PHOTO: The Mittleman Jewish Community Center has hosted Yom Ha'atzmaut (Israel Independence Day) celebrations for years. But this year the pandemic caused cultural events to be canceled or held online.
BY DEBORAH MOON
The Mittleman Jewish Community Center and the Oregon Jewish Museum and Center for Holocaust Education are among the 621 cultural organizations across Oregon that will receive Coronavirus Relief Fund Cultural Support grant awards totaling $25.7 million.
A press release from the Oregon Cultural Trust notes the CRF Cultural Support funds are intended 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. The funds 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 in the release. “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.”
The Oregon Jewish Museum and Center for Holocaust Education will receive $77,901.
“The Coronavirus Relief Fund Cultural Support Grant was designed specifically to offset losses due to the pandemic,” says OJMCHE Director Judy Margles. “For OJMCHE, these funds are providing critical and essential support for staffing and operations. We are especially grateful to the Oregon Cultural Trust and the Multnomah County Cultural Coalition who had to evaluate hundreds of grant applications at record speed, knowing that the requests far outnumbered dollars available.”
The average grant award is $41,458. Just under $90 million in requests was received from 751 organizations; 130 of those organizations were ineligible for awards based on program guidelines.
The Mittleman Jewish Community Center will receive $21,332. The loss of program revenue and reduction of membership revenue has and continues to have huge financial implications for the MJCC. Even with significant cuts to expenses (furloughing of staff, reduction of hours, etc.), the center anticipates a significant deficit this year.
“We are extremely grateful to the Oregon Cultural Trust and the Multnomah County Cultural Coalition for these relief funds,” says MJCC Executive Director Steve Albert. “They offset a portion of our lost Arts + Culture revenue in 2020 and will help to ensure that we are able to continue to provide limited Arts + Culture offerings to our community in the coming months. These programs include a wide variety of virtual classes, author talks, films, exhibitions and holiday celebrations.”
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. Smaller organizations received a higher percentage of their eligible expenses.
“These funds are lifeblood to Oregon’s cultural community,” said 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.”