Portland Area Theatre Alliance Fertile Ground Portland Oregon

Giving and the Oregon Cultural Tax Credit

As the giving season moves into high gear, the state's innovative tax credit system allows you to double the impact of your donations to nonprofit cultural groups.

|

Eugene's Ballet Fantastique is one of more than 1,600 nonprofit groups eligible for donations through the Oregon Culture Tax Credit. Above: company dancers in the company's "Babes in Toyland: a Holiday Story." Photo: Bob Williams.
Eugene’s Ballet Fantastique is one of more than 1,600 nonprofit groups eligible for donations through the Oregon Culture Tax Credit. Above: company dancers in the company’s “Babes in Toyland: a Holiday Story.” Photo: Bob Williams.

Giving Tuesday is upon us: You’ve probably seen, and perhaps already responded to, appeals from all sorts of nonprofit organizations representing a broad array of social benefits that rely on public support.

The annual day, earmarked internationally for donations to causes ranging from healthcare to science and education to alleviating poverty and hunger to arts & culture to climate and environmental issues to disaster relief and more, is November 28.

And as vital as Giving Tuesday can be, it’s only part of a concentrated push for support that will continue in high gear through December 31. In Oregon, one of the most significant opportunities for arts and cultural support is the state-run Cultural Tax Credit, administered by the Oregon Cultural Trust and established by the Legislature in 2001 to help offset, at least in Oregon, a national gap in government support of arts and culture.

The program is a vital link in nonprofits’ budgeting: In its 21 years so far the tax credit has accounted for almost $40 million in awards to arts and cultural groups.

The Portland Chinatown Museum is one of more than 1,600 organizations eligible for donations through the Oregon Cultural Tax Credit. Pictured: the museum's annual Lunar New Year Dragon Dance Parade. Jeff Lee Photography, 2022.
The Portland Chinatown Museum is one of more than 1,600 organizations eligible for donations through the Oregon Cultural Tax Credit. Pictured: the museum’s annual Lunar New Year Dragon Dance Parade. Jeff Lee Photography, 2022.

Oregon’s highly unusual cultural credit essentially allows you to apply a healthy portion of your state taxes to any of more than 1,600 arts, heritage, or humanities nonprofit groups covering all corners of the state. (See the full list of qualified organizations here.)

The rules are simple: Donate money to the nonprofit groups of your choice, and match that amount by the end of December with a donation to the Cultural Trust. Come tax time the Trust donation will return to your pocket, not as a deduction on total income, but as a dollar-for-dollar credit on taxes owed.

If you give one group or a combination of groups $500, for instance, and then match that with a donation in the same amount to the Trust, what you owe on your state taxes is reduced by $500 – meaning that in essence you’ll have doubled your donation, spending $500 but giving $1,000 to arts and cultural groups.

Sponsor

Portland Center Stage at the Armory Quixote Nuevo Portland Oregon

You can, of course, donate as much as you want to as many nonprofit groups as you’d like, and as much as you want to the Cultural Trust, but there are limits to the tax benefit: Maximum tax credit limits are $500 for individuals, $1,000 for couples filing jointly, and $2,500 for C-class corporations.

The High Desert Museum in Bend is funded partly through the Oregon Cultural Tax Credit. Above: "Endangered Species: Buckhorn Ram" and "Endangered Species: Bald Eagle," from the exhibition "Andy Warhol's Endangered Species: From the Collection of Jordan D. Schnitzer and His Family Foundation," running Dec. 9, 2023 to April 7, 2024.
The High Desert Museum in Bend is funded partly through the Oregon Cultural Tax Credit. Above: “Endangered Species: Buckhorn Ram” and “Endangered Species: Bald Eagle,” from the exhibition “Andy Warhol’s Endangered Species: From the Collection of Jordan D. Schnitzer and His Family Foundation,” running Dec. 9, 2023 to April 7, 2024.

The state’s tax credit program is a key part of the complex and delicately balanced economic foundation for Oregon’s nonprofit arts and cultural organizations, from large groups such as the Portland Art Museum, Portland Center Stage, the Oregon Shakespeare Festival and the Oregon Bach Festival to local museums, choirs, dance and theater companies, cultural centers, and other groups in every county in the state.

Oregon ArtsWatch, for instance, is one of those 1,600-plus eligibile organizations, and without the combination of foundation and government grants, sponsorships, and individual donations that form our funding you wouldn’t be able to read our stories for free — or at all.

The same goes for other nonprofit groups. In a very real sense, the health of Oregon’s arts and cultural scene relies on the people who are willing and able to keep it going. Give what you can, where you want — and don’t forget: December 31 is this year’s deadline to receive the Culture Tax Credit for this tax year.

Be part of our
growing success

Join our Stronger Together Campaign and help ensure a thriving creative community. Your support powers our mission to enhance accessibility, expand content, and unify arts groups across the region.

Together we can make a difference. Give today, knowing a donation that supports our work also benefits countless other organizations. When we are stronger, our entire cultural community is stronger.

Donate Today

Photo Joe Cantrell

Bob Hicks has been covering arts and culture in the Pacific Northwest since 1978, including 25 years at The Oregonian. Among his art books are Kazuyuki Ohtsu; James B. Thompson: Fragments in Time; and Beth Van Hoesen: Fauna and Flora. His work has appeared in American Theatre, Biblio, Professional Artist, Northwest Passage, Art Scatter, and elsewhere. He also writes the daily art-history series "Today I Am."

SHARE:
Pacific Maritime Heritage Center Prosperity of the Sea Lincoln County Historical Society Newport Oregon Coast
Newport Performance and Visual Arts Centers Newport Oregon Coast
Chamber Music Northwest Beethoven's Complete Piano Trios The Old Church Portland Oregon
City of Hillsboro Walters Cultural Arts Center She's Speaking Live! Hillsboro Oregon
Grace Goudy Distinguished Artists Series Willamette University Salem Oregon
Portland State University College of Arts William Shakespeare Measure for Measure PSU Portland Oregon
Portland Chamber Orchestra Young Artist Competition University of Portland Free Event Portland Oregon
Portland Area Theatre Alliance Fertile Ground Portland Oregon
Portland Art Museum Virtual Sneakers to Cutting Edge Kicks Portland Oregon
Tilikum Chamber Orchestra Lake Oswego High School Fairy Tales and Folk Songs Lake Oswego Oregon
Portland Center Stage at the Armory Quixote Nuevo Portland Oregon
Portland Columbia Symphony Realm of Nature Beaverton and Gresham Oregon
Portland Opera The Snowy Day Newmark Theatre Portland Oregon
White Bird Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater Keller Auditorium Portland Oregon
Northwest Dance Project Sarah Slipper Newmark Theatre Portland Oregon
Corrib Theatre Contemporary Irish Theatre Portland Oregon
Seattle Opera The Life and Times of MalcolmX McCaw Hall Seattle Washington
Metropolitan Youth Symphony Music Concert Rooted Newmark Theatre Portland Oregon
White Bird Dance Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall Newmark Theater Portland Oregon
High Desert Museum Sensing Sasquatch Indigenous Art & Knowledge Bend Oregon
Oregon Cultural Trust donate
We do this work for you.

Give to our GROW FUND.