To the Editor:
Very few Oregon industries have suffered more than our arts and culture sector this year. Performing arts organizations, museums, concert halls, libraries, theater groups and dance companies across the state have taken a huge hit due to ongoing closures and restrictions on large gatherings.
In June, an Oregon Cultural Trust survey revealed the devastating financial impact of the pandemic on arts and cultural organizations. By mid-July, Oregon led the nation in allocating $25.9 million in federal CARES Act funds to the arts and culture community through the Cultural Trust’s County Cultural Coalition network. The funding reached 621 organizations in every corner of the state and saved many from permanent closure — but the crisis and their losses continue.
Now, in a focused effort to help our cultural community recover in 2021, the Cultural Trust is urging more Oregonians to donate to organizations they value and to utilize Oregon’s unique cultural tax credit to leverage greater annual funding for culture.
Donors simply give to one or more of the 1,450+ cultural nonprofits the Cultural Trust supports, then make a matching donation to the Trust before December 31. The donation to the Trust comes back, dollar for dollar, when the donor claims the cultural tax credit on their state taxes. Meanwhile, the Trust donation sends a signal to the Legislature to set those funds aside to support cultural projects.
The Cultural Trust annually distributes up to 60 percent of funds raised to its five Statewide Partners, County and Tribal Cultural Coalitions (who regrant the funds in their communities) and directly to cultural organizations through a competitive grant program. The remaining 40 percent is invested in the Trust’s permanent fund to support culture for future generations.
Please help our arts, history, heritage and humanities nonprofits survive the pandemic by donating to the Cultural Trust and claiming your tax credit.
Until the curtain rises again, let’s protect Oregon culture together.
Niki Price, Vice Chair
Oregon Cultural Trust
PS: Visit culturaltrust.org to make a donation or learn more.