The National Institute of Community Enlightenment (N.I.C.E.) was founded in 2000 by local community leader and visionary James Davis II. N.I.C.E. is a young organization embracing a holistic approach towards rebuilding communities. Strongly based in the principles established by Nobel Prize winner Dr. Muhammad Yunus, N.I.C.E. has made great strives within its young existence under the leadership of Mr. Davis.
The business model of the organization was formed in September 1999 when Mr. Davis made a visit to a frozen and refrigerated food manufacturing company located in the heart of inner city Minneapolis. It was here that Mr. Davis formed his vision for N.I.C.E. as he witnessed the successful fusion of a community development corporation, a Fortune 500 Company, an African-American entrepreneur, and a financial institution. From his experiences at this site, Mr. Davis saw the potential in bringing this successful business model, concepts of social responsibility and venture philanthropy to the communities in the greater Los Angeles area.
N.I.C.E. was soon thereafter formally declared a non-for profit organization by the United States Internal Revenue Service. In June 2000, Mr. Davis, along with a newly formed Board of Directors, guided the young organization through its infancy stage. However, this stage was short lived because the leaders of the organization quickly directed their efforts towards immersing N.I.C.E. in a broad array of activities. During the first three years of its existence, N.I.C.E. engaged in extensive research and developmental work on the Cultural and Arts Network (CAN) project. For this project, N.I.C.E. poured its resources into sponsoring activities that would integrate local educational programs with social entrepreneurship.
N.I.C.E. went on to establish projects of its own that fused local community leaders and businessmen with social entrepreneurship. Through projects such as the Multifaceted Food Complex, N.I.C.E. has continuously put its mission and virtues into practice within the local community. With its programs resonating community progress and enlightenment, it was no surprise that when Hurricane Katrina struck and devastated New Orleans, N.I.C.E. focused its efforts in Louisiana.
Today, N.I.C.E. continues to play a vital role within its community. Mr. Davis stresses that as the organization moves into a new age of advanced technology and media, it must focus on embracing these developments. To accommodate today’s environment, N.I.C.E. is placing great importance on implementing the Social Business Initiative Fund, which was created by Nobel Prize recipient Dr. Muhammad Yunus. This focus aims to provide a bridge for the quickly growing gap between the social classes. While lower income communities continue to struggle and lack in resources, N.I.C.E. will focus on partnering the ample resources of the corporate world with local businesses by means of the social business initiative fund.