Salem, Ore. – Donations to the Oregon Cultural Trust surpassed $5 million for the first time ever in 2020, as generous Oregonians responded to the cultural community’s urgent need due to losses suffered during the pandemic. The $5.2 million in donations represents a 13 percent (close to $605,000) increase over 2019 and will support grant awards to cultural organizations across the state this summer.

“We asked Oregonians to help us protect Oregon culture and their response exceeded our expectations,” said Cultural Trust Executive Director Brian Rogers. “These funds will go a long way in helping us support the cultural community’s recovery in 2021.”

“It’s extraordinary that, despite the challenges we all faced last year, so many Oregonians stepped up to support our arts, history, heritage and humanities,” said Cultural Trust Board Chair Niki Price. “It’s a testament to how much we value our great quality of life and the more than 1,500 cultural organizations that contribute to it every day. We are incredibly grateful.”

The $5.2 million fundraising total includes 11,161 donations, a 17.5 percent increase over 2019, and 2,028 new donors. It also includes a record $537,909 raised through an ongoing partnership with the Willamette Week Give!Guide.

“Our partnership with Give!Guide is one of the cornerstones of our campaign,” said Rogers. “It is a great way for people to learn about the Cultural Trust and the tax credit, bringing in 994 new donor households this year alone.”

More than half of the money raised will be distributed directly to Oregon’s nonprofit cultural community this summer; the remainder will grow the Cultural Trust permanent fund. Cultural Trust grants are distributed through five Statewide Cultural Partners – Oregon Arts Commission, Oregon Heritage, Oregon Historical Society, Oregon Humanities and the Oregon State Office of Historic Preservation – as well as to 45 County/Tribal Cultural Coalitions, who regrant the funds in their communities, and directly to cultural nonprofits via Cultural Development Grants.

The 78 projects supported by Cultural Development Grants in FY2021 include:

  • The preservation and sharing of Hawaiian traditional cultural practices online and in person by Kapi Oanuenue in Ashland;
  • The development of an interactive digital media channel for nonprofits and independent mediamakers by Open Signal in Portland;
  • A series of cultural programs to reengage the community after months of COVID shutdown by the Tower Theatre Foundation in Bend;
  • The production of “From the Streets to the Symphony,” a documentary about the collaborative composition of new music by houseless young filmmakers and Oregon Symphony creative chair Gabriel Kahane with Outside the Frame in Portland;
  • The restoration of Native American access to First Foods and other cultural plants of significance in Southwestern Oregon by the Indigenous Gardens Network at Southern Oregon University in Ashland;
  • The development of the first Oregon Online African American Museum by Oregon Black Pioneers in Salem; and
  • Access to media arts for historically underserved Black students to exercise their imaginations, develop a voice and prepare stories for public dissemination through the Journalistic Learning Initiative in Eugene.

For a full list of Cultural Trust grant projects, including links to Cultural County Coalitions and several hundred county projects they are funding this year, visit

The exclusive contracted partner for the Cultural Trust’s 2020 fundraising campaign was Bell+Funk of Eugene.

# # #

The Oregon Cultural Trust was established by the Oregon Legislature in 2001 as a unique means to reward Oregonians who invest in culture. Oregonians who donate to a cultural nonprofit and then make a matching gift to the Cultural Trust receive a 100% state tax credit for their gift to the Trust.