Today, in a statewide, three-city press conference led by Governor Ted Kulongoski, the Oregon Cultural Trust announced more than $1.65 million in grants that benefit cultural nonprofits in every county in Oregon. Trust grants for FY 2009 (July 1, 2008 – June 30, 2009) increased 21% because of significantly increased donations from Oregon citizens and corporations.
The Governor declared, "The Oregon Cultural Trust is the most powerful - and important - tool we have supporting cultural organizations; bringing art and culture to rural communities; and building our creative economy - and the thousands of sustainable jobs that come with it."
Norm Smith, Chairman of the Cultural Trust Board, explained the thinking behind the statewide press conference. “As we approach the 150th anniversary of Oregon’s statehood, it seemed important to draw attention to the statewide significance of Oregon Cultural Trust grants. This year, in particular, we awarded a number of major grants that speak directly to Oregon’s heritage and history such as Oregon 150, OPB-TV’s ‘Oregon Experience,’ the citizen effort behind the installation of an iconic statue of former Governor Tom McCall in Salem’s River Front Park, Rural Development Initiative’s project to foster eco and cultural tourism along with several preservation projects and historical exhibits. In addition, several touring and radio broadcasting projects will bring the creativity of our performers, artists and writers to millions of Oregonians.”
Christine D’Arcy, executive director of the Cultural Trust said, “We are grateful to the Governor, the First Lady, the legislature and the people of Oregon for their committed support of Oregon’s arts, heritage and humanities nonprofits. These groups stimulate economic development, boost Oregon’s quality of life, attract visitors, and support artists and cultural endeavors. We are pleased to be able to invest in their vital work. Those investments are made possible by Oregonians who contribute to the Cultural Trust and benefit from our state’s unique cultural tax credit. No other state in the nation has a cultural funding program like the Oregon Cultural Trust.”
D’Arcy also announced plans for Oregon’s first statewide Day of Culture for October 8, 2008, marking the sixth anniversary of the passage of Oregon’s cultural tax credit. The Trust plans to rally Oregon’s cultural nonprofits to make their programming, artists, scholars and facilities as accessible as possible that day, and will organize public events in various sites across the state to draw attention to the breadth and vitality of Oregon culture.
Carol Pelton, Trust manager, said that this has been an extraordinary year for the Trust. “In the fiscal year ended June 30, contributions to the Cultural Trust increased 27% to $3,576,422. Increased revenues allow us to boost grantmaking – good news for all concerned but especially for Oregonians who will have enhanced opportunities to experience the work of Oregon’s 1,200 arts, heritage and humanities nonprofits.”
The Trust’s revenues for fiscal year 2008 exceeded $4.26 million, an increase of nearly 24% above FY 2007’s $334,808: $3.57 million in individual and corporate contributions (up 27% over FY 2007); $295,942 in sales of Oregon’s cultural license plate (up 0.81% over FY 2007); and $391,947 in interest, 17% above FY 2007’s $334,808. On June 30, 2008, the close of fiscal year 2008, the permanent Cultural Trust Fund totaled $10,951,699.19, an increase of 31% over 2007’s $8,159,955.08. By law, the Trust may distribute up to 42 % of the funds raised each year. Fifty-eight percent remains in the endowment to support cultural funding in perpetuity.
For fiscal year 2009 (July 1, 2008 – June 30, 2009), the Trust will distribute grants in each of its three grant programs:
- Competitive Cultural Development grants of $552,228 to 52 Oregon cultural non-profits
- Cultural Participation grants totaling $552,228 to the 45 county and tribal coalitions
- Cultural Partner grants of $552,228 to the Trust’s five statewide cultural partners (Oregon Arts Commission, Oregon Council for the Humanities, Oregon Heritage Commission, Oregon Historical Society, and State Historic Preservation Office)
The Trust’s competitive Cultural Development grants provide state recognition and support to significant cultural programs and projects, preserving and enhancing Oregon’s diverse arts, heritage and humanities programs. In a rigorous process that included two review panels before a decision by the Trust board, 52 of 160 eligible applicants received funding in the areas of Access, Capacity, Creativity or Preservation.
D’Arcy emphasized the range of Cultural Development grants, “This year, we awarded grants to two organizations celebrating 25th anniversaries: Miracle Theatre Group and Portland Baroque Orchestra; and to three important capital campaigns, all of which are also first-time Trust grantees: The Center for the Arts Foundation in Gresham, Coastal Communities Cultural Center in Lincoln City, and Chehalem Center Association in Newberg. In all, 20 of the 52 grants announced are to first-time grantees.”
Cultural Participation grants provide Trust funding to every county in the state, and the nine federally recognized tribes. Cultural coalitions will receive a total of $552,228 to re-distribute to local projects according to cultural plans specific to their area’s assets and needs. These grants, with a base of $5,000 plus a multiplier based on population, range from $5,077 for the Coos, Lower Umpqua & Siuslaw Tribes to $14,085 in Douglas County, from $31,999 in Marion County to $66,627 in Multnomah County.