, state, national, and international level.
The challenges facing Folk Alliance International relate to capacity and resources.
The ability of a small staff to address the needs of a global membership is limited by the year-round efforts to produce the annual conference.
Most grant programs are not applicable to the annual conference, which is the majority of the organization’s focus. Additionally, the public donor base has been limited. Conference attendees are either not in a position to donate or have perceived the organization to be a business rather than a 501c3. This has limited revenue diversification beyond earned income in the past.
Consequently, staffing, organizational development, mission goals, strategic priorities, and broader community outreach has remained limited until recently.
To address these challenges FAI’s staff and board are revisiting the organization’s structure, staffing, and systems to better enable the organization for a progressive future. This has required developing salaried positions that will retain key employees, overhauling outdated systems, and focusing capacity expansion on core areas including outreach, membership, communications, and fundraising.
Overall, tactical spending on staff, systems and services has resulted in tangible results in all areas of FAI’s operations, but the challenge remains to expand capacity to achieve more mission-specific work.
Folk Alliance International produces the world’s leading conference for the folk music industry and community, attracting 2,700 delegates from 27 countries for artist showcases, an exhibit hall of key folk music companies, and four days of professional development panels and workshops.
The conference is not a public festival; rather, it is a robust business to business trade show where entrepreneurial artists and small business owners network and build their businesses by booking gigs, finding great talent, hiring a manager, promoting an event, etc. Many of these businesses return annually to find new opportunities at each conference.
Official Showcases: 200 artists are chosen to perform in Official Showcases by three separate regionally focused juries for US, Canada, and international artists. This process drives a wide outreach effort and results in an incredible caliber of artists (producers), which in turn attract high caliber presenters and industry (consumers) to participate.
Category Arts, Culture & Humanities, General/Other Musical Performances
Population Served General/Unspecified
Program is linked to organization's mssion Yes
Program Frequently Assessed Yes
Short-Term Success
It is hard to imagine the careers of folk music artists in the last 25 years without the presence of FAI’s annual conference. Countless artists have built professional networks, supporting teams and booked countless performances. Likewise, industry attendees continue to discover the best up-and-coming talent and support folk music’s established acts.
  • Gain attention from industry who can build their careers including managers, agents, and labels
  • Build national tours
  • Get access to international opportunities and connections
  • Successfully connect with peers
  • Book artists on the path to success
  • Discover new talent
  • Connect with a global team that is working with the same artist
  • Discover new talent
  • Build opportunities for those artists
  • Network with a wide range of professionals
Long-Term Success
Every professional that registers for the conference leaves with information, connections, or tangible deals that will positively affect their business and career. An elevated level of business transactions create a robust ecosystem where the genre can flourish. The end result is better artists competing for more paid opportunities to perform at venues and festivals that have larger audiences and stronger finances.
FAI’s ultimate goal is to elevate that entire ecosystem, sustaining and elevating the life of the folk music genre.
Artists can learn the business side of their craft and build an industry team that will enable a sustainable career. Presenters are able to connect with their peers to share common best practices and establish block booking relationships where several venues within a region book the same artist.
Program Success Monitored By
Our post-conference survey has measured satisfaction and effectiveness of conference activities. Success is also recorded anecdotally through stories shared by attendees to staff and board. In 2017, FAI will created an additional survey that measured the business return on investment, asking festivals, venues, and artists for information on bookings and business that was achieved as a direct or indirect result of the conference.
Examples of Program Success
"Inspirational, fulfilling, and thrilling to experience. I was very impressed with the level of consciousness, responsibility, and creativity of the people I met and experienced. We made many great discoveries for future booking."
- William Michael, BlissFest (presenter)
"It can be difficult to marry art and commerce, community and industry, but Folk Alliance does an impressive job of providing that space. FAI helps artists make a viable living."
- Graydon James, Artist, The Young Novelists (artist)
"Folk Alliance is the most important business conference I attend every year. It offers a significant opportunity to meet and hear new talent. The trade show is the best of any convention and the activity is very electric."
- Clay Pasternack, CPI Dist/Gotta Groove Records (industry)
"As I tour across North America and beyond, I can trace back nearly every important professional and personal relationship in my music career to the community of Folk Alliance."
- Heather Styka (artist) 
Executive Director/CEO
Executive Director Mr. Aengus Finnan
Term Start Sept 2014
Prior to joining Folk Alliance International in September 2014, Irish-born Canadian arts administrator Aengus Finnan served as the Touring and Audience Development Officer for the Ontario Arts Council.
He founded the Shelter Valley Folk Festival in 2003 where he served as Executive and Artistic Director until 2010. He served as Board President for the Ontario Council of Folk Festivals and was a co-founder of Canada's annual Gordon Lightfoot tribute concert series.
He is a visual arts graduate of Lester B. Pearson United World College and holds Bachelor’s degrees in Fine Arts (Theatre) and Education. As a recording songwriter he released three recordings and toured internationally for 10 years.
He is a recipient of a Distinguished Alumni Achievement Award from Nipissing University, and was nationally decorated with the Queen Elizabeth II Golden Jubilee Medal for his cultural and humanitarian work.
He is currently co-chair of the Kansas City Arts Industry Sector Council.
Senior Staff
Title Director of Operations
Title Business Development Manager
Title Communications Manager
Title Membership & Technology Manager
Title Office & Outreach Coordinator
Title Development & Communications Coordinator
Title Development Coordinator
Paid Full-Time Staff 8
Paid Contractors 8
Volunteers 250
Staff Diversity (Ethnicity)
African American/Black 2
Caucasian 14
Hispanic/Latino 1
Staff Diversity (Gender)
Female 7
Male 6
Formal Evaluations
CEO Formal Evaluation Yes
Plans & Policies
Organization Has a Fundraising Plan Under Development
Organization Has a Strategic Plan Yes
Management Succession Plan No
Organization Policy and Procedures Yes
Nondiscrimination Policy Yes
Whistleblower Policy Yes
Board Chair
Board Chair Mr. Matt Smith
Company Affiliation Manager, Club Passim
Term Feb 2017 to Feb 2020
Board Members
Ms. Lynn CingariAgent, Paradigm
Ms. Michelle ConceisonManager, Market Monkeys
Mr. Lou DeMarcoFounder, Momentary Love Management
Mr. Dom FlemonsArtist
Mr. Gil GastelumFounder, Cosmica Artists
Ms. Joan KornblithExecutive & Creative Director, The Loud Poet Society
Mr. Michael KornfeldPublic Relations Strategist; Editor & Publisher,
Mr. Sam LeeArtist
Ms. Deana McCloudExecutive Director, Woody Guthrie Center
Mr. Gary PaczosaVP A&R, Rounder Records
Ms. Amy ReitnouerExecutive Director, The Bluegrass Situation
Ms. Lisa SchwartzPhiladelphia Folk Festival
Mr. Matt SeverArtist
Ms. Alka SharmaExecutive Director, Folk Music Ontario
Mr. Matt SmithManaging Director, Passim
Ms. Ellen StanleyExecutive Director, MN Music Coalition
Ms. Denise StiffArtist Manager (Retired)
Ms. Laura ThomasOwner/Agent, ComboPlate Booking
Mr. Greg TorringtonContent Manager / Music Programmer, Stingray
Ms. Mary Sue TwohyProgram Director, Sirius XM Radio
Board Demographics - Ethnicity
African American/Black 2
Asian American/Pacific Islander 1
Caucasian 17
Hispanic/Latino 0
Native American/American Indian 0
Board Demographics - Gender
Male 10
Female 10
Unspecified 0
Board Term Lengths 3
Board Term Limits 0
Written Board Selection Criteria? Yes
Written Conflict of Interest Policy? Yes
Percentage Making Monetary Contributions 12%
Number of Full Board Meetings Annually 10
CEO Comments       
Fiscal Year Start July 01, 2018
Fiscal Year End June 30, 2019
Projected Revenue $1,250,000
Projected Expenses $1,210,000
Foundation Comments
  • FYE 6/30/2017, 2016, 2015: Financial data reported using the Form 990.
  • Foundation/corporate revenue line item may include contributions from individuals.
Detailed Financials
Revenue SourcesHelpThe financial analysis involves a comparison of the IRS Form 990 and the audit report (when available) and revenue sources may not sum to total based on reconciliation differences. Revenue from foundations and corporations may include individual contributions when not itemized separately.
Fiscal Year201720162015
Foundation and
Corporation Contributions
Government Contributions$0$0$0
Individual Contributions----$0
Investment Income, Net of Losses$304$0$0
Membership Dues$181,702$165,870$176,408
Special Events$0$2,499$2,554
Revenue In-Kind$4,426$11,321$2,217
Expense Allocation
Fiscal Year201720162015
Program Expense$955,470$743,480$722,177
Administration Expense$235,217$230,967$221,467
Fundraising Expense$39,920$38,500$33,103
Payments to Affiliates----$0
Total Revenue/Total Expenses1.011.051.04
Program Expense/Total Expenses78%73%74%
Fundraising Expense/Contributed Revenue------
Assets and Liabilities
Fiscal Year201720162015
Total Assets$616,502$502,003$458,521
Current Assets$611,694$488,312$433,294
Long-Term Liabilities$0$1$0
Current Liabilities$161,636$60,709$64,408
Total Net Assets$454,866$441,293$394,113
Short-Term Solvency
Fiscal Year201720162015
Current Ratio: Current Assets/Current Liabilities3.788.046.73
Long-Term Solvency
Fiscal Year201720162015
Long-Term Liabilities/Total Assets0%0%0%
Top Funding Sources
Fiscal Year201720162015
Top Funding Source & Dollar Amount -- --Individual Donor $81,495
Second Highest Funding Source & Dollar Amount -- --Neighborhood Tourism Development Fund $48,688
Third Highest Funding Source & Dollar Amount -- --Individual Donor $7,500
Capital Campaign
Currently in a Capital Campaign? No
Other Documents
Organization Name Folk Alliance International
Address 512 Delaware St.
Kansas City, MO 64105
Primary Phone (816) 221-3655
Contact Email
CEO/Executive Director Mr. Aengus Finnan
Board Chair Mr. Matt Smith
Board Chair Company Affiliation Manager, Club Passim
Year of Incorporation 1989