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Chester County Press

Scholarship supports artisans

07/17/2013 09:13AM ● By Acl

Each year, Natalie A.W. Leaf helps women and men from Chester County achieve their dreams through a scholarship. Local residents interested in developing their skills in home craftsmanship through workshops, apprenticeships and degree programs at colleges and universities can benefit from her generosity. 

Leaf, an elementary school art teacher in West Chester for 42 years, believed in the power of education to transform lives and the community. Over her lifetime, she developed an appreciation for antiques and historic preservation. In the 1960s, when she began to restore her family’s 19th-century home, she was disappointed to find few artisans capable of the high-quality craftsmanship she desired. 

In 1990, she left her estate to support people in learning crafts and trades to build, enhance or restore the home. She asked Mitch Crane, her student, attorney and former councilman and District Court judge, to make her vision a reality. He now serves as the fund advisor.

Now, 24 years after her death, Leaf’s fund has awarded more than $550,000 in scholarships to more than 100 Chester County residents to develop their craftsmanship.

For scholarship applications or more information, call Mary Beth Jackson at 610-716-7357 or e-mail [email protected].