Pamplin Media Group – Johnson: Cultural Trust donations connect us all

Nathalie Johnson, MD, of Northwest Portland is a member of the Oregon Cultural Trust Board

Twenty years ago a powerful group of visionaries celebrated the fulfillment of a dream – an easy and effective way for Oregon taxpayers to raise funds for cultural activities. This was the birth of the Oregon Cultural Trust and its cultural tax credit.

It’s still a reason to celebrate. As the Cultural Trust celebrates its 20th anniversary, it has proven to be a stable source of funding for Oregon’s not-for-profit arts, heritage and humanities nonprofits operating across the state.

The state tax credit is available to any Oregonian who makes a donation to one or more of 1,500 cultural nonprofits and makes a gift to the Cultural Trust. At tax time, the amount you gave to the trust comes back to you dollar for dollar. And the state provides these funds for the Cultural Trust grants in the following year. It’s a win-win situation.

Since its inception in 2001, the Trust has raised more than $ 74 million for culture nationwide through the Culture Tax Credit. It has awarded nearly 10,000 grants totaling more than $ 34 million and its permanent fund now stands at over $ 33 million. In addition, the County Cultural Coalitions’ Cultural Trust network enabled more than $ 25 million in Coronavirus Relief Fund for Cultural Support awards to be distributed to 621 organizations struggling to survive the pandemic.

“I would describe the role of the Cultural Trust as an important incubator of culture, enabling art organizations to take creative risks and amplify the voices of those who have been excluded from the cultural realm for far too long,” said Ethan Gans-Morse of Anima Mundi Productions in Phoenix, Oregon, which has received four awards totaling $ 91,736 as of 2019. “The Cultural Trust is a vehicle for Oregonians to make each other’s lives more beautiful, deeper and more connected.”

Oregonians have the power to divert some of their state tax dollars to fund the arts and culture. Please donate generously to the cultural nonprofits you care about – they need your help now more than ever – and use your power by making a donation to the Cultural Trust by December 31st.

Thanks to you, more books will go to libraries, more historic buildings will be saved, and more support will be given for the arts, places, and people that make Oregon special.

Nathalie Johnson, MD, of Northwest Portland is a member of the Oregon Cultural Trust Board.

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