When someone talks to me about starting a nonprofit arts org, the one piece of advice I give them is to never feel comfortable with money that comes from foundation or corprorate sources.
In fact, I recommend that their goal be that after 5 years of operation no more then 15% of their yearly budget come from foundations and corporations COMBINED.
Or to put it another way, if you have been running an arts organization for more then five years and you don't have a significant amount of your income coming from earned income (ticket sales, memberships) and individuals donations, then you are in trouble.
Or to put it YET another way . . . an organization with an $100,000 budget that gets $90,000 of it from earned income and individuals gifts is FAR more stable and poised for future growth then an organization that has a $300,000 a year budget that only gets $90,000 from earned income and individuals gifts.
I know that one from experience.
Like any former or current Executive Director that got a lot of money from corporations and foundations I can tell you the story about how a corporation pulled a $50,000 gift we were depending on and cause chaos within the organization.
I used to think that the ensuing chaos was the fault of the corporation.
It was our fault for depending on the money and not spending enough time strengthening up our individual giving base.
Remember, your organization doesn't just need money. It needs the right kind of money.