I can turn $205 into $1000 and so can you.

There’s a catch, right?

Yes, of course there is. You have to live in Oregon.

Here in Oregon we have something called the Oregon Cultural Trust. It’s basically a legal money-laundering scheme that helps you help the arts.

Here’s how it works.

Donate up to $500 to any Oregon arts and heritage non-profits organizations you love.

Anything from PICA to Disjecta to the IPRC to Friends of the Gorge to the Oregon Zoo, or better yet spread your donation to some combination of. The full list of 1300 plus eligible groups is on the Oregon Cultural Trust website here.

Then you give a matching $500 donation to the Oregon Cultural Trust.

They’ll distribute the $500 you give them to the entire group of organizations they support around the state.

So you’ve given $1000 to a host of wonderful organizations. Good on you.

Then come tax time, you can take the $500 Oregon Cultural Trust donation as a full tax credit. You get the entire $500 back, every last cent of it.

And then, assuming you itemize your deductions on your schedule A (as opposed to taking the standard deduction), you get a tax deduction on the entire $1000 you gave on your federal taxes.

If you’re like most folks you pay 25% in federal taxes. So that’s another $250 back!

And you can take a tax deduction on the $500 you gave to arts organizations on your state taxes.

So in addition to getting the $500 you gave to the Cultural Trust back you’ll get another $45 back assuming you pay 9% to Oregon.

So all told you’ll get the $500 plus the $250 plus the $45.

Giving you a $795 tax refund in April. Even more if you make the big bucks and are in a higher tax bracket.

So for only $205 you’ve given $1000 to help make this place a place worth living in.

That’s insane!

Show you me any other way to quadruple your money in a few months and I’ll show you a Ponzi scheme.

Which I know this sounds like. Or one of those crazy tax loopholes that corporations use to get out of paying taxes. Which it is.

But this one is for us. For ordinary Oregonians to make a difference and support film and dance and kid’s painting classes and the symphony and history and so and so forth instead of subsidizing factories or sports arenas.

And check this out. If you’re a couple filling jointly, you can double up.

You can contribute up to $1000 to arts and heritage non-profits, and another $1000 to the Oregon Cultural Trust.

So you outlay $2000 now. But get the $1000 to the Cultural Trust back in April on your state taxes. Plus get $500 back on your federal taxes, and then another $90 on the arts donations on your state taxes.

So for only $410 you’ve given $2000.

Now keep in mind $500 for individuals and $1000 for couples are just the maximum amounts you can donate to get the full tax advantage. You can give lower matching amounts and still get the same tax advantage. Anything helps.

And it gets better.

You can donate to a lot of wonderful arts groups as well as the Oregon Cultural Trust through Willamette Week’s Give Guide.

Not only is it super easy, you’ll also get awesome free stuff donated to you from their partners. Stuff like Stumptown coffee and Widmer beer and the Chinook Book and so on. They’ll even drop them off at your door if you like.

So go! Get giving.

You’ll feel good and you’ll never know just how much it means to these organizations to get a donation.

Extra credit: Find out if your employer has a matching donation program. If they do, you might just be able to help your favorite non-profits out with an additional $500 or even $1000.

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