December 8, 2015

About SCA

Supporting, Connecting, Awarding – That’s SCA!

Swedish Council of America (SCA) was founded in 1972 by a group of leading American-Swedish organizations to be the national umbrella organization for the hundreds of Swedish-American lodges, clubs, associations, museums and other groups all across the United States. SCA’s initial purpose was to provide networking, institutional services and technical assistance to SCA Affiliate Member organizations as they promoted the preservation and understanding of Swedish heritage and culture in their local area and built stronger ties between North America and Sweden. Bringing these groups together for networking and sharing was the “council” in Swedish Council of America.

During these early years, SCA had several major accomplishments within the Swedish-American community, prime among these were:

  • The establishment of the Swedish Heritage Fund, a permanent endowment fund created in the 1990s to provide financial support projects that help preserve Swedish heritage and promote understanding of Swedish culture in North America.
  • The founding of two significant scholarships – also in the 1990s – one bringing Swedish students to America and another sending American students to Sweden.
  • The launching of Sweden & America magazine, the journal of record for Swedish heritage in North America.

As time went on, the number of local Swedish-American groups diminished markedly and gradually the focus of Swedish-America changed to include more connections with contemporary Swedish culture, education and society. In response to these changes and to the changes in the needs of Swedish North America, SCA changed, too.

The community foundation for Swedish North America

After assessing the needs of our constituent organizations and listening to the goals of our supporters, SCA has taken on a new role, one where there is clearly a void in the community SCA was created to serve – that of the community foundation for Swedish North America. With over $1,000,000 of assets in its endowment, and a nearly 40 year history of supporting organizations and youth with grants and scholarships; of connecting affiliates and individuals with magazines, books, newsletters and conferences; and of awarding leaders within the Swedish American community with the recognition they deserve, SCA is well-positioned to fulfill this role.

As a community foundation, SCA can best serve the new and remarkably dynamic younger generations of North Americans interested in Swedish culture, language and creativity in the new global economy. This is not to say all interest in the Swedish emigration experience has faded, but that there is also a new and remarkable blossoming interest in contemporary Sweden and in how one relatively small Nordic country has achieved such significant global influence in the realms of business, design, cuisine, architecture, medicine and pop music, to name just a few fields where Sweden excels.

With these critical strengths as our guide, SCA has embarked on a strategy focused on three clearly defined programs for the community:


In the 1990s, SCA leadership established the SCA Heritage Fund to ensure that SCA can provide grants to projects that promote Swedishness for decades to come. Proceeds from this endowment fund, along with supplemental funding from SCA annual funds, have permitted SCA to make $1,000,000 in grants to the Swedish-American community! We believe this makes SCA the largest community-supported source of funding for Swedish America in the United States.

SCA Grants have gone to nearly 400 projects at 184 organizations in 35 states and provinces. This pretty much guarantees that SCA has funded one or more projects in your area.


SCA has two long-established annual scholarships.

  • The SCA Curtis L. Carlson Swedish-American Scholarship. Mr. Carlson fully endowed this scholarship in the 1990s and it supports Swedish students from Uppsala Universitet who want to study in the United States.
  • The SCA Glenn T. Seaborg Science Scholarship. This three-decade old scholarship is named after a Nobel Laureate and former SCA Board Chair. It sends American students to participate in the Stockholm International Youth Science Seminar, which culminates with the participants attending the Nobel Ceremonies and Banquet.

The resounding demand for these scholarships has led us to dream big and in 2013 the SCA board authorized six major SCA Scholarships inspired by the six Nobel Prizes. When fully funded, SCA will offer scholarships in the following areas:

  • Natural Sciences
  • Humanities
  • Swedish Language
  • Medicine or Public Health
  • Peace and Conflict Resolution Studies
  • Economics and Entrepreneurialism


This is another area where SCA has expanded the breadth and quality of the program. SCA bestows its awards twice a year at its semi-annual meetings and the number of nominations has increased significantly, indicating increased interest in the program.

  • The SCA Great Achievement Award for lifetime achievements in promoting Swedishness across North America and Sweden.
  • The SCA Award of Merit in recognition of outstanding contributions and hard work within local communities.
  • SCA Proclamations to recognize significant milestones in organizations’ histories or outstanding achievements made by public figures in Swedish-North America.
  • The SCA Founders Award is conferred under special circumstances upon an exceptional person currently serving as a director of the Swedish Council of America

Please contact us if you have any specific questions about SCA or about the projects and programs we support. We are always eager to talk about our story and how SCA supports, connects and awards Swedish North America!