With most headlines about taxes grabbed by the national debate over priorities, it’s appropriate for a timely reminder about a program that helps individuals with their taxes and benefits our community.
The Oregon Cultural Trust must surely be one of the cleverest inventions of the modern era.
And it is unique to Oregon. No other state provides a 100 percent tax credit to inspire cultural giving.
Created by the Legislature in 2002, it provides a single funding mechanism that allows taxpayers to benefit while giving to arts, cultural and historic preservation organizations around the state. The Trust’s mission is to “lead Oregon in cultivating, growing and valuing culture as an integral part of communities.”
In 2015, Oregonians gave $4.56 million. While a portion is invested to build the trust’s permanent fund, the rest comes back to communities in the form of grants.
If anyone is skeptical about the money coming back here, 12 local groups received $13,000 this year. The cash is apportioned by the Clatsop County Cultural Coalition, a local umbrella group of arts and cultural organizations.
The North Coast Symphonic Band and North Coast Chorale received money for musical events. Partners for the PAC in Astoria, which received grants for theater performances the past two years, received support for its 2018 concert series.
South County is always well represented in the list of recipients. Seaside Park and Recreation District will stage a children’s summer theater thanks to some funding, the Tolovana Arts Colony’s arts and cultural exchange series will be aided, as will the Seaside Museum and Historical Society, which will host a field trip for fourth graders.
Some grants went to Clatsop County groups planning more permanent projects.
Netel Grange is adding a much-needed emergency exit, while Camp Kiwanilong is improving its arts building. The Astoria Regatta Association is getting into the act, creating mural boards for Heritage Square.
Taken as a group, these beneficiaries exemplify the cultural richness and variety of life in our beautiful corner of Northwest Oregon.
With December ticking away, now is the time of year to think about making a gift to the Oregon Cultural Trust. If you have given to a nonprofit organization in the arts and culture category, you may give an identical amount to the Trust. And you get a tax credit equal to your amount of giving.
For most of us, it is one of the best deals in Oregon tax law.
The Trust’s vision statement says, “We envision an Oregon that champions and invests in creative expression and cultural exchange, driving innovation and opportunity for all.”
Our vibrant cultural and arts scene here on the North Coast is living proof this is working — but the Trust needs your continued support.
On the Web
Oregon Cultural Trust: culturaltrust.org
Clatsop County Cultural Coalition: clatsopculturalcoalition.org