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 today 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. 

Young people playing violins

Prelude Performance, Oregon Symphony

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.

“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.

Our state leaders are not settling for merely “keeping the lights on” and neither are we.

Lisa Mensah, OCF President and CEO

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, 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.

Oregon Community Foundation (OCF) was founded in 1973 with a big mission: to improve the lives of all Oregonians through the power of philanthropy. In partnership with donors and volunteers, OCF works to strengthen communities in every county in Oregon through research, grantmaking and scholarships. In 2023, OCF distributed more than $200 million in grants and scholarships. Individuals, families, businesses and organizations can work with OCF to create charitable funds to support causes important to them. To learn more, please visit

The James F. and Marion L. Miller Foundation was founded with the mission to enhance the quality of life of Oregonians through the support of classroom education and the performing, visual, and literary arts.