Portland actress and arts administrator Kimberly Howard (that's her above, from an ad for Sojourn Theatre's 2007 "Good," which we can only pray she'll parlay into a new statewide cultural philanthropy ad campaign - but we digress...) has resigned her position as managing director of the Interstate Firehouse Cultural Center to accept a high-profile post as manager of the beleaguered Oregon Cultural Trust.

Adrienne Flagg, IFCC’s creative director, said in an e-mail message that Howard’s departure “happened suddenly and unexpectedly,” adding that the Center’s board was meeting this evening to decide whether to engage in a search process to find Howard’s successor, or whether they would even fill the open position at all.

The IFCC is currently engaged in an ongoing lobbying battle with the city of Portland to try and win back $80,000 of one-time, special project funding that it had received annually for many years. In an earlier interview with the Mercury, Flagg indicated she was unsure what sort of staff cuts might be on the boards for IFCC if the city did not award the requested monies again to the organization.

That Howard has left IFCC to become fundraiser-in-chief for the state’s cultural trust sure is interesting: only last month, the Trust was raided by the state Legislature to the tune of $1.8 million dollars to help plug a statewide budget gap, and last year’s Trust fundraising results were sluggish. The Trust, founded in 2002, has fallen far short of its heady ten-year, $200 million fundraising goal: to date, it has raised just over $17 million, with $12.5 million currently in its permanent endowment. Howard's new position as Trust manager, overseeing a statewide multi-million dollar annual fundraising and awareness/advocacy campaign, is exactly her second in non-profit fundraising.

The OCT has struggled to keep people in the Trust manager position: Jim Cox (now in fundraising with Portland Opera) stayed on as Trust manager just over two years, and Carol Pelton, wife of Willamette University president Lee Pelton, was in the post for exactly 12 months before quitting.

Well, all we can say is good luck, Kimberly. It’s a dog-eat-dog cultural fundraising world out there - now go round up some Schnitzers and get to work or something.