Become a Member

Email the director, Cindy Clarke to renew or start your membership today! Just say what your membership category is (see chart below based on number ofemployees) and how you want to be invoiced.

Reasons to become a member 

  • Attend all Family Business Forums for free from world-renowned authorities on family business without having to attend an out-of-town conference . Value - $7000.
  • Thirty hours of professional education for $8 an hour per person from the only program in WNC dedicated to family business. Value - $240.
  • Receive one-hour complimentary consultation with each sponsor per year. Value - $800.
  • A subscription to the nationally recognized Family Business Magazine. Value - $79.
  • Discounted membership to the UNC Asheville Fitness Center. Value - $200.
  • Learn from and confer with other owners in a non-solicitious enviroment. Value - Realizing you are not alone. Priceless.
  • Understanding the complexities of family ownership so your business can function profitably and your family live harmoniously.  Value - Piece of mind. Priceless.
  • Free membership to UNC Asheville full-time students and their families who have family owned businesses. Proof of enrollment is necessary.

Who benefits from membership in the Family Business Forum?

  • Founders of the business
  • Next generation owners
  • Adult children who are active and non-active in the business
  • Key non-family employees

Our programs are free to Forum Members. Owners of family businesses may attend their first program as our guest at no charge to explore the benefits of membership. Non-members may attend programs for a cost of $49 per person, payable at the event.

Membership Criteria

A family business is defined as a business with two or more members withnin the management team from the owning family.  Family businesses may have ownership and/or be managed by individuals who are not family members.

A closely held privately company is defined as a company where fewer than five individuals hold more than fifty percent of the company.

A sole proprietor with no employees may apply for membership for the purpose of education and not solicitation.

Membership Structure and Annual Fees

Membership Type



at no charge**

Strategic Partner Service Provider, Industry Exclusive $6500        8
Large Business More than 50 employees on payroll excluding owner(s) $1800        6
Medium Business 20-49 employees on payroll excluding owner(s) $1500        4
Small Business 6-20 employees on payroll excluding owner(s) $1000        3
Micro Business 1-5 employees on payroll excluding owner(s) $750        2
Sole Proprietor No employees $300        1
Collegiate Member Member of family is enrolled full-time at UNC Asheville (proof of enrollment is necessary) Gratis        1

Email the director, Cindy Clarke to renew or start your membership today! Just say what your membership category is and how you want to be invoiced.

*Annual membership fees are used for program expenses (speaker fees, travel expenses, books, program food and beverages); operating expenses; Family Business Scholarship; and subscription to Family Business Magazine.

**Cost for additional attendees from businesses at all levels of membership is $49 per person.

Non-members may attend at $99 per event per person.  Payable at event.

Payment Options

  • One payment in full due 30 days after joining, or
  • Fee divided in two payments due 30 days after joining and December 30, 2017.
  • Email the director, Cindy Clarke to renew or start your membership today! Just say what your membership category is and how you want to be invoiced.

Membership Benefits and Return on Investment

1. Content - Educational programming from nationally known experts on family business preservation, governance, transition, personal dynamics, strategic planning, communication, and how to handle risk/reward situations appropriately.

  • Members report that making better decisions, saving money and having access to professional networking are benefits from their membership. 
  • Sponsors receive knowledge and expertise required for professional advisors.
  • Membership receives current articles regularly including research findings and information about running a successful family business.
  • Complimentary subscription from the national publication, Family Business Magazine.
  • Complimentary University OneCard (for each member allowed at no charge) for Ramsey Library lending privileges; discounts on Bulldog and bookstore merchandise.

2. Camaraderie - Building relationships with family businesses and sponsors.

  • Opportunities to identify with other business families in a trusting environment. 
  • Members share common challenges and exchange best practices with each other.
  • Complimentary one hour consultation from Sponsors per year.
  • Exposure to expert advisors provides the member objective advice crucial to success. 
  • This exposure may evolve into client relationship(s) benefitting both parties***
  • University involvement and shared responsibility of bringing collective talents to help shape the economic, cultural, and societal future of community, according to the University Strategic Plan.

***The Sponsors provide a valuable financial and professional resource to our members. They are experts in the areas of law, insurance, investment and banking, strategic planning, and executive coaching. Our Sponsors are committed to sustaining family businesses for the well-being of the economy and the community. Through long-term relationship building between Member Companies and Sponsors, there may evolve client/customer relationships (or current relationships strengthened). The non-commercial nature of the Forum necessitates restrictions on solicitation and any marketing efforts that are construed as too aggressive for the "safe harbor" environment the Forum provides will not be tolerated. Please advise the Executive Director of the Forum, if you feel this understanding has been violated.

3. Commitment - Dedication to preserving family business for future generations.

  • Involved members strengthen the bond of their family and employees as a result of learning together.
  • Business owners learn that efforts toward a more cohesive family business create a lasting legacy.
  • Community involvement and contributing to the success of family businesses in Western North Carolina.
  • Member companies are known for their commitment to family business preservation by being listed on
  • UNC Asheville Fitness Center Memberships for $200 for same number of eligible attendees at no charge for the different membership types.