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Grants and Scholarships

The Edward J. Ward Irish Music Scholarship

The Edward J. Ward Irish Music Scholarship was established in 1989 by resolution of the Board of Directors of Irish Festivals, Inc. to honor Edward J. Ward, founder of the Milwaukee Irish Fest and promoter of Irish activities in the Milwaukee area.

The $1,000 yearly scholarship for musicians or singers is to be used for their study of Irish instrumental music or song. Applicants may be of any age or ethnic background and need not be residents of the Milwaukee area. The scholarship is given to individuals only, not to groups or organizations. Winners will be given $500 in August of the award year. The remaining $500 will be awarded only upon the committee’s receipt of the grantee’s report, including evidence (such as receipts and registration forms) that the project was completed.

Examples of past scholarships:

  • Instrumental music lessons
  • Sean Nos lessons
  • Study & Compilation of Session Tunes

Currently Not Accepting Applications

It was announced during the 2019 festival that this year's winner of the Edward J. Ward music scholarship award is Kristin Ware, from Williamson, GA. She plans to use the funds to continue harp and singing lessons, and if possible, attend classes in the Catskills or Swannanoa, and potentially study abroad in Ireland. She started Irish step dancing at the age of four and soon took up the tin whistle and fiddle. Since age ten, she has been taking Irish harp lessons as well as singing, in Gaelic, too. Her abilities have allowed her to compete in the Fleadh Cheoil in Ireland several times. 

She has opened for artists at concerts and has performed in many venues, giving presentations at county and state levels on the art of sean-nos, Irish dance, and Celtic harp. Congratulations Kristin!

Foundation Grant Guidelines

View the guidelines for applying for a grant from the Irish Fest Foundation here.

CelticMKE Volunteer Scholarship

CelticMKE has established scholarships for its volunteers, beginning in 2002. Up to four $2,000 scholarships will be awarded each year to deserving volunteers who meet the criteria outlined below. The scholarships were established as both a reward and incentive for individuals who give significant time and effort as volunteers for the organization or festival. They also are intended to assist in developing the potential of future leaders of CelticMKE.

Click here to read through the Eligibility Requirements and Terms.

Currently Not Accepting Applications

Irish Cultural Grant

The Irish Cultural Grant was established in 1998 by resolution of the Board of Directors of Irish Festivals, Inc. A yearly total of $2,000 is available and can be dispersed in smaller grant amounts to one or more individuals. Half will be awarded on acceptance with the remaining funds dispersed on submission of status report, or completion of the project. Applications will be reviewed once a year in November. 

Its purpose is to fund an individual’s project that is related to the study of any aspect of Irish or Irish-American culture. Applicant must be an individual, may be of any age or ethnic background and need not be a resident of the Milwaukee area. Cultural grants are given to individuals only, not to groups or organizations. The Scholarship Committee anticipates announcing grant recipients in November. Further information and applications can be obtained by writing to the Scholarship Committee at CelticMKE, 1532 Wauwatosa Ave., Milwaukee, WI, 53213, by emailing us at or by calling CelticMKE at (414) 476-3378 during regular business hours.

Examples of past grants:

  • Currach research and competitions
  • Theatrical production development
  • Irish language study
  • Irish music session research for book publication

Currently Not Accepting Applications


Contact us at or at 414-476-3378.

CelticMKE | 1532 Wauwatosa Avenue | Milwaukee, WI 53213-2623 | Phone: (414) 476-3378 | Email:

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