Originally founded by statute in 1997 under the auspices of Oregon State Legislature’s Legislative Administration Committee (Senate Bill 1220), the Oregon State Capitol Foundation became an official 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization in 2015.

More than 25 years have passed since the Capitol Foundation was just an idea. Learn the story of how the Oregon State Capitol Foundation started from some of the key people who are the driving force behind bringing the Capitol Foundation to life: Frankie Bell, Debbie Miller, Rep. Norm Smith and Sen. Verne Duncan.

This small group shared a love for the push and pull of our democratic process and the people and work that takes place inside the Capitol. They wanted to preserve our Capitol, share its history and engage Oregonians in our democracy.


Breaking ground for the Walk of Flags, located in Willson Park on the Capitol grounds, in 2005. The Oregon State Capitol Foundation funded this vibrant display of state history through private donations. Proceeds from the project paid for installation and helped establish a long-term endowment fund for the Capitol Foundation.

Pictured, left to right: Rep. Lewis Hampton, Rep. Norm Smith, Rep. Gary Wilhelms, Frankie Bell, Sen. Jane Cease, Treasurer Tony Meeker, Kathy Boe-Duncan, Sec. Norma Paulus, Frank Brawner, Superintendent Verne Duncan and Fred VanNatta.

The Capitol Foundation’s mission is to preserve our Capitol, share its history and engage Oregonians in our democracy.

Together with our donors and Pacific Wonderland license plate purchasers, we’re connecting Oregonians to our shared history and heritage. Your tax-deductible gifts help Capitol visitors understand our past to better meet the needs of our future. Thank you for making a difference for all who live here.


The Capitol Foundation Board is comprised of four officers including the chair, vice chair, secretary and treasurer, six current Oregon State Legislators and up to 15 additional board members. At present, three emeritus members provide their expertise to the board. The executive director, under the direction of the board, oversees a team of staff who perform all day-to-day operations for the Capitol Foundation and consultants providing specialized services.

Although the Capitol Foundation is now a standalone nonprofit, the President of the Senate and the Speaker of the House each appoint three voting directors from members of the Oregon Legislature. The Legislative Administrative Committee appoints the remaining voting directors who are nominated by the Capitol Foundation Board. Oregon is one of a small number of states in which the Legislature owns the Capitol.


Together, we’re connecting Oregonians to our Capitol, its history and:

  • Celebrating our state’s rich, shared heritage. 
  • Preserving history. 
  • Inspiring civic engagement. 
  • Showcasing the beauty of the Capitol and its surrounding public spaces. 

The main source of revenue for the Capitol Foundation is earned income from the sale of the popular Pacific Wonderland license plates. After the State of Oregon Department of Transportation deducts administrative fees, the Oregon State Capitol Foundation and the Oregon Historical Society split the proceeds from plate sales.

Donations, sponsorships, grants and endowment fund capital are additional sources of income. We appreciate your ongoing support.

The Capitol Foundation adopted “The Value of History” at their January 25, 2017, board meeting. The adoption of this statement by historical organizations throughout the nation provides a commonality of objectives in the preservation of history.

A family visiting the Capitol interacts with an exhibitor from Geercrest Farm in the rotunda. The Capitol Foundation is the presenting sponsor of many of the family-friendly, educational and cultural events at the Capitol.

Thank you for making a difference for Oregonians and all who visit our Capitol.

In an average year, 200,000 people visit the Oregon State Capitol. Some come to admire the history of the building. Some are interested in the artwork. Others climb the 121 steps up into the Capitol tower and out onto an observation deck to get a closer look at the Oregon Pioneer statue and a spectacular view of Salem. Many more come to learn about or participate in the legislative process. During a legislative session, your Capitol is full of activity with legislators, staff and citizens from throughout the state of Oregon.

You can read about the important work that you’re accomplishing for Oregonians in the Capitol Foundation’s newsletters, annual reports and blog posts.

The Oregon State Capitol Foundation is a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization. Tax ID 20-5164853. All or part of your gift may be tax deductible as a charitable contribution. Please check with your tax advisor.