Press Release. July 15, 2020
Contact: Carrie Kikel, firstname.lastname@example.org
Salem, Ore. – The Emergency Board of the Oregon Legislature approved a $50 million relief package
for Oregon culture Tuesday that includes $25,984,872 to Business Oregon for statewide distribution
to cultural organizations by the Oregon Cultural Trust. The funding was made available through the
federal Coronavirus Relief Fund to address the devastating impact the COVID-19 health crisis is
having on Oregon’s arts and cultural community.
“We are extremely grateful to lawmakers for recognizing that preserving our culture is essential as
we navigate through this unprecedented crisis,” said Chuck Sams, chair of the Cultural Trust Board.
“Our collective culture is the glue that binds us together as Oregonians, especially during
challenging times. Arts and culture cross all boundaries and inspire us to celebrate our diversity
and resilience as a people.”
The Cultural Trust is working with the Oregon Arts Commission to develop statewide, equitable
funding distribution to be administered through the Cultural Trust’s County and Tribal Coalitions,
said Brian Rogers, executive director of the Cultural Trust and the Arts Commission. The statewide
distribution plan is expected to be reviewed by the Cultural Trust Board of Directors at its July
23 meeting. Coronavirus Relief Funds are mandated to be distributed by Sept. 15, 2020.
The remainder of the relief funding package for culture was allocated directly to several statewide
cultural organizations and to for-profit and nonprofit performing venues.
Since the crisis began, nonprofit cultural organizations across the state have cancelled thousands
of performances, events and activities – including key fundraising events – and most have closed
their doors to the public. The loss of projected earned income, lifeblood for most cultural
organizations, has resulted in significant layoffs and furloughs.
Many organizations are at risk of bankruptcy and permanent closure.
A recent survey of 330 Oregon cultural nonprofits by the Cultural Trust revealed that participants
projected a collective loss of $40 million and average losses of $121,281 by June 30. The majority
of respondents (54 percent) have annual revenues of less than
$250,000 and operate outside of the Portland Metro area.
“Our distribution of the relief funds will ensure that cultural organizations in every
county, serving every geographic region of our state, will benefit,” said Rogers. “At times like
these we depend on our arts, history, heritage and humanities to help us persevere. These funds
will go a long way in ensuring our cultural community survives this crisis.”
About the Oregon Cultural Trust
Created in 2001 by the Oregon Legislature, the Oregon Cultural Trust is a testament to how much
Oregonians value culture. No other state provides a 100 percent tax credit to inspire cultural
giving. As uniquely Oregonian as public beaches and the bottle bill, the Oregon Cultural Trust was
designed as an ongoing funding engine for arts and culture across the state. Oregonians fund the
Cultural Trust. We, in turn, fund the artists, potters, poets, acrobats and dreamers who define our
famous quality of life.
In 2019 Oregonians gave $4.5 million to the Cultural Trust. Sixty percent of that went straight
back to the field. The remaining 40 percent helped grow our permanent fund. Our three grant
programs fund our five Statewide Partners, 45 County and Tribal Coalitions and 1,450+ qualified
cultural nonprofits through competitive Cultural Development Grants.
More information at culturaltrust.org.