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Charity Begins at Home: Clan and Family Society Foundations & Charitable Giving

Many clan and family societies not only serve their members but also fulfil the charitable responsibilities required by the U.S. Internal Revenue Service (IRS.)

According to the 2022 COSCA membership survey, 13 societies reported separate but affiliated clan or family charitable foundation: American Clan Gregor Society; Armstrong Clan Society; Clan Baird Society Worldwide; Clan Campbell Society, N.A.; Clan MacAlpine Society; Clan Macaulay Association; Clan Maclean Association in the U.S.; Clan MacTavish; Clan Maitland Society; Clan Morrison Society of N.A.; Clan Young Society, Inc.; Family of Bruce International, Inc.; and Murray Clan Society of North America.

Another 14 societies offer grants or scholarships directly: Clan Buchanan Society International; Clan Crawford Association; Clan Galbraith Society; Clan Irwin Association; Clan Keith Society USA; Clan Leslie Society International; Clan MacFarlane Worldwide; Clan Maclaren Society of N.A.; Clan MacLellan Worldwide; Clan Maxwell Society; Kennedy Society of N.A.; Clan MacLellan; and MacAskill Sept Society.

One of the largest clan foundations is the American Clan Gregor Society Inc Charity and Education Fund. The Fund offers educational assistance for descendants of MacGregors as well as others who have a Scottish or Scots-Irish heritage. The scholarships are funded by investment income from the Fund. The amount of each scholarship is determined by the Board of Trustees and varies from year to year. In 2018, Fund offered a new scholarship for a full week of tuition, board and meals at the North American Academy of Piping and Dancing. With assets of over $500,000, the Fund offered 18 scholarships in 2021 for students attending a wide range universities and pursuing studies in Animal Sciences, Biology, Business, Chemistry, Elementary Education, Finance, History, Kinesiology, Mechanical Engineering, Music, and Political Science. Learn more here:

Clan Baird Society Worldwide Foundation supports both preservation and scholarship. The Foundation purchases Baird lands to be kept in trust and preserves the graves in the Baird Aisle and other graves at old St. Drostan's Kirk on the Auchmedden Estate.

The Baird Fire Scholarship is a program that helps foster and cared-for children around the world through a stock portfolio plan. This awards children a weekly allowance for doing well in school and acting within the three precepts of the Baird Fire scholar honor code: scholarship, stewardship, and citizenship. The scholarship helps foster children who will need a base for launching into the university or working world when they finish secondary school. The Foundation uses a “529 plan,” also called a Qualified Tuition Program, which is a tax-advantaged investment vehicle that encourages saving for the future higher education expenses. Learn more here:

Other societies offer restoration grants in Scotland. For example, the Clan Maitland Society of North America has funded the Thirlestane Castle Restoration Project. (Source: IRS Form 990, 2019.)

Clan Campbell Education Foundation Inc offers a variety of support for the Argyll Estates to support continued preservation, scholarships for students selected by St. Andrews University, North Carolina; and Clan Campell educational materials. (Source: IRS Form 990-EZ, 2017.)

Many other clan and family societies offer cultural grants. For example, the Armstrong Clan Society offers support for “the next generation of bagpipers, highland dancers, and artists to revere generations past;” the Clan Morrison Society of North America awards scholarships for candidates wishing to further studies in Scottish culture; and the House of Gordon has jus announced the recipients of two scholarships to support an athlete involved with Scottish games and a linguistics student accepted to a Gaelic Immersion course at the University of Glasgow in Scotland. (See:

What grants or scholarships does your clan or family society offer? Please send information to Bart Forbes at

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