Special one-time allocation of Arts Education and Access Fund

RACC is distributing $3,389,000 in a special disbursement of recently accrued Arts Education and Access Funds (AEAF), also known as arts tax funds. These funds will be disbursed in line with RACC’s contract with the City of Portland and will be allocated as follows:

  • $2,464,000 in special one-time allocations to General Operating Support (GOS) partner organizations.
  • $300,000 to RACC’s Project Grant program to fund proposals in the Arts Equity & Access category.
  • $275,000 to RACC’s Equity Investments program, which provides supplemental funds to General Operating Support organizations for equity programming and organizational development.
  • $250,000 to RACC’s Capacity Building program for Culturally Specific Organizations, which provides funding and technical assistance to organizations led by historically underserved communities.
  • $100,000 to RACC’s arts education coordination work, including staffing and a new arts education inventory and mapping project.

Keep reading to get more information on why this is happening, get your questions answered, and see the full list of allocations.

Why is this happening?

RACC receives its primary allocation of AEAF funds from the City of Portland in January of each year. This primary allocation is followed by a series of unpredictable allocations throughout the spring that primarily contain revenue from past tax years. This spring, as a result of the City’s ramped up collection efforts, RACC received an unusually large and unexpected allocation of back taxes totaling $3.3 million. The RACC Board of Directors has adopted a new policy allowing RACC to hold some AEAF revenue in reserve, up to one year of anticipated expenses, as mitigation for future AEAF volatility. All additional funds will be distributed annually, through a one-time special allocation if needed. As a result RACC will be distributing an extra $3,289,000 through several different grant programs throughout FY19, as well as $100,000 for Arts Education coordination work at RACC.

When will this happen?

Most General Operating Support partners will receive a payment for their AEAF Special Allocation in August. Organizations with outstanding reporting obligations will receive their payments when those obligations are met.

We’re making changes to our grants program that will affect GOS organizations. Please click here to read the changes.



How has RACC accumulated so much Arts Tax revenue?
Because of past volatility with the Arts Tax, RACC has been conservative in how it budgeted Arts Tax allocations over the last two years. Meanwhile, the city has been aggressive in collecting overdue taxes over the past year. The combination of these two factors resulted in RACC receiving $3.3 million more than anticipated in Arts Tax revenue from the City of Portland this spring.

Why is RACC holding Arts Tax money in reserve?
RACC holds some AEAF funds in reserve for a several reasons. In order to ensure that RACC could meet the pledges we have made to GOS partners in 2016, it was important that we saved any excess funding from some years as mitigation for revenue shortfalls in other years. Fortunately, collections have exceeded expectations in each of the last two years.

RACC will continue to hold one year’s worth of AEAF funding in reserve in case there are significant changes to AEAF funding in the coming year. For example, City Council is considering increasing the AEAF’s poverty exemption level, which would reduce RACC annual revenues by $1 million or more. In addition, now that the city has collected most back-due taxes, it is unlikely that RACC will receive as much, if any, unanticipated revenue next year.

RACC is committed to providing stable and predictable funding for the community and our GOS partners. Maintaining a healthy reserve allows us and our grantees to weather changes in the funding we receive without immediately reducing funding levels for our partners.

Does RACC anticipate special allocations like this in the future?
No. We do not anticipate that special allocations will be a regular occurrence, and partner organizations should not plan to receive additional funds in the future. However, if collections do continue to exceed expectations, RACC has policies to ensure those funds are distributed promptly to the community.

How were the award amounts for GOS partners determined?
Partner organizations were grouped into seven tiers base on their FY2017 eligible income, which is a calculation of revenue from ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) accessible programming provided in RACC’s service area. All of the organizations within each tier will receive the same award amount. The award amounts range from $14,000 to $200,000.

Do GOS partners need to do anything to receive these funds?
If your organization has completed all outstanding reporting requirements you will automatically receive a payment in August. A handful of organizations who have not yet completed FY2017 reporting requirements, or submitted reports late, will receive their payments once their report is approved. Not sure if you have outstanding reporting requirements? Contact your Grants Officer and we can let you know!

How will RACC use the funds for Arts Education coordination?
AEAF legislation allows RACC to retain 3% of Arts Tax revenues for staffing and materials that advance RACC’s ability to support art and music teachers that are funded by the Arts Tax, and coordinate arts education activities in public schools. These funds will support more professional development for certified arts specialists, and the mapping of arts and culture resources that are available to all Portland students.

What do the funds allocated to the Capacity Building program support?
RACC’s Capacity Building program provides multi-year financial support and technical assistance to arts organizations led by under-served communities. Currently four organizations  are receiving support — Kukatonon, Instituto de Cultura y Arte In Xochitl In Cuicatl, PassinArt, and Portland Taiko. The additional arts tax funds will allow us to support five additional organizations over the next several years.

What is the Equity Investments program? How can my organization apply?
The Equity Investments program provides additional funding to General Operating Support partner organizations for initiatives which advance their commitment to equity in the arts, with a focus on racial equity. The program provides one-time and multi-year grants ranging from $5,000 to $75,000. Including the funds from the special allocation, a total of $425,000 will be awarded in spring 2019. General Operating Support partners will receive notification when applications become available this fall.

We’re making changes to our grants program that will affect GOS organizations. Click here to get your frequently asked questions answered.

Who to contact with more questions

Jeff Hawthorne, Interim Executive Director| jhawthorne@racc.org | 503.832.5258

List of allocations

Artist Repertory Theatre              64,500
August Wilson Red Door Project              18,500
Blue Sky Gallery              14,000
Bodyvox              64,500
Cappella Romana, Inc.              18,500
The Circus Project              42,000
Chamber Music Northwest              64,500
Children’s Healing Art Project              18,500
CoHo Productions              18,500
Disjecta Contemporary Art Center              18,500
Echo Theater Company              33,000
Ethos Music Center              42,000
Friends of Chamber Music              33,000
Hand 2 Mouth              14,000
Hollywood Theatre              64,500
Imago Theatre              18,500
Independent Publishing Resource Center              14,000
Literary Arts, Inc.              64,500
Live Wire! Radio              33,000
Metropolitan Youth Symphony              33,000
Miracle Theatre Group              42,000
My Voice Music              18,500
Northwest Children’s Theatre              64,500
Northwest Dance Project              64,500
NW Documentary Arts & Media              14,000
Oregon Ballet Theatre            126,000
Oregon BRAVO Youth Orchestra              33,000
Oregon Children’s Theatre              64,500
Oregon Symphony Association           200,000
PDX Jazz              42,000
Pendulum Aerial Arts              14,000
PHAME Academy              42,000
Playwrite, Inc.              14,000
Polaris Dance Theatre              18,500
Portland Art Museum/Northwest Film Center            200,000
The Portland Ballet              42,000
Portland Baroque Orchestra              42,000
Portland Center Stage            126,000
Portland Columbia Symphony Orchestra              18,500
Portland Gay Men’s Chorus              33,000
Portland Institute for Contemporary Art              64,500
Portland Opera            126,000
Portland Piano International              33,000
Portland Playhouse              42,000
Portland Youth Philharmonic              42,000
Profile Theatre Project              33,000
Third Angle New Music Ensemble              14,000
Third Rail Repertory Theatre              33,000
Triangle Theatre              18,500
White Bird              64,500
Write Around Portland              18,500
Young Audiences of Oregon              64,500