US-Scots to help rebuild communities with ‘Tartan Cents’ initiative

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Three pilot urban regeneration projects in Fife and Ayrshire are set to receive funding from descendants of Scots who emigrated to the United States.

The schemes will benefit from a grant initiative called Tartan Cents, which was originally established to “strenghten community links [with] the homeland” and the estimated 6.6million US citizens with direct links to Scottish heritage.

Tartan Cents aims to strengthen links between US and Scotland. Pic: Johnston Press

Tartan Cents aims to strengthen links between US and Scotland. Pic: Johnston Press

Tartan Cents was announced during New York Tartan Week and was launched by Chief officer of Scotland’s Towns Partnerships Phil Prentice and Rob St Mary, of Patroncity, a Detroit-based business described as a “civic crowd-funding platform”.

The funding will be put towards a “Spirit of Scotland” town trail in Girvan, South Ayrshire, the restoration of Adam Smith’s garden in Kirckaldy and the refurbishment of Dumfermline-based Pittencrief House, the family home of General John Forbes, who went on to found the city of Pittsburgh in 1758.

The fundraisers are aiming to host community events, exhibitions and education projects in the building.

Mr Prentice said of the Tartan Cents project: “This year is the twentieth anniversary of New York Tartan Week, a week of celebrations of all things Scottish. Scotland’s story is one of invention, migration and immigration and the cultural identity linked to strong social values.

“Scotland invented most of the modern world, from penicillin, to roads and bicycles, to the television and telephones.

“The Tartan Cents concept is an innovative first, looking at global connections to support the Scottish homeland.”

Rob St. Mary, director of Outreach at Patronicity commented: “Patronicity has helped dozens of communities in the United States create better places to live, work, and play through the power of crowd-granting over the past five years.”

He added: “We are honoured that our first international foray is Scotland, for several reasons. First, we know the innovative spirit of Smith, Watt, Carnegie, and so many others still burns bright inside today’s Scots. That fire can help make stronger, more vibrant communities for all.

“Second, a very personal one, Scotland is the homeland of my mother who emigrated to the U.S. with my aunt and grandparents in 1970. I still have close family and ties in Scotland. I feel many of us who share this great heritage have sought a meaningful way to connect back home.

“I see Tartan Cents, in partnership with local communities, as a way to give back to a place that has given us so much.”

The Tartan Cents project was intitially launched at the Scotland’s Towns Conference in Paisley in 2017 and the funding platform will be opened from 6 April.