Letter from the Director: Information about Our 2021 Budget

As many of you are aware, most of the grant funds 4Culture distributes to the cultural sector come from King County Lodging Taxes. These tax proceeds are generated whenever people stay in local hotels and motels. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the current economic recession, people are understandably not staying in hotels and motels with the same frequency. As a result, 4Culture recently learned that it will receive significantly less Lodging Tax revenue than anticipated in 2021. This does not impact 4Culture’s Public Art program, which is funded through a separate revenue source.

This news is significant for 4Culture and for you, the cultural community we work to support. Toward that end, I want to share our approach to this situation.

Our first step is to determine the exact reduction to 4Culture’s 2021 Lodging Tax revenue. Once we arrive at a better understanding of exactly how much our 2021 revenues will be reduced, we will look closely at the grant programs, projects, and initiatives we planned to undertake this year. We will need to determine which programs can move forward and which might move forward with reduced budgets. This work is happening right now, and I will do my best to keep you all informed as this evolves.

A few things I want to be clear about, at this time:

  • 4Culture will honor all existing grant and contract obligations. If you have been awarded a grant from 4Culture, you will receive these funds.
  • 4Culture will strategically evaluate all budgetary adjustment options in alignment with our mission, vision, and values as well as our firm commitment to prioritize the needs of the cultural community.
  • 4Culture will proactively communicate with you about any changes that are made to the core funding programs everyone relies on.
  • 4Culture is positioned well to weather this challenging moment and continue our work funding, supporting, and advocating for culture throughout King County.

More immediately, we have decided to reduce the amount of funding that will be available through our Projects grant program, which is open now. This difficult choice is made in response to our anticipated reduction in Lodging Tax revenue. Moreover, our choice to move the program forward with reduced funds recognizes the importance of this program to the creation, development, and implementation of cultural endeavors across the County. Our grant managers are here to answer your questions and discuss your application—their contact information is available at the Project grants guidelines.

Lastly, I want to let everyone know that we are currently working with the King County Executive and the King County Council to request additional funds via the recently passed American Rescue Plan. We are hopeful these funds will come to 4Culture for distribution to individuals and organizations throughout the cultural sector. We will keep you informed about this process as we learn more.

Thank you all for your patience and understanding as we work through this latest challenge amidst an already challenging time. I am confident that the creativity, resilience, and fiscal stewardship 4Culture and King County are known for will see us through this moment.

Brian J. Carter