Monday, October 21, 2013

Scholarship opportunity: Nisei Student Relocation Commemorative Fund

Since 1980, the Nisei Student Relocation Commemorative Fund has been committed to providing scholarships for Southeast Asian students of good character and scholarship. The unique thing about this scholarship is that it is only available in one state at a time, changing states each year. I served on the review committee when it was in Minnesota in 2007. In 2014, it will be coming to North Carolina.

The last time it was in North Carolina was 1999. So, I'd strongly encourage all of our community members to be proactive in getting their senior high school students ready to apply for this program. Please send them to:

As a quick overview: The Nisei Student Relocation Commemorative Fund (NSRCF) is a non-profit foundation that annually awards scholarships to students from underserved Southeast Asian communities pursuing higher education. It was established by second generation Japanese Americans, Nisei, in gratitude to the National Japanese American Student Relocation Council. The Council made it possible for the Nisei to leave the World War II internment camps for colleges and universities across the United States.

The NSRCF encourages inter-ethnic collaboration and promotes public awareness and understanding of the forced removal and unjust imprisonment of 120,000 persons of Japanese ancestry during World War II.

This is particularly necessary for the children of Southeast Asian refugees who have faced significant education disparities including lack of access and a lack of scholastic precedent in their families. Many of the recipients are the first in their families to attend college. Considering that almost 30% to 40% of many Southeast Asian families are still living beneath the federal poverty level, support from scholarships like this are vital to help our communities escape multigenerational cycles of poverty.

Over the years they have been to the following states:

1982 Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
1983 San Francisco Bay Region, California
1984 New England
1985 Chicago, Illinois
1986 Los Angeles, California
1987 Minneapolis/St. Paul, Minnesota
1988 Houston, Texas
1989 Denver, Colorado
1990 Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
1991 Seattle, Washington
1992 Southern New England
1993 Stockton, California Area
1994 Sacramento Valley Area, California
1995 Fresno Area, California
1996 New York City, New York
1997 San Diego, California
1998 Madison, Wisconsin
1999 Hickory, North Carolina
2000 Massachusetts
2001 Merced, California
2002 Atlanta, Georgia, Merced, California #2
2003 Portland, Oregon
2004 Portland, Oregon #2, East Lansing, Michigan
2005 Denver, Colorado
2006 Gulf Region
2007 Minnesota
2008 Phoenix, Arizona
2009 Long Beach, California
2010 Washington, D.C./Maryland/Northern Virginia Area
2011 Seattle, Washington
2012 Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Area
2013 Houston, Texas

It's a rare and exceptional opportunity. But I also hope, as we approach our 40th anniversary in the US that it will not be too long before Southeast Asian Americans pay it forward, and we see a new generation of philanthropists emerge who provide scholarships for other new Americans who are just beginning their long journey intertwined with the great American tapestry.

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