621 Organizations Awarded $25.7 Million in COVID Relief Cultural Support Grants


Photo: The labyrinth at Pacifica: A Garden in the Siskiyous in Williams, Oregon. Pacifica received a $43,348 CRFCS grant award. Photo by Cate Battles/ Argosy Odyssey and Josephine County Cultural Coalition.

Coronavirus Relief Fund Cultural Support (CRFCS) grant awards totaling $25.7 million will be distributed to 621 cultural organizations across Oregon through a partnership between the Oregon Cultural Trust and its County and Tribal Cultural Coalitions. The funds, allocated to the Cultural Trust for Oregon cultural organizations facing losses due to the COVID-19 health crisis, were made available through a $50 million relief package for Oregon culture approved by the Emergency Board of the Oregon Legislature in July.

“Many cultural organizations and institutions have closed their doors to help keep us all safe during this pandemic. These grants will mean that more than 600 Oregon arts and culture organizations across our state’s counties and Tribes will be able to keep up their vital creative work,” said Governor Kate Brown. “Everything from museums to fairgrounds to the summer events we all know and love can continue to enrich our lives—connecting us to one another and giving us the hope and inspiration we need.”

“These funds are lifeblood to Oregon’s cultural community,” added Chuck Sams, chair of the Cultural Trust Board of Directors. “While they won’t replace all the losses suffered during the pandemic, they will ensure Oregon culture survives this crisis. We are deeply grateful to the Oregon Legislature for making this possible.”

The largest award is $1.4 million to the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry; the average grant award is $41,458. Just under $90 million in requests were received from 751 organizations; 130 organizations were ineligible for awards based on program guidelines.

“Due to the incredible need, we were able to fund a percentage of organizations’ eligible expenses,” said Brian Rogers, Cultural Trust executive director. “Smaller organizations received a higher percentage of their eligible expenses. The final awards represent a statewide, equitable distribution plan that was approved by our Board of Directors, the Governor’s Office, Business Oregon and our legislative sponsors.”

The organizations to receive funding include cultural institutions, county fairgrounds, cultural entities within federally recognized Indian Tribes based in Oregon, festivals and community event organizations, in addition to some for-profit organizations that have significant cultural impact in their communities. Awards will be issued directly to the organizations by their local County or Tribal Coalition.

Funding was determined based on eligible request amounts, an award allocation formula that established 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 were not eligible.

The intended use of the CRF Cultural Support funds is 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 the COVID-19 pandemic. Guidelines for the funding are in accordance with the U.S. Department of the Treasury.

The legislation allows Coalitions to be reimbursed for up to 5 percent of their total grant awards for documented administrative expenses. Requests from Coalitions for administrative expenses totaled $209,515.

Below is a list of funds awarded per county; the full list of grant awards (listed alphabetically by county) is posted on the Cultural Trust website. The Mittleman Jewish Community Center received $21,332. 

NOTE: No applications were submitted from Gilliam County and the Tribes chose not to apply due to previously received CARES Act funding. Washington County, which serves as the fiscal agent for the Cultural Coalition of Washington County, chose not to participate in the CRFCS program; the Cultural Trust is currently working to identify potential solutions.

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