NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The Nissan Foundation today announced it is awarding $680,000 in grants to 27 nonprofit organizations for its 2020 grant cycle. The nonprofit recipients are located in Southern California, Tennessee, Central Mississippi, Eastern Michigan and the New York and Atlanta metro areas – all areas where Nissan has an operational presence.
Over its 28-year history, the Nissan Foundation has awarded more than $12 million to approximately 150 organizations that offer educational programs that inform, inspire and celebrate diversity among the various racial, ethnic and cultural groups that make up society.
“The Nissan Foundation’s singular focus from day one has been to stimulate dialogue around race relations and cultural diversity and to support organizations celebrating our differences while reminding us of our similarities,” said Nissan Foundation President Travis Parman. “Our 2020 grantees have been engaging in this important, difficult, and often uncomfortable, work for many years. It’s our honor and privilege to recognize and amplify their efforts.”
The mission of the Nissan Foundation – to build community by valuing culture diversity – is as relevant today as it was in 1992, when it was founded. Formed in response to the civil unrest that occurred near Nissan North America’s then U.S. sales operations in Southern California following the Rodney King trial verdict, the Nissan Foundation has annually awarded hundreds of thousands of dollars to nonprofit organizations that support the Foundation’s mission.
“Despite the limitations of stay-at-home orders resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic, our 2020 grantees have found creative ways to continue their important work,” said Parul Bajaj, Executive Director of the Nissan Foundation. “Many of them have taken their programs virtual with great success by providing multimedia resources to educate community members during a watershed moment in our history.”
The Tanenbaum Center for Interreligious Studies is one such example. It moved its program, Building Community by Promoting the Value of Diversity in Schools, entirely online in early March. The program works with schools and educators on how to address stereotypes and approach differences with open-mindedness and a spirit of respectful curiosity. Over the years, more than 600 educators serving more than 43,000 students across not only the United States, but also South Africa, Canada and the Netherlands, have accessed this training.
Among the other 2020 Nissan Foundation grantees is the Nashville Public Library Foundation whose Civil Rights and a Civil Society program is a four-time Nissan Foundation grantee. Leveraging the library’s rich Civil Rights Collection and programming, program facilitators invite community organizations to learn about past injustices to better serve the diverse public they encounter in their work every day. Offered from the library’s Civil Rights Room, which overlooks the Nashville intersection where nonviolent protests against segregated lunch counters took place, the space also contains a symbolic lunch counter and many photos related to Nashville’s Civil Rights Movement.
“The Nissan Foundation has long admired this program where participants gather to discuss race relations and community dynamics with the goal of fostering empathy,” Bajaj said. “It’s our hope that the Nissan Foundation grant helps the Nashville Public Library Foundation continue evolving the program and bring it to even more audiences.”
Another 2020 grantee is Detroit Public Television, which received funding for its “American Black Journal” (ABJ) and “One Detroit” programs. Since 1968, ABJ has worked to share a truthful and empowering narrative that runs counter to the negative coverage the African American community often receives. Through interviews, round-table discussions, field-produced features and artistic performances featuring African Americans, the show has provided context for key debates and discussions surrounding African American history, culture and politics. The Nissan Foundation grant will help DPTV produce 45 new ABJ episodes. It will also allow DPTV to host four community conversations on neighborhood issues to feed into its One Detroit program.
2020 Grant Recipients
Autry Museum of the American West, “Native Voices Theater Company and American Indian Arts Marketplace” ($15,000)
Japanese American National Museum, “School Visits Program and Family Festivals” ($30,000)
San Diego Children’s Discovery Museum, “Roots Series: Cultural Events, Educational Programs, and Exhibits for Children” ($10,000)
San Diego Museum of Man, “Challenging Conversations to Support Community Change” ($15,000)
Atlanta Historical Society, Inc., “Juneteenth 2021 Family Program and Free Admission Weekend,” ($25,000)
Catholic Charities Atlanta, “Refugee Education and Engagement Project” ($10,000)
Fernbank Museum of Natural History, “Winter Wonderland: Celebrations and Traditions Around the World” ($25,000)
Arab American National Museum (An Institution of ACCESS), “AANM Public Programming Series 2020-2021” ($10,000)
Detroit Educational Television Foundation, “Inclusive Media, Essential Journalism” ($30,000)
Holocaust Memorial Center Zekelman Family Campus, “Using Holocaust Literature to Combat Hate and Provide Cross-Cultural Understanding” ($20,000)
The Community House, “The Community House’s Diversity & Inclusion series” ($10,000)
The Interfaith Leadership Council of Metro Detroit, “Journeys in Religious Diversity: A Program Proven to Improve Faith-Based Relationships through Education” ($10,000)
Cleveland Music Foundation d/b/a GRAMMY Museum Mississippi, “Right to Write: Music’s Journey to Freedom” ($25,000)
Jobs for Mississippi Graduates, “A.C.E. in the Workplace” – ($25,000)
Brooklyn Historical Society, “Muslims in Brooklyn-2020” ($10,000)
Jewish Children’s Museum, “Public School Initiative” ($25,000)
The Jewish Museum, “Movies That Matter” ($25,000)
One To World, “Global Classroom: Intercultural Education and Exchange for NYC Youth” ($20,000)
Tanenbaum Center for Interreligious Understanding, “Building Community by Promoting the Value of Diversity at Schools” ($30,000)
Discovery Center, “Kids First” ($60,000)
Global Education Center, “Passport to Understanding” ($25,000)
Nashville Public Library Foundation, “Civil Rights and a Civil Society: Critical Dialogues in Equity, Race, and Identity” ($50,000)
Nashville Public Television, “Next Door Neighbors: 2020-2021” ($75,000)
Native American Indian Association of Tennessee, “39th Annual Native American Indian Education Pow-Wow and Arts Exhibition” ($15,000)
Oasis Center, Inc., “Oasis Center’s Building Bridges” ($50,000)
Stars Nashville, “Understanding Bullying Prevention Through the Lens of Cultural Competence & Race Equity” ($20,000)
Tennessee Immigrant & Refugee Rights Coalition, “Welcoming Tennessee Initiative” – $15,000
Call for 2021 grant applicants
The Nissan Foundation will begin accepting letters of intent for the 2021 grant cycle in mid-October with a submission deadline of November 16. Applicants must be based in California, Georgia, Michigan, Mississippi, New York, Tennessee, or Texas.
“We encourage nonprofits that are currently developing, exhibiting or facilitating programming aimed at breaking down societal barriers and building inclusive communities to apply,” said Bajaj. “We’re eager to recognize new organizations doing the important work to promote a greater appreciation and understanding of America’s diverse cultural heritage.”
Nissan Foundation grants are awarded annually; the next grants will be awarded in June 2021. For more information about the Nissan Foundation and its application process, visit the Nissan Foundation page.
About the Nissan Foundation
Established in 1992, the mission of the Nissan Foundation is to build community through valuing cultural diversity. The Nissan Foundation is part of Nissan North America’s commitment to “enrich people’s lives” by helping to meet the needs of communities throughout the U.S. through philanthropic investments, corporate outreach sponsorships, in-kind donations and other charitable contributions.
About Nissan North America
In North America, Nissan’s operations include automotive styling, engineering, consumer and corporate financing, sales and marketing, distribution and manufacturing. Nissan is dedicated to improving the environment under the Nissan Green Program and has been recognized annually by the U.S Environmental Protection Agency as an ENERGY STAR® Partner of the Year since 2010. More information on Nissan in North America and the complete line of Nissan and INFINITI vehicles can be found online at www.NissanUSA.com and www.infinitiusa.com, or visit the U.S. media sites NissanNews.com and infinitinews.com.
Rod is a blogger, writer, filmmaker, photographer, daydreamer who likes to cook. Rod produces and directs the web series, CUPIC: Diary of an Investigator. He is also the editor, producer and administrator of TNC Network.