To the Editor: 

Google Oregon’s top attributes and, along with the great outdoors, audacious beer and green living, you’ll find our famous quality of life. One of our best-kept secrets is how the Oregon Cultural Trust protects that quality of life. 

As uniquely Oregonian as public beaches and the bottle bill, the Oregon Cultural Trust was established in 2001 to support art, heritage, history and humanities – which together define our cultural character. 

The Cultural Trust empowers Oregonians to double the impact of their cultural giving at no additional cost to them.

Here’s how it works: Make a donation to one or more of Oregon’s 1,400-plus cultural nonprofits, then make a matching gift to the Cultural Trust by Dec. 31. (See the list of nonprofits at culturaltrust.org.) You get 100 percent of the Cultural Trust donation back when you file your state taxes – by claiming the cultural tax credit – and the state legislature invests that same amount in Oregon culture. 

That’s right, the state of Oregon funds our music, our libraries, our museums and our monuments, but only when you demonstrate how important they are to you. 

In 2017 alone, gifts to the Cultural Trust totaled close to $5 million. Working with statewide and regional partners, the Trust redistributed more than $3 million of that amount in 2018 grants and funding. 

In Malheur County, the Cultural Trust awarded $9,903 to the Malheur County Cultural Trust, which will be used to award local grants for projects that matter to our community. 

Read our 10-year impact study by ECONorthwest, calling the Trust’s geographic reach “remarkable.” The study will serve us well when we ask the Oregon legislature to renew the cultural tax credit next year.

Total your cultural donations, give a matching amount to the Cultural Trust and claim your cultural tax credit on your state taxes. We are trusting you won’t keep this important secret to yourself! 

Gustavo Morales is a board member of the Oregon Cultural Trust.