The Forum had a strong year financially in 2012. Unaudited results show operating revenue of about $811,000, an increase of $61,000 from the 2011 total. Operating expenditures totaled about $795,000, an increase of $84,000 over 2011, which included $61,000 related to preparing for the Forum’s 100th Anniversary in 2013. The budget is overseen by the Forum's Finance and Executive Committees, which receive frequent and periodic reports.

The Forum derives 54% of its operating revenue from grants and contracts from local foundations, nonprofits and governments, which support specific research projects or areas of research. A quarter of its revenue comes from membership dues, which support discretionary research projects and activities deemed important by the staff and Trustees. Other major revenue sources include proceeds from the Salute to Local Government and Viewpoint Luncheons.