The Nisei Student Relocation Commemorative Fund (NSRCF) is a non-profit, charitable organization founded in New England that annually awards scholarships to students from underserved communities pursuing higher education. The NSRCF was established in 1980 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.
In 1980, nearly 40 years after the wartime incarceration of the West Coast Japanese, a small group of New England Nisei established the Nisei Student Relocation Commemorative Fund (NSRCF). The Nisei (second-generation, American-born descendants of Japanese immigrants) created the NSRCF to pay tribute to the National Japanese American Student Relocation Council (NJASRC), an organization of religious groups and educators that had helped the Nisei students leave the camps to continue their college educations during the difficult war years.
The goals of the founders of the NSRCF were two-fold. They wanted to pay tribute to the NJASRC and the generosity of the people who reached across race differences and wartime hatred to offer a helping hand. And, as written in their Mission Statement, they wanted to "promote public awareness and understanding of the forced removal and internment of 120,000 persons of Japanese ancestry during World War II."
As of 2018, the NSRCF has awarded just over $1 Million Dollars to nearly 1,000 deserving students. The board of directors is committed to maximizing the funds available for scholarships, therefore administrative operations are handled by volunteers. Only 8% of donations are used for operating costs and expenses and the remaining 92% of all donations go directly into the endowment, the interest from which the annual scholarships are funded.
The unique story of the Nisei Student Relocation Commemorative Fund is made up of many complex components and intriguing elements. Its history ties the Japanese American students during World War II and their internment and subsequent college experience, to the war in Vietnam, the so-called "Boat People," refugee camps, and the young refugees and immigrants coming to America seeking a better life. The NSRCF founders believe that whether the recipient was in an internment camp in America or a refugee camp in Thailand, each should have the opportunity to go to college. By not wavering from that original goal, the Nisei founders have guided the Fund's growth and have watched their dream prosper a thousand-fold. Their vision is testament to their commitment, energy, and determination, and serves as both inspiration and model for future generations.