Millions Available to Support Cultural Nonprofits, Venues

Few segments of our lives have avoided the devastating impacts of the coronavirus shutdowns, and that includes the area’s cultural organizations: museums, theaters, fairgrounds, event centers and other organizations that rely on events and in-person programming for much of their funding.

To help, the Oregon Cultural Trust is now accepting applications for Oregon’s Coronavirus Relief Fund Cultural Support program, which has made almost $26 million available to support cultural organizations facing losses due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

All Oregon cultural nonprofits and community venues are welcome to apply. Eligible grant recipients include cultural institutions, county fairgrounds, cultural entities within federally recognized Indian Tribes based in Oregon, festivals and community event organizations.

Funds will be distributed through the Cultural Trust statewide network of County and Tribal Cultural Coalitions, with funding determined based on eligible request amounts, an award allocation formula that establishes a base amount of funds per county or tribe and the organization’s fiscal size.

Covid-19 expenses previously reimbursed by other federal CARES Act programs are not eligible. Complete guidelines are posted on the Cultural Trust website.

Old Aurora Colony Museum Board Member Spud Sperb demonstrates a pedal-powered wood lathe last month. Photo by Tyler Francke.

The funds are intended to provide financial assistance to cultural nonprofit organizations and community venues that have canceled or postponed public programming because of public health executive orders associated with Covid-19. Guidelines for the funding are in accordance with the U.S. Treasury.

The federal CARES Act requires that CRF funding only be used to cover necessary expenditures due to the public health emergency, were not accounted for in their pre-Covid budgets and were incurred (or expected to be incurred) between March 1 and Dec. 30, 2020.

The distribution plan for the CRF Cultural Support program was approved at the Aug. 6 Cultural Trust Board of Directors meeting. Applications are due by noon on Monday, Aug. 24, and approved funds must be distributed by Sept. 15.

“We are grateful to the members of our Board for authorizing us to move forward with the distribution plan as soon as possible,” said Brian Rogers, executive director of the Cultural Trust. “We have worked hard to develop a statewide, equitable distribution plan and look forward to supporting our cultural community in surviving this unprecedented crisis.”

Fairgrounds and events centers are among the entities eligible for coronavirus relief funds. Photo by Tyler Francke.

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