[Heritage] Heritage News 2003-06-23
Heritage.Info at state.or.us
Mon Jun 23 15:34:23 PDT 2003
Special issue: Update from the Oregon Cultural Trust
As the citizen-Board of the Oregon Cultural Trust, we write to report on all that the Cultural Trust has accomplished over the past year, as well as inform you of challenges we now face. We also ask for your support and advocacy.
(1) Over 4,500 citizens contributed close to $1.7 million during the Cultural Trust's December 2002 campaign. These supporters took advantage of an Oregon tax credit while making an investment in culture. Each contribution to the Trust was matched by equal or greater gifts to cultural nonprofits.
(2) Almost all of Oregon's counties and tribes have organized cultural planning committees to identify the cultural resources, opportunities and needs in their respective communities. To date, 550 volunteers are engaged in grassroots planning. The Cultural Trust has issued grants to each local planning group to support this work.
(3) The Trust reviewed grant proposals from every region of the state and for a range of cultural activities, including the performing arts, historic preservation, libraries, historical museums, arts education programs, and literary publications. This spring, Cultural Development Grants were awarded to 27 organizations to support projects that increase opportunities for Oregonians to participate in culture, or which preserve cultural assets (a list of grant recipients can be viewed at www.culturaltrust.org).
(4) The Trust made $214,000 available to its core Cultural Partners which are: the Oregon Council for the Humanities; the Oregon Arts Commission; the Oregon Heritage Commission; the State Historic Preservation Office; and the Oregon Historical Society.
The balance of the funds contributed by Oregonians in December (approximately $1 million) remains to begin building a permanent endowment.
Unfortunately, all is not positive: Early in this session, the Legislature rescinded $3.3 million in funds that had been dedicated to the Trust from the sale of surplus state properties. Continuation of the Cultural Trust tax credit is still under threat as the Legislature grapples with the budget. We are working with our partners and the Cultural Advocacy Coalition to identify strategies that will keep the tax credit from being targeted, and to protect the long-term vision of the Trust. Potential compromises include reducing the Trust's small operating budget by sharing staffing with the Oregon Arts Commission (while retaining the Trust's distinct mission and independent governance).
We remain confident that the public investment made through the Cultural Trust will stimulate private philanthropy, encourage economic growth, improve education, and strengthen communities. What can you do to help?
(1) Continue to directly support your favorite cultural organizations - they need your help now more than ever.
(2) Make a gift to the Oregon Cultural Trust any time during 2003. You will be eligible for a 100% tax credit if you also make matching gifts to cultural organizations during the year. The Cultural Trust tax credit is still in effect.
(3) Purchase a Cultural Trust license plate, now available through the DMV. The $30 surcharge for a pair of the unique plates will go to support the Trust.
(4) Contact your state representatives and the Governor's office to let them know that you value a public investment in culture and appreciate their support for the Cultural Trust. You can find out how to contact your representative by visiting the Legislature's website (www.leg.state.or.us), or by contacting the staff of the Cultural Trust (503-986-1530). Now is the right time to deliver these messages.
(5) If you represent a cultural organization, continue to promote the Trust through your newsletters, programs, website or donor letters. The grassroots support we received last fall made all the difference in the campaign, and will be even more important this year. Contact the Trust's staff for updated promotional materials.
We encourage you to keep an eye on the Cultural Trust's website (www.culturaltrust.org), or to contact the Trust's staff by phone or e-mail. We're happy to hear from you.
Members of the Board of Directors
Oregon Cultural Trust
At its June 2003 meeting, the Trust's board unanimously adopted the following statement:
At the completion of one full cycle of operation of the Cultural Trust, including organization, fundraising, coalition building and grant making, we reflect on our history and plan for the future.
* We recognize the years of work and the vision of the two task forces that designed the way to lift cultural development to its partnership place in improving quality of life in Oregon;
* We celebrate the legislative action that outlined the steps to implement the vision and make it real;
* We fully realize that the first cycle of operations had major peaks of joy and valleys of despair;
* We thank the thousands of Oregonians who rallied around the Trust through their volunteer work, solid encouragement, generous gifts and almost unbounded energy.
Because of all of this -- and because of our personal commitment -- we, as a citizen board, pledge ourselves anew to work creatively to cause the Trust to reach its ambitious but achievable goals.
Ross D. McKeen
Interim Executive Director
Oregon Cultural Trust
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