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Ed Plaut Jr. Scholarship Honors a Family Legend

Tahoe Truckee Community Foundation
Published on February 26, 2020

It’s scholarship season! In the last ten years, TTCF and our donors have awarded over $1 million to local graduating high school seniors as they pursue their dreams. A scholarship is so much more than money. Scholarships show students that someone believes in them and their dreams. This is the story of one family who learned the value of encouragement from their grandfather Ed Plaut Jr. 

Ed Plaut was born in New York, March 23, 1923. He attended The Lawrenceville School in Princeton, N.J. and spent one year at Yale before entering the Navy where he was stationed in Alaska. It was around this time he met a well-known biographer, Ralph G. Martin. Together they wrote “Front Runner, Dark Horse;” a politically popular book about the 1960 race for the Democratic presidential nomination between Massachusetts Senator John F. Kennedy and Senator Stuart Symington of Missouri.

He also worked on oral histories of former members of the Kennedy administration for the John F. Kennedy Memorial Library in Boston. He had a brief career in television and print advertising and transferred this knowledge towards his interest in a career as a political and campaign advisor. Plaut was a freelance reporter and political adviser. He traveled with many political figures and advised them on their campaigns. Among the most prominent were Adlai Stevenson, when he ran for the 1960 Democratic presidential nomination, and Connecticut Gov. Abraham Ribicoff, who also served as Connecticut’s Democratic senator and in the Kennedy administration.

Ed Plaut was a humanitarian and philanthropist, generous almost to the point of his own detriment. He loved all animals, history, politics and would read and collect books on these topics with incredible passion. He remained vigorous and developed an interest in West Indian culture and politics devoting a tremendous amount of time working towards the development of a non-profit organization to improve the economy, education, and agribusiness on the small island of Carriacou off the coast of Granada.

Ed encouraged his children and grandchildren to travel and be adventurous in their pursuits. Many stories can be shared about family trips with Ed where his inquisitive nature got him into a predicament.

His granddaughter Kellie Cutler is a Truckee resident and was hugely inspired by Ed’s philanthropic pursuits.  According to Kellie, “Ed encouraged me to pursue a life in the western US and a career in the arts.” For this reason, Kellie Cutler and husband Jeff along with Ed’s son Gordon Plaut, daughter Shelley Prisco and granddaughter Keryn Elizabeth O’Donnell opened the Tahoe Truckee Community Foundation Ed Plaut Jr. Arts and Humanities Scholarship Fund.

The Ed Plaut Jr. Art & Humanities Scholarship is a one year $1,000 scholarship available to a Truckee or North Tahoe High School student pursuing studies in the Arts and/or Humanities fields. The intent is to inspire a graduating senior in the pursuit of their field of interest that they are passionate about and may not have the support to otherwise follow.

Do you want to support the dreams of local youth? Do you have a person you want to honor through a scholarship fund? We can help! Contact Phyllis McConn, Community Impact Officer, at or (530) 587-1776.