The Nissan Foundation

Funds will be used to expand Library’s civil rights program

The Nissan Foundation has named the Nashville Public Library Foundation (NPLF) as the recipient of a $50,000 grant. The grant will be used to expand the Library’s Civil Rights and a Civil Society: Critical Dialogues in Equity, Race, and Identity program.

“The Civil Rights Room and its programs are an invaluable educational resource for the Nashville community,” said Shawn Bakker, president of NPLF.  “We thank the Nissan Foundation for their support of this important program that is leading to productive and meaningful change in the way we talk about complex societal issues.”

What began three years ago in the wake of increased national media attention on historically contentious interactions between law enforcement and African American citizens, Civil Rights and a Civil Society: Critical Dialogues in Equity, Race, and Identity is today an award-winning, nationally recognized experience for anyone willing to examine racism and bias from a historical and contemporary lens.   The library’s unique civil rights collection and contemporary social commentary is used for cultural exploration that confronts stereotypes and incites introspection.

To date, 6,598 individuals have taken part in the course. The $50,000 grant from the Nissan Foundation will be used to expand and replicate the program to reach larger audiences and more locations, in Nashville and across the country.

“It is a privilege to recognize the Nashville Public Library Foundation with a Nissan Foundation grant for the work it is doing to promote the value of racial, ethnic and cultural diversity,” said Nissan Foundation President Scott Becker, who is also senior vice president, Administration, Nissan North America, Inc. “The Nissan Foundation has a proud history of recognizing and supporting organizations making a real impact in this regard.”

In 1992, Nissan North America formed the Nissan Foundation in response to the civil unrest that occurred near Nissan’s then U.S. headquarters in Southern California following the Rodney King trial verdict. Every year since, the Nissan Foundation has awarded hundreds of thousands of dollars to organizations that offer educational programs that inform, inspire and celebrate diversity among the various cultural and ethnic groups that make up society.

Over its 26-year history, the Nissan Foundation has awarded more than $10 million to approximately 120 organizations promoting respect and understanding among cultural and ethnic groups. 2018 grantees include 29 nonprofit organizations located in Southern California, North Central Texas, Middle Tennessee, Central Mississippi, Eastern Michigan and the New York and Atlanta metro areas. In total, the Nissan Foundation is awarding grants amounting to $730,000.

For information on The Civil Rights Room, visit