Insights & News

When times are tough, arts and culture connect us

Since the PGE Foundation’s beginning in 1997, we’ve recognized the power of arts and culture to educate, spark social change, boost Oregon’s livability and economic vitality, and connect us as a community.

Due to COVID-19, our arts and culture organizations have been hit hard. According to the Oregon Cultural Advocacy Coalition, Oregon’s arts and culture organizations estimate they will lose $51 million in revenue from March to May.

We are heartened by the bold actions arts organizations are taking to persevere through this crisis and pleased to join other Oregon foundations and government entities in supporting their sustainability by accelerating $235,000 in Creative Expression grants, with a focus on anchor cultural organizations in Oregon as well as rural and culturally specific arts and culture organizations.

Recently, the PGE Foundation signed the Council on Foundations’ Philanthropy's Commitment During COVID-19 Pledge to act urgently and provide more flexibility in support of our nonprofit partners. So, while we remain committed to funding programs that create access to creative experiences, we have trust in our community partners to make the best use of these funds for general operations and exploring new ways to connect students with virtual creative experiences.

Through this pandemic, we remain steadfast in our belief that creativity and culture will help our community, particularly our youth, find meaning from this experience, help us heal and connect us in new ways that will make us more resilient for the future.

An unprecedented time

March 23, 2020

Most of us can safely say the COVID-19 pandemic is like nothing we’ve experienced in our lifetimes. The immediate impact on daily life as we know it has been remarkable and the uncertainty it has created will have lasting implications.

We must all come together to protect the health and wellbeing of our community, and it’s heartening to see the collective response of community-based organizations, businesses, government and philanthropy to support our neighbors through this extraordinary time.

We want to recognize and thank our community partners who are currently providing critical services and looking ahead to when this pandemic is behind us. With the combined resources of Portland General Electric and the PGE Foundation, we are committing more than $1 million to support educational programs in our region and to help address food insecurity through donations to the Oregon Food Bank, Partners for a Hunger-Free Oregon and Marion Polk Food Share. We’re also joining other businesses, foundations and individuals to support the Oregon Community Foundation’s COVID-19 Oregon Recovery Fund. Read PGE President and CEO Maria Pope’s letter to PGE customers and the community to learn more about how we’re helping customers, supporting communities and ensuring the safety of our employees during this time.

In the coming months, we will stay connected to our community partners and other stakeholders as we consider ways to support the vital services our neighbors need. And we will continue to approach our role as a foundation with a spirit of empathy, collaboration, flexibility and equity.

Stay safe, stay healthy.