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Be a Medici - Give by June 30 to Augment CulturalTrust Grants!
Last weekend I hosted a yard sale for a personal charity project, our last fundraising push of the season.
After eight hours of fun but exhaustive haggling with hard-core bargain hunters, my neighborhood can man showed up.
An older gentleman who collects recyclables in our area, he speaks mostly in smiles and hand gestures so nobody knows his story or his housing situation. A few times since Oregon’s switch from plastic to paper, I’ve given a trash bag when his paper sack, overflowing with cans, has ripped open.
As the yard sale wrapped up, he came over to shake my hand and, with his customary grin, placed a $1 bill on my palm. I gestured to a pile of good men’s clothing and asked what he wanted to take. He wagged his head, gestured to our sign and said, “Donation – Bless you.” Rendered speechless, I fought to not foist a warm Eddie Bauer jacket on him. He didn't want our old clothing, he simply wanted to give.
Over the previous three months, I’d raised $7,000 for this project, hustling donations of $10 to $1,000 from doctors, lawyers, professors, politicians, pop stars, and industry moguls. But this contribution brought tears to my eyes. To close out my fundraising with a dollar from this neighbor… well, that was the perfect finish.
That night I realized my can man is a philanthropist. Though he may well be homeless, he considers himself part of our community and enjoys being able to give. That is a rich man indeed.
So, why blog this on our site?... And why now?
Because The Cultural Trust tends to be subtle in its ask for donations.
And I didn’t raise $7,000 in three months being subtle. So, here we go...
The Cultural Trust does important work.
Our lean, four-person team and our partners plant seeds of culture statewide – we fund programs that educate our children; we provide jobs in multiple industries; our work fosters tourism, preserves our state’s history and offers Oregonians meaningful discourse and entertainment. We are an integral driver of education, economic development and livability.
We grant money to projects as diverse as the Kerbyville Museum, the Arts Council of Pendleton, and the Eugene Ballet. We also fund the Poet Laureate, a post that was only reinstated (in 2006) because of the Trust. We fund Oregon Humanities, Oregon Arts Commission, Oregon Heritage Commission, The State Historic Preservation Office and Oregon Historical Society.
We support OPB, All Classical FM, and we have business partnerships throughout the community. We are a staple supporter of 36 county cultural coalitions and six tribal coalitions that turn around and re-grant the money to appropriate individuals and local organizations.
We employ a unique tax credit that allows Oregonians to control where $500 to $1000 of their state taxes go every year. And, unlike many national charities, our donor money stays in Oregon.
Now our fiscal year 2011-12 is about to close (June 30). That date will come fast. Whatever we collect by June 30 is what we can grant to any number of the 163 arts, heritage and humanities non-profits that have requested over $2million this season, some just to stay afloat.
If you are reading this blog, chances are you find our work important and worthy of your time. It is our hope, as we near this June 30 deadline, that you also find our work worthy of your financial support.
Even if you can only afford to give a couple bucks right now, it still counts. Like my neighbor, you too can live like a Medici, by supporting culture and owning your place in our vibrant community.
Please give today by clicking the donate button above.
-Meryl Lipman, Trust Communications Manager