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Summit on Funding Call to Action

May 1, 2017

The first-ever Oregon Heritage Summit brought together over one hundred people representing museums, Main Street organizations, preservation groups, and a variety of other areas to discuss funding solutions for heritage work.

Pages from Funding ReportThe event kicked off with a presentation of the National Survey of Heritage Funding and Incentive Programs: Opportunities for Oregon. This study, commissioned by the Oregon Heritage Commission, was designed to explore methods of funding and encourage heritage organizations to work together for shared funding. One highlight from the study was the Oregon Cultural Trust, a unique model in the country and something already in place to fund heritage, humanities, and the arts. Presentations about tourism tax, levy, tax credit funding, along with the Oregon Cultural Trust provided a deeper look at these funding mechanisms.

Discussion following the presentations was designed to encourage people to step back from the focus on their organization and explore solutions to funding all heritage work on a regional or statewide basis. Participants selected the most likely methods of funding to work toward to establish stronger funding for heritage projects. The top two methods that were discussed were the Oregon Cultural Trust and heritage districts.

Next steps to enhance heritage funding with the Oregon Cultural Trust.

  • Increase funding to the Oregon Cultural Trust. Nearly half of the cultural nonprofits registered with the Trust are heritage related. If each of those over 700 nonprofits got 10 of their $100 donors to match that donation to the Trust (and get that back as a tax credit), it would match the amount available for the County and Tribal Coalition Grants last year! That is double the potential funding for heritage work at the local level.
  • Apply for grants. Only about 20% of statewide and coalition grants were awarded to heritage projects. The coalition grants are a great way to start grant funding for organizations that have never tried.
  • Support the continuation of the Oregon Cultural Trust. The tax credit program will be up for renewal with the legislature in 2019. Be sure to let your members, the community and elected officials when you are supported by the Trust.
  • Get involved. Attend an Oregon Cultural Trust board meeting and ask to be on the agenda to share your work. Serve on the County and Tribal Coalition boards. Help local people doing heritage work access these local funds.

Next steps to explore heritage districts.

  • Connect with other heritage organizations in your area. Start building relationships with those organizations that could benefit from a district. Strong, trusting relationships are a must!
  • Start building public will. Work must start now to help the public appreciate the value of heritage and what the organizations offer.
  • Communicate with elected officials. A heritage district needs the support of elected officials at the local, county and state levels. Always invite them to events and include them on your newsletter lists.

Other topics discussed included tourism tax and marijuana tax funds among others. Two crucial points arose from the discussion of the day.

  • Partnerships are vital to the success of heritage organizations. We should be collaborating with each other and other community organizations for the benefit of our communities and organizations.
  • Communication should be a priority. In order for people to understand the value of your work, they need to know about it. Be creative and broad in your communication.

Quick, run to your social media tool, email list, or newsletter and share a recent success with your followers!

This valuable discussion will continue with the Oregon Heritage Commission and through the 2018 Oregon Heritage Conference. We hope you will carry on the conversation and take action in your area too!

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