The catalyst for the start of the Nissan Foundation in 1992 was a crisis: three weeks of violent civil unrest that occurred near the headquarters for Nissan’s U.S. sales operations in Southern California. The Foundation was created to support solutions to conflicts and foster greater understanding among people from different racial or ethnic backgrounds.
The original mission is still necessary and relevant today.
"The Nissan Foundation provides financial support to nonprofits that are working hard to break down barriers among people who have dissimilar backgrounds," said Scott Becker, Chairman of the Nissan Foundation. “We look for partners who respect and promote the benefits that come from living and working together in a diverse society.”
In the 2015 grant year, the Nissan Foundation reviewed 87 proposals from nonprofit organizations located in Southern California, North Central Texas, Middle Tennessee, Central Mississippi, Eastern Michigan, and the New York and Atlanta Metro areas. From that number, the Foundation awarded $730,000 to 30 nonprofits.
Examples of grants awarded include:
$10,000 to the Mixteco/Indigena Community Organizing Project in Oxnard, Calif., to support the Tequio Speaker Series, which shares stories about the indigenous immigrant farmworker experience;
$15,000 to The Community House in Birmingham, Mich., to fund its Race Relations and Diversity Task Force;
$30,000 to the Tennessee Immigrant and Refugee Rights Coalition to support programs focused on the need for constructive dialogue on immigration topics; and
$10,000 to One To World’s Global Classroom program, which brings the people, countries, culture and important issues of the world to life for K-12 students.
“We thank the Nissan Foundation for its support,” said Deborah Clifford, Executive Director of One To World. “This is global education for those who lack opportunities to travel the world themselves, and it is vital for students in a 21st century that demands knowledge and understanding of the broader world in order to succeed in school, careers and life.”
Valuing diversity is important to Nissan, which has the most diverse consumer base of any automaker: 38% of Nissan’s U.S. customers are ethnically diverse.
The Nissan Foundation is now accepting Letters of Intent (LOI) for nonprofits seeking funding during its 2016 grant cycle. LOIs must be submitted before the close of business on Friday, Nov. 20, 2015. Projects should demonstrate creative, replicable solutions and establish clear methodology for measuring results. To be eligible to apply, the nonprofit must have been in existence for more than three years.
The next Nissan Foundation grants will be awarded in July 2016. The Foundation application process is conducted electronically to eliminate paper waste and align with Nissan’s global mission to support a greener environment.
To date, the Nissan Foundation has contributed more than $8 million to nonprofit organizations in the U.S.
2015 Nissan Foundation recipients
Following is the complete list of the 2015 Nissan Foundation grants and the projects that were awarded:
Autry National Center of the American West, $15,000, “Native Voices at the Autry”
Bayside Community Center, $10,000, “Celebrating Diversity: Approaching Families through Food, Music and Film”
Japanese American National Museum, $30,000, “School Visits Program”
Los Angeles Opera, $15,000, “Voices for Tolerance”
Mixteco/Indigena Community Organizing Project, $10,000, “Tequio Speaker Series”
San Diego Children’s Discovery Museum, $20,000, “Escondido Roots Series”
San Diego Museum of Man, $15,000, “Tower After Hours” featuring China, Brazil, Germany, Iran, Mexico and Korea
USC Pacific Asia Museum, $15,000, “School Tour Program”
Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Atlanta, $10,000, “Refugee Camp Immersion Project”
Fernbank Inc., $10,000, “Winter Wonderland: Celebrations and Traditions Around the World”
The Community House, $15,000, “Race Relations and Diversity Task Force”
U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants, Inc., $25,000, “Neighbor-to-Neighbor Project”
International Museum of Muslim Cultures, $20,000, “Bridging Cultures: A New Narrative for a New Future of Race Relations”
Jackson 2000 Inc., $25,000, “Dialogue Circles Program” and “Everyday Democracy”
Jobs for Mississippi Graduates, $50,000, “Economic Empowerment and Cultural Diversity”
Amigos del Museo del Barrio, $20,000, “Super Sabado and Cultural Celebrations”
Brooklyn Historical Society, $15,000, “Crossing Borders, Bridging Generations”
Jewish Children’s Museum, $25,000, “Public School Initiative”
One To World Inc., $10,000, “Global Classroom”
Tanenbaum Center for Interreligious Understanding, $30,000, “World Olympics for All”
Children’s Museum Corporation of Rutherford County, $55,000, “Kids First”
Frist Center for the Visual Arts, $25,000, “Ink, Silk and Gold: Islamic Art from the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston”
Global Education Center, $25,000, “Passport to Understanding”
Humanities Tennessee, $15,000, “The Conversations Bureau”
Nashville Public Television, $70,000, “Next Door Neighbors 2015-2016” profiles on Nashville’s immigrant communities
Oasis Center, $50,000, “Building Bridges” anti-discrimination programs for teens
STARS, $15,000, “Reducing Prejudice and Increasing Cultural Sensitivity”
Tennessee Immigrant & Refugee Rights Coalition, $30,000, “Welcoming Tennessee Initiative”
International Museum of Cultures, $35,000, “International Discovery Boxes”
National Multicultural Western Heritage Museum, $25,000, “Cultural Heritage Youth Workshops and School Assembly Project”