Fund seeks charities to help

Published 10:43 pm Thursday, January 9, 2014

The Birdsong Trust Fund recently celebrated its 70th anniversary, and its trustees are looking for local organizations in need that may have been overlooked in the past.

“Oftentimes the various organizations out there that need help get lost in the many fund requests,” said Billy Chorey Sr., secretary and treasurer of the fund. “We’re looking for organizations with legitimate needs to get in touch with us.”

A donation from the Birdsong family in December 1943 kicked the fund off. It stated purpose includes the benefit of charitable, literary, religious and educational organizations. The Birdsong Corporation continues to add money on occasion, Chorey said.

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“We’ve given to over 40 organizations in Suffolk just in the last 15 years, which is kind of significant,” Chorey said. “The intent is to help Suffolk needs, and I feel like we’ve done that and will continue to do that.”

During 2013, a record 15 organizations received gifts totaling $80,000, including the Boy Scouts, the Holland Athletic Association, Mercy Chefs, the Nansemond River Preservation Alliance, the Suffolk Literacy Council, Sister Cities, the Suffolk Center for Cultural Arts, the Western Tidewater Free Clinic, the YMCA and more.

The organization funds only local needs and does not support a beneficiary’s regular budget, but rather funds special requests.

The fund’s portfolio currently is in the seven digits, Chorey said. It has given more than $1 million during the last 15 years.

“We are proactively searching for worthy local organizations with special needs that fit the criteria of our established charter, and we oftentimes have problems hearing from organizations who have special ‘non-budget’ needs where we can help,” trustee Chairman John Harrell said in a press release.

“Obviously we cannot help all organizations, but we do our best to fulfill the role we have been given as trustees and feel we have accomplished the goals of those who established this trust seven decades ago.”

Current trustees, in addition to Harrell and Chorey, are Leroy Howell, Richard Savage and Kent Spain.

Funding requests should be made to Birdsong Trust Fund, P.O. Box 916, Suffolk, VA 23439.