More than $126,000 is on its way to Baker County to support arts and cultural organizations.

The money is from the Coronavirus Relief Fund Cultural Support grant awards. In total, $25.7 million will be distributed to 621 cultural organizations across Oregon.

The money, allocated to the Oregon Cultural Trust for organizations facing losses due to COVID-19, is part of a $50 million relief package for Oregon culture approved by the Emergency Board of the Oregon Legislature in July.

The money is from the federal CARES Act, passed by Congress in March.

The applications went live on Aug. 12 and organizations had two weeks to apply.

Ginger Savage, chair of the Baker County Cultural Coalition and director of Crossroads Carnegie Art Center, said a small group began emailing and calling eligible organizations in Baker County.

“We had to spread the word. Crossroads was asked to do that,” she said. “It was really up to the individual organization to apply. We wanted to get as much to Baker County as we could.”

Eight organizations submitted applications.

“Anything that had a significant impact on arts and culture, plus community events,” Savage said.

They had to detail losses due to COVID, technology costs, PPE (masks, hand sanitizer, cleaning supplies), and durable goods and services (such as plexiglass shields).

Savage said organizations had to deduct any previous CARES money already received.

A total of $126,485 is heading to Baker County. The receiving organizations are:

• Baker City Downtown Inc.: $6,630

• Baker County Community Literacy Coalition: $1,696

• Baker County: $5,681

• Churchill Baker: $2,077

• Crossroads Creative and Performing Art Center Inc.: $80,188

• Eastern Oregon Regional Theatre Inc.: $9,984

• Huntington Historical Preservation Society: $981

• Sumpter Valley Railroad Restoration Inc.: $19,248

According to the Oregon Cultural Trust, they received just under $90 million in requests from 751 organizations. The largest award was $1.4 million to the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry (OMSI). The average grant amount was $41,458.

“Due to the incredible need, we were able to fund a percentage of organizations’ eligible expenses,” Brian Rogers, Cultural Trust executive director, said in a press release. “Smaller organizations received a higher percentage of their eligible expenses.”

According to the Cultural Trust, “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.”

“We are so very excited,” Savage said of the total award amount. “This is a godsend of support. It shows how vibrant the cultural scene in Baker is.”

The total money for Baker County will go to the Oregon Trail Preservation Trust, which will then distribute funds to the eight organizations.

Savage said the CARES money must be spent by the end of the year.

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