March 20, 2024

Landmark Investment in Arts And Culture Infrastructure

Announcement event on March 20, 2024

Foundations join state leaders in sending $52M “love letter” to Oregon arts and culture nonprofits

Arts and culture organizations still reeling from the pandemic will see a major infusion of funding over the next three years under a plan announced on March 20, 2024 by two of the largest arts grantors in Oregon. The total investment of $52 million will provide flexible funding for arts and culture nonprofits across the entire state, including $20 million from Oregon Community Foundation and $20 million already committed from the James F. and Marion L. Miller Foundation. This follows legislative approval of $11.8 million in resilience and rebuilding funding earlier this month to be distributed among arts “anchor” organizations and smaller nonprofits throughout Oregon. This commitment is intended to inspire additional contributions from supporters across the state.

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Exhibitions, performances and other live art gatherings have seen seismic shifts in attendance levels since the pandemic. Arts leaders testified in Salem earlier this year that diminished ticket sales put at risk the significant economic impact of Oregon’s arts sector.

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“Oregon legislators took a major step toward building back the vibrancy of the arts in Oregon. They’re not settling for merely ‘keeping the lights on’ and neither are we. Arts are essential to what makes Oregon, Oregon,” said Lisa Mensah, President and CEO of Oregon Community Foundation. “Together, Oregon foundations are stepping forward proactively to send a love letter to Oregon’s arts and culture ecosystem that says, ‘we believe in you.’”

The funding will be distributed across major venues and smaller community arts organizations around the state. Foundation program officers will advise potential grantees on details of the three-year investment as details emerge. This commitment is intended to inspire additional contributions from supporters across the state.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the investment in the arts and cultural organizations?
Why is Oregon Community Foundation making this announcement now?
How will these funds be distributed? How can nonprofits access the new funding?
What are the arts and culture “ecosystem” or “infrastructure”?
How is OCF about to commit $20M over 3 years?

A study released by Americans for the Arts found Oregon's arts and culture sector contributed $829 million to Oregon's economy in fiscal year 2022. The National Assembly of State Arts Agencies ranks Oregon 41st in the nation for spending on the arts per capita. 

Photo of artist at the Tamástslikt  Cultural Institute

Tamástslikt Cultural Institute

“Artists inspire us and connect us to one another as Oregonians and provide opportunities for children and adults alike to explore their shared humanity. The arts are an economic driver throughout our state, providing a huge boost to restaurants, shops, and businesses,” said Carrie Hoops, Executive Director of the Miller Foundation. “A diverse ecology of arts organizations brings us together and inspires creative expression in each vibrant and unique community across Oregon.”

Oregon Community Foundation’s commitment is possible thanks to a 2012 charitable gift from the estate of Fred and Suzanne Fields that has delivered millions of charitable dollars over many years to hundreds of diverse arts organizations, artists and education efforts in Oregon. The Fred W. Fields Fund is an example of how wisely stewarded funds can create positive benefits for decades.

What you can do

Give directly to arts and culture organizations.

Give with OCF by contributing to the Oregon Arts & Culture Recovery Fund to pool resources to support small, medium, and large organizations across the state. 

If you’re a fund holder at OCF, contact your relationship manager to learn more.

If you’re not a fund holder and you're interested in a philanthropic partnership with OCF, please connect with a philanthropic advisor.