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Orem City Council awards CARE tax grants

By Genelle Pugmire - | May 18, 2023

Harrison Epstein, Daily Herald file photo

The SCERA Center for the Arts facade advertises the Zions Indie Film Fest on Wednesday, March 15, 2023.

Orem city is known for its numerous parks, recreation areas and cultural arts, thanks in part to the residents who have voted for and approved a CARE tax for the past 20 years.

This fall, the CARE tax is up for potential renewal and another vote. As it stands, one penny out of every $10 in sales tax is to be reserved for Cultural Arts & Recreation Enrichment grants.

On Tuesday, the city council voted unanimously to give grants to a number of nonprofit groups for their particular projects and programs. In all, sales tax garnered nearly $3.5 million for the CARE tax coffers in 2022.

One third of the money goes to arts, a third goes to recreation and, temporarily, a third is set aside for parks.

During the CARE tax discussion, council member Terry Peterson said he had some concerns that the split into thirds was not what was originally voted on by the public. The original split was 50-50 between the arts and Parks and Recreation.

Courtesy Orem City

New CARE tax logo for Orem City.

Peterson hopes the city would go back to 50-50 in time for the November ballot, when the city intends to seek another 10 years of CARE tax revenues.

All applicants must be 501(c)3 nonprofit organizations and the major grant applicants must give periodic financial reports.

Art grants must be used for programs while parks and recreation grants must be used for facilities. Parks and recreation already have funds set aside from the city’s yearly budget. The arts are not attached to the city budget and must find other donations as well as any grants they may be awarded from the city.


There are three types of arts grants — mini, mid-major and major. Mini grants range from $0-4,999. This year, 12 grants were awarded totaling $32,900. New requests came from Centro Hispano, Military History Days Inc. and the World Folkfest.

The mid-major grants go up to $4,999-9,999. This year, 14 mid-major grants were awarded. Two new nonprofits sought funds. Mental Health F.I.T. did not receive a grant this first year and Resonance received $3,000.

Courtesy Timpanogos Symphony Orchestra

John Pew directs the Timpanogos Symphony Orchestra in this undated photo.

There were five applicants for the major awards, anything higher than $10,000. The largest recipient is the SCERA Center for the Arts who received their full request of $842,675. The Timpanogos Symphony Orchestra asked for $81,000 and was given $9,999 while the Utah Metropolitan Ballet applied for $76,930 and received $25,000.

Seeking major grant money, but not being granted any this year, was the Hale Center Foundation and Noorda Theater at Utah Valley University. This is the second straight year the Hale Center did not receive a CARE grant since announcing they would be leaving the city and moving to a new facility in Pleasant Grove.

Another $195,000 was given to the SCERA Shell Outdoor Theater for facility improvements. The Shell is owned by the city but is leased back to the SCERA Center for $1 a year.


Most of this year’s recreation portion of the CARE tax is going to the Lakeside Sports Complex, which will receive $1.03 million for soccer field turf. In all, $1.17 million was given to recreation in the city.


Taking its lead from the recreation grants, parks is providing half of the money for the Lakeside turf project at $1.03 million from their portion of the grants.

Evan Cobb, Daily Herald file photo

Steve Augeri performs at the SCERA Shell Outdoor Theatre on Monday, June 25, 2018, in Orem.


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