Viewpoint: Support culture through an Oregon Cultural Trust donation

The "Celebrate Oregon" mural by Eugene artist Liza Mana Burns.
December 15, 2022

You can help Oregon cultural institutions — and reduce your state tax bill

By George Kramer

A single piece of artwork — “Celebrate Oregon!” — honors and respects the diverse people and cultures of Oregon.

It’s featured on the new cultural license plate and as a mural that welcomes passengers in airports across the state. Created by Eugene artist Liza Mana Burns, it’s a vibrant tapestry of Oregon landscapes featuring 127 cultural symbols of our arts, heritage, and humanities, funded for 20 years by the Oregon Cultural Trust.

Southern Oregon is well represented, with symbols for the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Rogue Creamery and Harry & David, among others.

The Cultural Trust is one of Oregon’s unique “big ideas.” Founded in 2001 as a funding engine for culture, the trust supports creative expression and cultural exchange throughout the state. How? Through the Cultural Tax Credit. Using the tax credit, generous Oregonians have directed $79 million to support the trust’s five cultural partners, 45 county and tribal coalitions and more than 1,500 qualified cultural nonprofits. Won’t you join us?

By matching your cultural nonprofit donations with a gift to the trust, you can leverage your support for culture. The trust’s promise: a state tax credit for you and stable and accessible funding for everyone. This is a way to double your support as a cultural donor. The Cultural Tax Credit was described by The Oregonian as “a way to make paying state taxes satisfying.”

Here’s how you get your tax credit and fund Oregon arts, heritage and humanities: First, donate to your favorite cultural nonprofits before Dec. 31. Then, also make a matching gift to the Cultural Trust by Dec. 31 (including gifts of stock or funds from your IRA). Finally, enter the amount you gave to the Cultural Trust as a tax credit on your 2022 state tax form. Watch your state tax bill decrease and know that those dollars will be used to fund cultural activities in the coming year.

Your tax credit equals the amount of your donation to the Cultural Trust, up to a limit of $500 for individuals, $1,000 for couples filing jointly, and $2,500 for C-class corporations.

The act of giving is more important than the amount you give to the Trust. Every donation to the trust, and every tax credit claimed, is a vote in support of our arts, heritage, and humanities. As Oregon’s communities recover from the pandemic’s effects, a bright future is dependent on our assistance.

Please visit the Cultural Trust at www.culturaltrust.org or call 503-986-0088 today. Thank you for your support!

George Kramer is an Oregon Cultural Trust board member, an Ashland historian and founder of Kramer & Company, which provides historical preservation services. Email him at george@preserveoregon.com.

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