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    Posted June 9, 2006

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Actors' Equity Families Win Union-Plus Scholarships

For the second year in a row, children of Actors' Equity members have been selected to receive the 2006 Union Plus Scholarship awards. This year's winners are Tiger Elizabeth Curran, daughter of Chris and K.T. Curran of Sarasota, Florida and Kathryn Hathaway, daughter of Joanne Manley of Rutherford, NJ.

"We are very pleased these young women have been awarded scholarships," said Equity President Patrick Quinn. "Their essays, both of which described how their parents' membership in Actors' Equity has helped their families, clearly show a deep understanding of the importance of unions in America. The scholarships also provide crucial help to many women and men in the labor movement seeking to realize their dreams."

Curran and Hathaway are among 108 students from 44 unions who have been awarded a total of $150,000 in scholarships from the Union Plus Scholarship program. Each of the more than 5,600 applications were required to demonstrate academic ability, and to submit essays of no more than 500 words describing their career goals, detailing their relationship with the union movement and explaining why they are deserving of a union scholarship.

Tiger Elizabeth Curran

Tiger Elizabeth Curran

As the daughter of two professional Actors' Equity members who often expressed gratitude for their union, Curran clearly got the message.

"Without Actors' Equity, my parents would not have been able to earn a living wage in their profession," she says. "Honestly, I don't believe we would have been able to afford decent housing, let alone find the means for me to go to college."

After studying American history as a UCLA freshman this year, her eyes were opened to the historic role of unions-especially for factory workers. "Unions have not only provided living wages for millions of Americans, [they] have improved the quality of life and given so many people hope that they can achieve the American Dream," Curran adds. Her broad career goal-and dream-is to "utilize film, media and communication to help make the world a better place." Tiger loves acting, but has not made up her mind about her career.

Kathryn Hathaway

Kathryn Hathaway

Music composition and creative writing are Hathaway's passions and her goal is to combine both for musical theater. "I have known the benefits of unions all my life," Hathaway says. "My mother, as an actress, has experienced firsthand instances [when] the union came to the actor's aid and defense."

Her father once worked in the restaurant business, and Hathaway says that she saw "the protection and benefits given to waiters, most of whom could not survive without them." Today, her father is a National Education Association member, and once again, she has seen the union fighting to "keep benefits up to what they should be."

A "fabulous AP U.S. History class" added to what Hathaway learned in life: "When people work together to achieve a noble goal, anything can be accomplished." In that spirit, she started an Amnesty International chapter at her high school, and she intends to maintain her commitment to "equality, justice and peace for all." This fall, Kathryn is entering Barnard College.

All Equity members (as well as their spouses and dependent children) are eligible to apply for scholarships. "It's a way for working families to benefit twice," says Leslie Tolf, President of Union Privilege, the AFL-CIO-founded organization that offers Union Plus benefits. "First, they get the special protections and savings with our credit card and home mortgage programs and great discounts on a wide variety of other goods and services. Then, as icing on the cake, they have access to this program which, since 1992, has awarded more than $2.2 million in scholarships to over 1,500 union families," she adds.

The scholarships are offered through the Union Plus Education Foundation, with funding from HSBC, the issuer of the Union Plus Credit Card. Winners were selected by a panel of education experts affiliated with the American Association of Community Colleges, the American Association of State Colleges and Universities, the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities and the United Negro College Fund.

For more information about Union Plus Scholarships, visit:

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