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Zenas Crane Fund for Student Aid

Scholarship Guidelines


Graduates of Wahconah Regional High School, college students or renewing Crane scholars who are graduates of Wahconah Regional High School or a vocational-technical program of a public high school who are enrolled in or planning to enroll in an accredited college or university.


Visit our online portal to complete our common application, which will determine your eligiblity for all Berkshire Taconic scholarships. Once you have logged in, select "Apply" at the top of the page, then scroll to the bottom of the list to find "Scholarship Common Application."


The Crane Family of Dalton has been operating Crane & Co. Inc. in manufacturing fine paper since its founding in 1801. Zenas Crane (1840-1917), grandson of the founder Zenas Crane, was actively involved in its management. Kindly and genial in nature, Mr. Crane was generous and greatly respected in Berkshire County and beyond. In 1900 he founded the Pittsfield Boys’ Club (now the Boys’ and Girls’ Club). In 1903 he founded the Berkshire Museum and purchased much of its original contents. Among other beneficiaries of his philanthropy were organizations in his town of Dalton as well as colleges throughout the United States. In 1909 he was the main backer of Admiral Robert E. Peary’s expedition to discover the North Pole.

In 1926 the Zenas Crane Fund for Student Aid was established as a permanent memorial to him by his wife, Ellen Kittredge Crane and their three children; Frances Crane Colt, Zenas Marshall Crane and Charles Kittredge Crane. As stated in the original articles of organization, the income from the Fund is to be used “for the purpose of aiding worthy boys and girls in obtaining a higher education and to allot the said income primarily to students residing in Dalton and to the residents of neighboring small towns who shall be graduates of Dalton High School (now Wahconah Regional High School)”.

Since 1926, the Fund has been managed and scholarships awarded by a local Board of Trustees. In 2008, the fund became a constituent fund of the Berkshire Taconic Community Foundation. The scholarship applications are reviewed by the Zenas Crane Fund for Student Aid Committee.

The Zenas Crane Fund for Student Aid was established in 1926 by the Crane family to support the higher education of worthy students residing in Dalton and neighboring towns. Since that time, the fund has helped thousands of students pursue their educational goals.

In establishing the fund, the trustees noted: “The students must be so situated as to need financial assistance. General character and all around ability as against scholarship alone shall be the basis of award. It must clearly appear that the education sought will advantage the student.”


High school seniors, college students & renewing Crane scholars:

  • Residing in one of the seven towns of the Central Berkshire Regional School District* at the time of graduation from high school. Exceptions may be made on a case by case basis for Wahconah students who do not reside within the school district at the time of graduation,
  • Enrolled or planning to enroll in an accredited college or university and
  • Graduating from Wahconah Regional High School or a vocational-technical program of a public high school generally within the previous five years.
  • *Central Berkshire Regional School District comprises Becket, Cummington, Dalton, Hinsdale, Peru, Washington and Windsor.

Berkshire Taconic does not support organizations which in their constitution, by-laws, or practice, discriminate against a person or group on the basis of age, race, national origin, ethnicity, gender, disability, sexual orientation, political affiliation or religious belief.


The Fund awards scholarships ranging from $1,000 - $2,000 annually. The number of awards in any year depends upon the amount of funding available and the number and quality of scholarship applicants. The primary focus of the Fund is graduating high school seniors. As funding allows, scholarship awards may also be made to applicants who graduated within the last five years. The fund may also provide continued scholarship support to existing Crane scholars throughout college. For scholarship assistance for graduate studies, please see the Winthrop Crane Fund guidelines.


The committee will review requests for scholarships according to the purpose of the fund using the following criteria for high school seniors:

  • Financial need (30%)
  • The student’s efforts and ambitions to achieve his/her academic and life goals (30%)
  • Community service (20%)
  • Academic achievement (20%)


$1,000 to $2,000 annually


March 15


Visit our online portal to complete our common application.