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Tak' a cup o' kindness yet: Cultural and Educational Scholarships

The generosity of Scots is not only celebrated by Robert Burns in “Auld Lang Syne” but is a proven fact. A study conducted by the Charities Aid Foundation (CAF) reports that “Scots more likely to take part in a charitable or social activity in the last four weeks than UK as a whole.” Specifically, “There is a gap of 12 percentage points, with 76% of Scots participating in a charitable or social activity, compared to 64% in the UK as a whole.” (CAF Scotland Giving 2019) In another study, CAF has also reported that “The most generous country in the world over a decade of CAF World Giving Index is the United States of America.” (CAF World Giving Index: Ten Years of Giving trends, October 2019) So no one should be surprised that Americans of Scottish heritage should be in the forefront of charitable giving.

COSCA has compiled a database of over fifty Scottish heritage societies that offer scholarships for college and for pursuing cultural activities such as Scottish dancing, fiddling, piping, and athletics.

In the 2022 membership survey, many clan and family societies consider their scholarship programs to be the best aspects of their organization. These include the American Clan Gregor Society, Clan Baird Society Worldwide/Clan Baird Society Scotland, and Clan MacLellan.

Many Societies have found that offering scholarships is a good way to increase donations. For example, Kathy Kessinger, President of Clan MacLellan, notes that “Members have donated in honor of members, in memory and in support of the scholarship fund.”

Some societies have developed close relationships with Scottish heritage educational institutions that directly administer their scholarships. For example, the Clan Currie Society or Learned Kindred of Currie, offers several cultural scholarships through the Gaelic College of Nova Scotia, the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland in Glasgow, the National Piping Centre of Glasgow, the Lyon College of Batesville in Arkansas, and many others.

The largest college scholarships are offered by the St. Andrew’s Society of Philadelphia ($35,000), the St. Andrew’s Society of the State of New York (up to $35,000 each) and the St. Andrew's Society of Washington, DC ($5,000 to $10,000.)

While some Societies evaluate the academic records and and courses of study of their applicants, some simply require a well-written essay. For example, the St. Andrew’s Society of Hawaii offers their scholarship awards to students that submit the best essay on a notable person of Scottish ancestry who made a significant contribution in the arts, history or culture of Hawaii.

See the complete listing here:

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