Suffolk Center for Cultural Arts Foundation
110 West Finney Avenue
Suffolk VA 23434-5265
Mission Statement The mission of the Suffolk Center for Cultural Arts is to encourage and advocate the visual and performing arts by providing a forum where diverse audiences can actively participate in cultural experiences. The Suffolk Center for Cultural Arts is committed to supporting the economic vitality of Suffolk by enhancing the life experiences of our citizens and visitors.
CEO/Executive Director Mrs. Jackie W. Cherry
Board Chair Mr. McLemore Birdsong Jr.
Board Chair Company Affiliation Birdsong Peanuts
Contact Information
Address 110 West Finney Avenue
Suffolk, VA 234345265
Telephone 757 923-0003
Fax 757 923-9699
History and Background
Year of Incorporation 2002
Financial Summary
Revenue vs Expense Bar Graph - All Years
Expense Breakdown Bar Chart - All Years
Projected Revenue $1,159,830.00
Projected Expenses $1,159,830.00
Mission The mission of the Suffolk Center for Cultural Arts is to encourage and advocate the visual and performing arts by providing a forum where diverse audiences can actively participate in cultural experiences. The Suffolk Center for Cultural Arts is committed to supporting the economic vitality of Suffolk by enhancing the life experiences of our citizens and visitors.

Top Accomplishments for 2016-17:  Over  34,000 people attended programs and events at the Center; 5,500 students attended 12 professional matinees, 722 artists performed, displayed, taught or sold art, Percussion Power steel orchestra allowed students to experience the accomplishment of learning to read and play music; 6 Gallery exhibits featured various artistic mediums; 3 summer camps were held for students:  Art, Theatre, and STEAM

 Goals for Coming Year:  Expand visual and performing arts classes and workshops, continue partnering with other organizations for theater programming, work with local schools to offer alternative summer programs for summer school students.
  1. Expand our award-winning Arts in Schools program to support Standards of Learning
  2. Expand Arts education for adults and students
  3. Serve as a vehicle for community inclusion and outreach
  4. Offer a diversity of cultural opportunities for our community
Background Constructed in 1922, Suffolk High School closed its doors for the last time in 1990. The building sat neglected for well over a decade. A handful of Suffolk’s visionary citizens began to campaign for a cultural arts center to benefit the entire Suffolk community. In 1998, plans evolved for an adaptive-reuse of the building into the area’s only full-service cultural arts center—the Suffolk Center for Cultural Arts.


Out of the vision of a handful of citizens and following years of planning, fundraising and hard work, the deteriorating building began to breathe anew in August of 2004 when construction began for the Suffolk Center for Cultural Arts (SCCA). The 24 million dollar project was made possible though state and federal historic tax credits, the City of Suffolk, a variety of grants and generous support from the private sector. Planning for the inaugural-season programming, art exhibitions, classes, events and activities began.


Since its grand opening in September 2006, the Suffolk Center for Cultural Arts has educated, entertained and enlightened tens of thousands of visitors from Suffolk, Hampton Roads and surrounding communities. SCCA programming and arts events attract new tourists to Suffolk and give locals added reasons to support their city’s revitalized downtown. Nothing has done more to build a sense of community in Suffolk than the Suffolk Center for Cultural Arts.

Areas of Service
Areas Served
Hampton Roads
Suffolk, Franklin, Smithfield, Portsmouth, Chesapeake and Northeast North Carolina
Board Chair
Board Chair Mr. McLemore Birdsong Jr.
Company Affiliation Birdsong Peanuts
Term Jan 2017 to Jan 2020
Board of Directors
Board Members
Mr. Everett B. Birdsong Birdsong Corporation
Mr. McLemore Birdsong Jr.Retired
Mrs. Kimberly O. Butler Oliver's Pools, Inc.
Ms. Nora D. Butler Retired, Western Tidewater Community Services Board
Dr. George Cornell Practicing OB/GYN (now part time)
Mrs. Linda G. Doland Southern Bank
Mrs. Theresa Earles Suffolk Tourism
Mrs. Sharyn B. Flintoff Community Volunteer
Mr. Marcus Gersbach Marcus Gersbach & Co. LLC, president
Mr. James E. Gordon Fifth District Court Service Unit
Mr. James M. Habel IIIRetired, Smithfield Foods
Mr. J. Leslie Hall Allfirst – President
Mrs. Pearl B. Harrell Retired
The Honorable James S. Mathews Retired
Ms. Mardane McLemore Retired Engineer
Mr. Charles B. Pond IIIPresident, Nansemond Cold Storage
Mrs. Gin Staylor Retired School Teacher
Mrs. Tracie Thorndike Community Volunteer
Mrs. Betsy Totten TowneBank
Dr. Joseph L Verdirame Physician
Board Demographics - Ethnicity
African American/Black 0
Asian American/Pacific Islander 0
Caucasian 20
Hispanic/Latino 0
Native American/American Indian 0
Board Demographics - Gender
Male 10
Female 10
Board Term Lengths 3
Board Term Limits 2
Written Board Selection Criteria? Under Development
Written Conflict of Interest Policy? Under Development
Percentage Making Monetary Contributions 100
Number of Full Board Meetings Annually 11
Other Boards
The tables below contain information about other groups that advise this nonprofit on operations and projects.
Executive Director
Executive Director Mrs. Jackie W. Cherry

Jackie Walls Cherry 

Joined the staff of SCCA June 2006 as Director of Corp Sponsorship and Events. Jackie’s responsibilities include the negotiation and insurance of Center rental contracts, facilitate meetings between vendors, clients as related to all special events within the Center.

Prior to joining the SCCA, Ms. Cherry held senior positions within the Telecom Industry for 25 years. Her responsibilities included retention, new business, customer care, staff management, regional operations, sales, service, profit/loss and site selection. Highlights include manager of New Business Ventures for AT&T Corp Headquarters, N.J. identifying and developing programs to provide additional sources of revenues, consisting of new products/services, market identification and implementations. Ms. Cherry led a team in traffic building, advertising, revenue generation and budget control projects. 

Former CEOs
Mr. Michael Bollinger July 2004 - Dec 2008
Mr. Paul Lasakow Feb 2009 - Aug 2011
Senior Staff
Mrs. Susan F. Lawrence Director of Development
Full Time Staff 9
Part Time Staff 4
Volunteers 30
Contractors 0
Retention Rate 86
Organization has a Fundraising Plan? Yes
Organization has a Strategic Plan? Under Development
  • Classes for all ages and abilities in music, dance, theater, textiles, ceramics, photography, painting and fitness
  • Summer camps for children in visual and performing arts with leadership opportunities available to older children as counselors
  • Partner with local schools to provide quality field trips to our gallery exhibitions and special matinee performances of professional theatrical productions
  • "Artists in Schools" program, sending professional artists to local schools for performances, demonstrations and talks
  • Arts programming for students keyed directly to schools' curricula, supporting and complementing classroom learning
  • Scholarships available to individuals with demonstrated financial need to enable participation in arts classes and camps
  • "Percussion Power!" steel pan drum ensemble, program serving at-risk youth, offered tuition-free
  • Free or low-cost tickets available for many performances
  • Free admission to all gallery exhibits
  • Non-profit grant program, enabling local non-profits to use our facility for an event, rent-free
  • Present a variety of professional performers, including headliners,  emerging artists and local talent, in theater, music and dance
  • Community theater program
  • Venue for local arts groups and schools to perform in a professional theater
  • Visual arts exhibits in a variety of media presented in our two galleries, including works by local, regional and national/international artists
  • Exhibits focusing on local history and regional identity
  • Gallery space available for local arts and student groups to exhibit their works
Fiscal Year
Projected Revenue $1,159,830.00
Projected Expenses $1,159,830.00
Endowment Value $1,600.00
Spending Policy N/A
IRS Letter of Exemption
Detailed Financials
Revenue SourcesHelpThe financial analysis involves a comparison of the IRS Form 990 and the audit report (when available) and revenue sources may not sum to total based on reconciliation differences. Revenue from foundations and corporations may include individual contributions when not itemized separately.
Fiscal Year201620152014
Foundation and
Corporation Contributions
Government Contributions$382,210$373,475$350,000
Individual Contributions$242,284$174,320$155,067
Investment Income, Net of Losses------
Membership Dues----$167,963
Special Events$59,790$48,960$82,237
Revenue In-Kind$673$11,811$100
Expense Allocation
Fiscal Year201620152014
Program Expense$470,038$503,315$520,167
Administration Expense$1,073,654$1,102,879$1,092,257
Fundraising Expense$64,560$74,305$79,283
Payments to Affiliates------
Total Revenue/Total Expenses0.650.670.67
Program Expense/Total Expenses29%30%31%
Fundraising Expense/Contributed Revenue9%10%12%
Assets and Liabilities
Fiscal Year201620152014
Total Assets$18,296,726$18,937,033$19,454,513
Current Assets$453,022$499,568$419,527
Long-Term Liabilities$319,418$224,821$374,562
Current Liabilities$172,894$348,397$169,336
Total Net Assets$17,804,413$18,363,815$18,910,615
Short Term Solvency
Fiscal Year201620152014
Current Ratio: Current Assets/Current Liabilities2.621.432.48
Long Term Solvency
Fiscal Year201620152014
Long-Term Liabilities/Total Assets2%1%2%
Capital Campaign
Currently in a Capital Campaign? No
Capital Campaign Anticipated in Next 5 Years? No
State Charitable Solicitaions Permit
Solicitations Permit
Solicitations Permit 11/2016View
Foundation Comments
  • In 2012, the organization transitioned from a calendar fiscal year to a July-June fiscal year.
  • The financial analysis for 2012 represents the short fiscal year from 01/01/2012 - 06/30/2012.
  • In FY 2011, the organization received $2,228,500 in debt forgiveness.