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City of Salem Trust Funds
Who We Are
On June 5, 1903, the Massachusetts legislature enacted Chapter 413 of the Acts & Resolves of Massachusetts. The act established the Salem Board of Commissioners of Trust Funds and gave the Mayor the authority to appoint the four members of the Board. It also empowered the Board to "invest, manage, control, and have the custody of all such funds and...distribute the income of said funds in accordance with th terms of the respective trusts." The Board is comprised of the four volunteer members, appointed by the Mayor to 12-year terms. The Mayor of Salem serve as the Chair ex-officio and the board is supported by a Clerk. The Board meets monthly in the Mayor's office to discuss and vote on matters pertaining tothe disbursement of monies deposited in over 50 trust funds established by people who left money to the City of Salem. The Board ensures that the funds are spent consistent with the wishes of the people who left it to the City.
What We Do
The Board awards grants every July, October, January, and April in five categories to Salem residents who demonstrate need. Money from the trust funds is also granted to outside agencies such as Catholic Charities, North Shore Community Action Programs, the Salem YMCA, the Boys & Girls Club of Greater Salem, and the Salvation Army. These agencies in turn aid residents who qualify for assitance under the parameters set forth by the various trust funds. The Board will often refer applicants directly to these agencies for assistance and to access support from the funds. Funding normally falls into one of five categories.
General Assistance. Funding granted for general assistance is typically used for items such as rent, food, utilieis, and emergencies, like a fire. Some funds are open to all residents who qualify, while others restricted to residents who are not receiving public assistance. In 1984 several trusts were combined to provide general assistance. The M.B. Perkins Fund is used primarily for emergencies and special needs. The Endicott Fund provides money for health-related services.
Scholarships. Trust funds earmarked for scholarships are intended for students from Salem entering or remaining in an institution of higher education. For example, the John Canty Scholarship Fund provides financial assistance for a student enrolled in a law enforcement program. The Dora Clark Harris Fund provides three scholarships annually to students who demonstrate proficiency in music, while the Sarah P. Battis Fund gives scholarship money to Salem students who attend Harvard or Radcliffe.
Fuel Assistance. Many trust funds are dedicated to fuel assistance, including the Joseph Hardy Towne Fund, which provides funding for fuel to working single women who live in Salem. Nine other fuel funds were combined, while another five were merged to help those not receiving public assistance.
Cemeteries & Parks. Several funds provide for the upkeep of cemeteries and parks, including the Meldon Fund, which proivdes funding for the beautification of Greenlawn Cemetery, and the Flower Fund, a combination of several funds that is used to purchase flowers for the cemetery. Money from the Mack Fund was used to contribute to the building of the softball field at Mack Park.
Concerts & Picnics. Some trusts were established to support free community concerts and picnics. Perhaps the most well known of these is the Charles A. Read Fund, which sponsors the annual Read Science Fund Picnic for Salem elementary school students. The Read Fund also helps fund library books, science equipment for schools, and lectures on scientific topics. Three other funds in this category were combined to provide an annual free concert at Salem Willows and a philharmonic concert at Salem High School.
How to Apply
To apply for a scholarship from the trust fund, please complete the scholarship application form and mail it to the address on the form. If you are applying for a scholarship from the trust fund, you may also be interested in a scholarship from the City's Scholarship & Education Committee.
To apply for general assistance or fuel assistance from the trust fund, please complete the assistance evaluation form. After you have complete the form, contact one of the approved outside agencies to submit the form for funding consideration: North Shore Community Action Program (978-531-0767), Catholic Charities (978-740-6923), and The Salvation Army (fuel assistance only) (978-744-5181).
How to Give
The only source of revenue for the trust funds is money that is bequeathed to the City. Anyone wishing to start a trust fund should contact their attorney, financial advisor, or accountant. Those who wish to make a gift to an existing fund can send it to the Board of Commissioners of Trust Funds, P.O. Box 26, Salem MA 01970.
|Kimberley Driscoll||Chair (Ex-Officio)|
|F. Kay Fouhey||Clerk|
|Judge Thaddeus Buczko||Member (3/1/2026)|
|William Goreham||Member (11/20/2021)|
|Sumner Jones||Member (4/1/2020)|
|Raymond Vaillancourt||Member (12/3/2027)|