Philanthropic Activities of the Burns Society

Towards its mission to “To perpetuate and honor the memory of Robert Burns, encourage the study of his works; fittingly celebrate the anniversary of his birth; cultivate Scottish song and literature, and promote social intercourse among its members” the Burns Society has supported a number of Burns-related philanthropic endeavors, including:

> Monetary gifts to The National Trust for Scotland (NTS) to support their Robert Burns programs in Scotland;

> Gifts of antique objects connected to Robert Burns to the NTS for display at the Burns Museum in Alloway, Ayrshire, Scotland;

> A regular donation to the St. Andrews Society of New York to support their scholarship program.

> An annual scholarship program with New York University, Barnard College and Hunter College awarded for Burns related scholarship.  This program launched in the summer of 2007 when the Board of Trustees, represented by Carleton Cleveland, President and Bernard Magdelain, Treasurer met with Chairpersons of the respective English Departments for Barnard College, Hunter College, and NYU. By letter agreement with each College we established the Robert Burns Literary prize in an amount of $1,000 to be awarded each year for five years to the student who writes "about Burns' poetry; on the wider influence of Burns on poetry; on his influence on the social situation of his time; or on the other poets who were influenced by Burns' philosophies."

We invite you to read all past winning essays which are linked below. 

We have enjoyed a great deal of success with these literary prizes and we would like/expect to continue them beyond the initial five year commitment.

Indeed, the Society is currently seeking to expand its activities to include High Schools in the New York area as well as to launch and sponsor a program to promote the songs of Robert Burns.  All interested parties should address their proposals to the Chairman of the Scholarship Committee.  

Please contact us or your school for more details.  You can contact the Society by using our Contact Form or directly by mail at:  

          Burns Society of the City of New York
          P.O. Box 3864 Grand Central Station 
          New York, NY 10163


Prior winners of our Scholarship Program and their essay are shown below with their essays.

2021 Essay Winners from Barnard College

The winners of the 2021 Burns Society Literary Prize from Barnard College are:   

  • First Place: Anna Morrione - "O Were My Love Yon Lilac Fair by Robert Burns"
  • Second Place: Emily Gethen - "Goodbye, Yellow Brick Road: How Fathers and Farmers Inform Burns’s Poetry and Personal Philosophy"
  • Third Place: Ashley Kahn - "An Examination of To a Mouse"


Their essays are available below.