Salem, Oregon – Oregonians, and only Oregonians, have the unique opportunity to direct a portion of their state taxes to fund arts, heritage and humanities work across the state by using the Cultural Tax Credit. The vast majority of Oregonians who are eligible, however, are not aware of the opportunity.
The Oregon Cultural Trust, a charitable state agency, administers the Cultural Tax Credit. Both were created by the Oregon State Legislature in 2001 in response to the national trend of decreased government funding for arts and culture.
Participating in the tax credit is easy. First, make a donation to a cultural nonprofit that matters to you – your local library, a performing arts organization, a museum or any of the 1,500+ organizations qualified by the Cultural Trust. Then make a contribution of equal or lesser value to the Trust to qualify for the tax credit. The credit is equal to the amount of the contribution to the Trust, and may not exceed $500 for a single filer, $1,000 for joint filers or $2,500 for Class-C corportations.
Contributions to the Cultural Trust must be made in the same calendar year as the donation(s) to cultural nonprofits. Currently, the Cultural Trust estimates only 5 percent of cultural donors take advantage of the tax credit.
Funding through the Cultural Tax Credit empowers Oregonians such as artists, potters, rappers, acrobats and dreamers – in short, the people who make Oregon a place that celebrates the best of its community.
In FY2022, Oregonians gave a record $5.7 million to the Cultural Trust. Sixty percent of that went straight into creative makers’ hands. The remaining 40 percent helps grow a permanent fund for Oregon arts, heritage and humanities.
“We have now surpassed 10,000 grant awards since the Cultural Trust was formed,” said Brian Rogers, executive director. “And thanks to the incredible success of the new Celebrate Oregon! license plate, which funds promotion of the Cultural Tax Credit, we are poised to engage even more Oregonians in the future. We are confident the best is yet to come for arts, heritage and humanities in Oregon.”
Since 2003, donations to the Cultural Trust have generated more than $30 million in grants to cultural organizations across Oregon. The Cultural Trust has three cultural grant programs that enable broad and deep funding throughout the state: competitive cultural development grants, awarded directly to organizations; county and tribal coalition awards, which fund an average of 450 additional local grants each year; and cultural partner awards to the Oregon Arts Commission, Oregon Heritage, Oregon Historical Society, Oregon Humanities and the State Historic Preservation Office. All these grants are funded exclusively by Oregonians who participate in the Oregon Cultural Tax Credit. The list of FY2023 grants include awards to 138 organizations making a difference in Oregon.
Another way to get involved is to purchase the “Celebrate Oregon!” Cultural Trust license plate. This vibrant license plate, designed by artist Liza Mana Burns, is a tribute to Oregon’s diverse geography, people and cultural traditions. If you look closely, you’ll find 127 symbols woven into the artwork hat encompass the art, history, heritage, people and cultural practices that make Oregon unique. Proceeds from the plate support the promotion of the Cultural Tax Credit and fund arts and culture across the state.
For more information on the Oregon Cultural Trust, and to learn more about all the ways you can get involved, visit https://culturaltrust.org.