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The John J. Nelson Sr. Legacy Scholarship Fund was created to support and nurture African American interior design and architecture students while promoting diversity and access in education. Nelson is a known champion of design education, diversity, and unfettered access to education. This scholarship was established by Nelson in partnership with the IIDA Foundation in 2019.

In 2023, up to two recipients will be eligible to receive up to $10,000 each in scholarship funds. The scholarship fund is administered through the IIDA Foundation. The IIDA Foundation values Nelson’s history of advocating to increase diversity in design and architecture by championing students of all backgrounds.

"Furthering education and broadening opportunities for students of African America Descent is an important and personal commitment of mine. I am proud to partner with the IIDA Foundation to uplift and encourage the next generation of design and architecture professionals through this annual scholarship"
-John J. Nelson Sr., IIDA


This scholarship award is open to undergraduate students of African American descent who are currently enrolled in a U.S. not-for-profit CIDA- or NASAD-accredited interior design or NAAB-accredited architecture program.


Students must submit a 3-to-5-minute video articulating how the power of design has already impacted their life, and how they will proactively leverage their career in design to positively impact their future clients and community.

Open Date: Tuesday, August 1, 2023
Close Date:
Friday, September 29, 2023

2022 John J. Nelson Sr. Legacy Scholarship Fund Recipients

Kambria Lauderdale, Student IIDA, of California State University, Sacramento
Brianna Toussaint, Student IIDA, of School of Visual Arts, New York

Learn more about our 2022 scholarship recipients and view their submission videos here.

2021 John J. Nelson Sr. Legacy Scholarship Fund Recipients

Katrina Alvarez, Student IIDA, of New York Institute of Technology
Rai Savage, Student IIDA, of Maryville University

Learn more about our 2021 scholarship recipients and view their submission videos here.