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Oregonians: This season, give thanks for the Cultural Trust

This holiday season, Oregonians have much to be thankful for. At the Smith household in Roseburg, we are thankful for the Oregon Cultural Trust. And, in that vein, we are also thankful for our state legislators who generously supported the renewal of Oregon’s cultural tax credit earlier this year. Smith

The Cultural Trust recently celebrated its 10-year anniversary. After serving two terms on the trust board, and as its second chairman for a time, I marvel at this uniquely Oregon asset. I look forward to seeing the Cultural Trust achieve its full potential in its second decade.

The Oregon Cultural Trust is a forward-thinking organization that has contributed more than $14 million in grants to arts, heritage and humanities organizations, county and tribal cultural coalitions, and partners statewide. The trust has also developed a cultural fund for Oregon, currently at almost $20 million, which is being invested for Oregon’s long-term cultural vitality. More than 24,000 Oregonians have contributed to the trust since the cultural tax credit took effect in December 2002.

Oregonians making contributions to one or more of Oregon’s 1,300 cultural nonprofits qualify for a tax credit when they make equal gifts to the Cultural Trust in the same tax year. This unique funding mechanism is now considered a national model that generates significant new resources to sustain our arts, heritage and humanities.

A big year-end show of support from thousands of contributing Oregonians will help the Cultural Trust continue its work making grants in every county and to several of Oregon’s federally recognized tribes.

Oregonians care deeply about culture in our state. My wife, Kathy, and I have not hesitated to make charitable gifts to Oregon cultural organizations and have now sent our matching gift to the Cultural Trust for 2013. We think the trust has a promising future, and we urge our fellow Oregonians to make their investments now.  

With a generous tax credit, a smart investment strategy, a strong staff and board and a commitment to making grants all over Oregon, the Oregon Cultural Trust deserves your support this year. No gift is too small. Please support your favorite Oregon cultural nonprofits, match with a gift to the trust and get the match back (up to $500 per individual, $1,000 per household, $2,500 per class-C corporation) at tax time next spring.

We will all be thankful.

Norm Smith, Roseburg, is the former chairman of both the Oregon Cultural Trust and the Oregon Arts Commission.



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