About The Cross Trust

The Cross Trust is a charitable body giving grants to young Scots, with awards made to both individuals and organisations.

" … deserving young Scots need opportunities to fulfil their aspiration and potential …"


In 1943, Sir Alexander Cross founded a trust in his name with the aim of helping young people, of Scots birth or parentage, to become fulfilled and useful citizens.

Sir Alexander believed that, if young people were given the opportunity to extend the boundaries of their knowledge of human life, then they would be better able to make their own way in life and contribute to society.

Sir Alexander (1880–1963) was the grandson of William Cross, the senior partner of the Glasgow seed merchants and chemical manufacturers, Alexander Cross & Sons. The young Alexander was educated at Charterhouse and Balliol College, Oxford, and then moved to London to become a barrister, where in due course he became a member of the Inner Temple.

The Great War of 1914-1918 interrupted Sir Alexander’s career as a barrister and he served as a captain with the Glasgow Yeomanry. He survived the war but, in common with countless others, suffered severe injuries and did not to return to his law career.

Sir Alexander moved back to Scotland and settled at Battleby, a property near Perth (now owned by NatureScot), ideally suited for developing his passion for plants and trees. Sir Alexander became a widely-respected horticulturalist and lived at Battleby until his death, aged 83, in May 1963.

Early on, Sir Alexander became convinced that giving funds at the right time could help develop a young person, who may have been described as “an awkward youth", into a valued member of society. At first, he made a number of donations to individual schoolchildren, but soon realised that more good could be achieved, and in a more sustainable way, by awarding grants through a Charitable Trust.

And so, in 1943, The Cross Trust was established with its aim today the same as in 1943: to enable young people of Scottish birth or parentage to extend the boundaries of their knowledge of human life. Sir Alexander wished not only to help young people escape poverty, but also to help them achieve spiritual and personal fulfilment. He took a personal interest in the young recipients of his grants and often kept in touch for many years following the original award.

The early focus of the Trust was to give grants to young people for education, the arts and foreign travel, as well as awarding medical bursaries. Over the years, therefore, beneficiaries of Sir Alexander’s foresight and generosity include many of today’s scientists, doctors, actors, musicians, linguists and environmentalists. And not only individuals have benefited, as many theatres and arts bodies (national and local), as well as outdoor youth education and natural heritage organisations, have also received grants.

The Trustees continuously develop the work of the Trust in response to the evolving needs of young people within the context of today’s world. For more than seven decades, The Cross Trust continues to make a valuable contribution to the lives of very many people.