A good year for charity

Published 9:25 pm Tuesday, January 24, 2017

It has been a big year for philanthropy in Suffolk.

In October, the Obici Healthcare Foundation awarded more than $1.8 million in grants to 22 nonprofit organizations in its 19th round of disbursements. The Suffolk Foundation awarded more than $426,000 in grants and scholarships in its last grant cycle, and the Birdsong Trust Fund just announced the biggest year for grants in its 73-year history.

The Birdsong Trust was founded in 1943 by the local family to “assist local charitable, literary, religious and educational organizations,” according to trustee Billy Chorey Sr.

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This year’s charitable grants totaled more than $100,000, with 18 different organizations in Suffolk and Western Tidewater receiving funds.

“We’re real proud we gave to so many this year,” said John Harrell, chairman of the fund’s board of trustees. “(This) is the most we’ve ever given, other than when we gave big sums to the cultural arts center and the YMCA.”

Recipients of the Birdsong Trust’s largesse this year included the Boys and Girls Club, the Children’s Center, Meals on Wheels, the Suffolk Cheer Fund, the Suffolk Partnership for a Healthy Community and many other nonprofit organizations doing important work in Suffolk and the surrounding area.

Suffolk continues to owe the Birdsong family a great debt of gratitude for this charitable trust and for the great work it has enabled here throughout the decades.