Salem, Ore. – Cultural organizations across Oregon will receive more than $2.7 million in funding from the Oregon Cultural Trust in FY2020 thanks to the generosity of citizens who invested in the state’s cultural tax credit. The awards include a total of $682,005 to the Cultural Trust’s five statewide partners (Oregon Arts Commission, Oregon Heritage Commission, Oregon Humanities, Oregon Historical Society and the State Historic Preservation Office); $682,005 to 45 County and Tribal Cultural Coalitions – for regranting in their communities; and $1,354,339 in competitive Cultural Development Program awards to 86 cultural organizations serving most geographic regions of the state. “We are incredibly grateful to the loyalty of our donors for this significant contribution to the great work cultural organizations are doing to enrich the lives of our citizens,” said Chuck Sams III, chair of the Cultural Trust board. “Our mission is to lead Oregon in cultivating, growing and valuing culture as an integral part of communities and these awards are our most important contribution to that effort.” Overall grant awards are down slightly from FY2019, he added, due to a 5 percent decline in donations for the last fiscal year. A recent lapsed donor survey revealed the primary reason for the reduction was uncertainty around the change in federal tax laws. “We have learned that some of our donors took a break to evaluate the possible impact of the new federal tax laws,” said Brian Rogers, the Cultural Trust’s executive director. “We are working with the Oregon Department of Revenue and the Nonprofit Association of Oregon to develop messaging that reaffirms that the benefits of Oregon’s cultural tax credit, and its impact on our state’s cultural vitality, remain the same. That messaging will be a central focus of our 2019 fundraising campaign.” Highlights of grant projects funded include: Restoration of the historic Santiam Pass Ski Lodge in Sisters; A tour of Northwest Children’s Theatre and School’s production of “Elephant and Piggie” to Portland suburbs and beyond; Construction of an interpretive kiosk on the 1851 Tansy Point Treaty Grounds in Warrenton by the Confederated Lower Chinook Tribes and Bands; Free and low-cost access to 15 annual art and cultural programs at the Four Rivers Cultural Center (Ontario) for children in Malheur County, Oregon’s poorest county; and The adaptation of “The Large Rock and the Little Yew,” a local story focused on children recovering from emotional and physical abuse, into a ballet by the Eugene Ballet. The 86 Cultural Development Grants include first-time awards (marked with *) to 14 organizations. The grant awards range from $5,000 to $35,000 with an average grant award of $16,064. The five largest award recipients are: Friends of Santiam Pass Ski Lodge (Sisters); Northwest Children’s Theater and School (Portland); Portland Center Stage at the Armory (Portland); Portland Chinatown History Foundation (Portland); and World Stage Theatre (Troutdale). Cultural Development Program awards fund projects that address access, capacity, creativity and preservation. Just under half of the 181 applications received were funded. Applications were reviewed and scored by peer panels; final award amounts were determined and approved by the Cultural Trust Board of Directors at its Aug. 30 meeting. Close to half of the grants in this program were awarded to organizations outside of the Portland Metro area; overall more than 60 percent of Cultural Trust funding (including awards to County and Tribal Coalitions) is awarded outside of the Portland Metro area. Chetco Historical Memorial Project, Brookings: $10,057: The project supports the Chetco Indian Memorial, the only interpretive site that represents and focuses on an Oregon coastal tribe and its history on the very site of their ancestral village, making this project unique in the region. Creating a historical marker at this site will help the public understand the site’s historical significance and will ensure that it is protected. Little Theatre on the Bay, North Bend: $15,525: The project is a strategic investment in Phase IV of the capital campaign to expand and enhance North Bend’s historic Liberty Theatre (1924). Improvements to the Theatre include expansion of the backstage and technical conditions of the fly loft, cat walk and ladder systems, allowing the Theatre to expand the number of programs, scope of performances and range of participants on and off the stage. They will also eliminate rental costs for set-building space and increase rental revenue paid by collaborative partners’ use of the Theatre.