History of Scholarships, Grants, & Fellowships


The local division of the American Association of University Women, organized in 1908 as the Dallas College Club, is today named the AAUW Dallas Branch. In 1912 the Dallas College Club gave the first scholarship grant. Initially the club had to rely on projects (such as the yearly Sanger Sales) to raise enough money for the scholarship each year. In 1956, with the annual income of Dallas Branch AAUW scholarship investments well beyond its original goal of $500, the endowment fund was created. An agreement was made with the bank to designate our scholarship investment as the AAUW Scholarship Fund. Records found name Allied Trust Services as the financial institution first assigned to administer the endowment fund trust fund. Provisions were made for the endowment fund to continue to grow through its own reinvestment and through voluntary contributions, memorials and other tax-free donations. The money-making projects were then channeled into other civic projects.

Scholarship TRUST Fund (1956)

Endowment Fund of the Dallas Branch of AAUW
This trust document and historical information on it were found by the 2005-2007 board. Then-President, Maria Viera-Williams, recognized the collective hard work of the 2006-2007 board, especially Treasurer and Past President Glenna Taite, scholarship co-chairs Pat Clendenin and Sue Johnson, Program VP Elizabeth DeBusk Babcock, and past presidents Gloria Hewlett and Beth Mouritsen who researched the TWU AAUW Dallas branch archives.

The Scholarship Trust Fund of AAUW Dallas is an irrevocable trust currently being administered by Frost Bank. The purposes of the endowment fund are described in Article I. The purposes specifically include charitable purposes. First, to provide scholarships and other aid to worthy girls or women who are financially unable to provide for their own education to institutions of higher learning. The second is to promote research by women in scholarly fields of science or learning for public health or welfare.

This trust was established with an initial bequest from Lorena Allen Alexander, an AAUW member. The accumulating income from the initial investment in 1963 of $25,000, a donation from Dorothy Alexander Gilbert Estate on behalf of Lorena Allen Alexander, has been administered by various financial institutions over the years.  In 1963 it was administered by the Mercantile Bank; later, in 1980 the funds were moved to the Dallas Communities Chest Fund.

The fund is currently administered by the Communities Foundation of Texas. Earnings from the fund are contributed on a biennial basis to the Educational Opportunities Fund from the Dallas Branch. Branch members are designated as Named Honorees, and funds are sent in their name to Association headquarters in Washington, DC.  In 2014-2016, we also used funds to send a student to the National Conference of College Women Student Leaders (NCCWSL).

House Fund

The House Fund was raised by AAUW members with the objective of buying an AAUW house for the Dallas branch. A home was not purchased.  Proceeds went to branch programs and projects. Funds are currently used to defray branch expenses such as programs and meeting facilities.

Fellowship Fund

Proceeds raised by AAUW projects were used to fund/complete the Polly Orcutt and Kay Jefferson national funds, and the Dallas Branch completed the Lorena Allen Alexander Research and Projects Grant in June 2012.  All three funds are currently providing funding for individuals and projects.

Parker Alexander/ Gertrude Primm Grant

Money was raised in 1984-1985 to support emergency financial assistance to women in financial crisis for educational tuition. The fund was renamed in 2004 honoring two 50-year members of the Dallas Branch and was revised to make it possible to provide financial assistance to more women attending Dallas area educational institutions. It has been referred to by various names, such as the Mature Women’s Award, the Parker Alexander/ Gertrude Primm Award, the Alexander-Primm Award, the Alexander-Primm Continuing Education Scholarship Fund, and the Alexander-Primm Continuing Education Award.  In January 2007 it was designated as the “Alexander-Primm Grant for Continuing Education” by chair Gloria Hewlett.  All funds have been awarded.

The Vivian S. Spohn Scholarship Fund

This fund is the most recent addition to the Dallas branch and remains active.

Former AAUW Dallas member, Vivian S. Spohn, passed away in May 2005, and her Last Will and Testament from September 2000 listed

AAUW Dallas as a beneficiary. Then president, Maria Viera-Williams, received notice in July of 2005 and accepted the bequest on behalf of the branch. During 2005-2007, board members had numerous discussions, researched fees and regulations in financial institutions, reviewed documents, consulted attorneys and the impact of the Pension Protection Act of 2006, which affected scholarship funds with donor involvement.  Board members also made inquiries to and sought financial advice from individuals and financial institutions. Currently, the Spohn Scholarship Fund is administered by Frost Bank.

Scholarship grants are available to qualified senior girls in Dallas and Highland Park Independent School Districts. Grants are made on the basis of high scholastic achievement, evidence of sound leadership ability, participation in school and community activities, and the need for financial assistance. Applications are reviewed and finalists are interviewed by Scholarship Committee members. Forms and deadline information are available through the Dallas Independent School District high school counselors’ offices.