Nina Schnee – 2018 Scholarship Recipient

At Scottish Heritage USA, we believe in and facilitate the advancement of youth through our scholarship program.

The Pete & Mary Hamilton Dance and Piping Scholarships are offered at two schools, The School of Scottish Arts for Highland Dance and the North American Academy of Piping and Drumming.

The School of Scottish Arts

Situated at Lees-McRae College in picturesque Banner Elk, North Carolina offers one and two week courses in all aspects of Highland Dance.

The School was founded in North Carolina in 1965 by Sally Southerland.

The purposes of School of Scottish Arts (SSA) are:

  • to encourage the preservation of the folk arts, heritage and traditions of Scotland
  • to extend the knowledge and practice of Scottish Arts by providing a center for learning and offering instruction conforming to traditional standards, and;
  • to stimulate public interest in Scottish arts and traditions.

SSA accomplishes this mission by offering quality dance instruction from top teachers of Highland Dancing and by introducing and reinforcing knowledge of Scottish culture and history. For more information on the School of Scottish Arts, please visit:

North American Academy of Piping and Drumming

Due to COVID restrictions the school is unable to take in as many students as usual and as a result, the school is full and is not taking any more students. All applications for scholarships will be held until next year.

The piping and drumming school, started by the late John McFayden, of Glasgow, Scotland, and Sandy Jones, has been operating in Valle Crucis, North Carolina for over 40 years. The school’s professional instructors conduct one-week classroom instruction on piping and drumming. Visit the Academy’s website at

Room, board and tuition are included in our scholarships.


Grant Guidelines

If you wish to apply for a grant from Scottish Heritage USA, you MUST be a non-profit organization and a copy of your IRS determination letter must accompany your request.

Please adhere to the following guidelines:

The board meets to decide on grant funding twice a year. The second week in July and the first week in December. Please have your requests submitted to the office no later than May 15th and October 15th.

Provide a short cover letter (no more than one page) explaining who you are and why you wish funds from Scottish Heritage.

Project Summary: Give a summary of the project (2-3 paragraphs).

Project Description: Prepare a detailed description of the project, include pictures and other supporting documentation you feel will help the board in visualizing your project.

Project Budget: Submit a detailed project budget including other funding requested for the project (if any), people or other organizations involved in the project and the amount you are requesting from Scottish Heritage USA.

Name, address, telephone and email of the contact person responsible for the application.

The Board of Directors meets twice each year in July and December. Please have your applications in at least one month prior to those meetings to give staff time to copy the requests and distribute to the board members.

Send your applications by mail to:

Scottish Heritage USA, Inc.
PO Box 457
Pinehurst, NC 28374-0457

By email to: (If you are sending pictures, please send in jpeg format).

Questions? Contact: Ms. Helton 919.295.4448. Office is open on Tuesdays and Thursdays only.

2023 Grants Awarded

AN CRIOS GRÈINE: An Crios Grèine’s goal is to assemble the leading pipers from around the globe in a forum to promote their talents to raise funds for scholarships, and to help support aspiring students. To this end, An Crios Grèine holds an invitational piping contest designed to uphold the highest level of integrity and standards established in the world piping community. Invitations are extended to ten of the leading pipers from around the world to perform in two contests. There will also be an amateur competition.
STANDING COUNCIL OF SCOTTISH CHIEFS: The council plans to produce a coffee table style book written and approved by the participating chiefs. Each chief will have 4 full color pages to describe his clan and its history. It is planned to have the book available at (in limited quantities) the 2024 Grandfather Mountain Highland Games.
SCOTTISH CULTURAL OUTREACH FOUNDATION (Formerly Highland Echoes) was awarded $2,000 in support of their educational program with the proviso that the area served be broadened rather than provide program enrichment. This program provides pre-packaged programs for teachers to use in the classroom and integrates with their current curriculum to bring Scottish culture into the classroom.
NATIONAL TRUST-BURNS ON LINE RESOURCE DEVELOPMENT: aims to bring the work of Scottish poet Robert Burns (1795-96) to the fingertips of an international audience. The Trust owns some 6,000 artifacts, manuscripts, and books relating to Burns that are housed at the Robert Burns Birthplace Museum, a purpose-built facility located in the small Ayrshire village where the poet was born.
THE NATIONAL TRUST – THREAVE GARDEN PROJECT: It costs the Trust approximately $17,000 (£15,000) each year to deliver the program for six first-year students. The Trust covers the accommodation and living costs for students, well as providing a stipend of $110 (£100) a week. Each apprentice needs to be provided with basic PPE (personal protective equipment) for their role, typically safety boots, safety glasses and waterproofs, along with the occasional hand tool. It is also expected travel to travel to other Trust gardens locally to take part in additional or specific learning (e.g. working with fruit and vegetables, pruning, experiencing different gardening styles etc) will be underwritten.
THE NATIONAL TRUST USA FOUNDATION Scottish Heritage awards the foundation a $20,000 grant to be used for support of the National Trust for Scotland.

Total: $80,000

2022 Grants Awarded

NTSUSA – For support of the National Trust properties
SCOT DANCE was awarded $5,000 to assist with the (FUSTA) 2022 dance championships. Founded in 1980 Scot Dance USA is the governing body of Highland Dance in the US and is the official US-affiliated organization of the Royal Scottish Official Board of Highland Dancing which is the worldwide governing body of Highland Dance. Since its inception, ScotDance USA’s mission has been to promote Scottish Highland Dancing and culture in the United States. ScotDance USA presents ongoing education for teachers, judges and dances, is the registration body for competing Highland Dancers and Dance competitions and sponsors the Uniteed States Inter-Regional Championship, which crowns the US Highland Dance Champions in each age group from each of the 6 regions.
HIGHLAND ECHOES was awarded $2,500 in support of their educational program “Scotland in the Class”. This teaching unit was developed to support common core standards for teachers to use in schools. The unit provides a series of lessonsfor kindergarten through 5th grade in literacy, art, music, history and physical education. The full unit is available for free.
TARTANS MUSEUM was awarded $5,000 to provide a glass barrier in front of the weapons and the kilt evolution exhibits. Founded by The Scottish Tartans Society The Scottish Tartans Museum and Heritage Center, Inc. was established to be a center for reliable information on Scottish Highland Dress traditions within the United States, and to serve the large Scottish-American heritage community. The museum is open year-round, six days a week (except for major holidays). The museum gallery features kilts dating back to c. 1800, and tartan specimens c. 1725. Over 600 tartan samples are on display, including tartans for clans, families, districts, and other organizations. A computer database contains over 11,000 unique tartan designs, both historic and modern.
PIPES OF CHRISTMAS MUSIC CONCERT was awarded $5,000 Now in its 24th season, The Currie Clan brings you this cherished holiday concert. It is a stirring and reverent cultural celebration of the Christmas season and Celtic spirit. The concert is performed at Madison Avenue Presbyterian Church on Manhattan’s Upper East Side and in Summit, New Jersey at Central Presbyterian Church. Iconic sounds of bagpipes, brass, drums and organ, as well as the sounds of harp, fiddle, acoustic guitar and flute are woven together with Scottish, Irish, and Welsh stories told and sung in English, Gaelic, and old Scots. While much of the program features traditional music, The Pipes of Christmas also showcases compositions – old and new – never before performed. We actively include long-forgotten Christmas carols and poems.

Total: $37,500

2020 Grants Awarded