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The Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Legacy Award recognizes and affirms those who have made significant and tangible contributions in the areas of race relations, justice, and human rights. The award is presented annually at the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Birthday Celebration to the Monroe County resident, business, or advocacy group selected by the City of Bloomington Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Birthday Celebration Commission.

2018 Winner: Nicole Griffin

Nicole Griffin is one of those people who can easily be overlooked because she is unassuming and goes about her day taking care of business without the need for recognition or accolades. However, there is so much in Bloomington that wouldn’t get done if not for Nicole’s perseverance, creativity, and tenacity.

In addition to her role as loving wife, doting mom, and loyal daughter, Nicole spends her days as director of the Indiana University Visitor’s Center, arranging tours and connecting prospective students, parents and other visitors with information about the campus and the Bloomington community.

Never one to complain, when Nicole realizes a gap, she forges ahead to make things right:

  • Along with Chalmer Thompson, Nicole created and coordinated Summer Heritage Camp – to share African American, Asian, and Latino culture and heritage with children during their summer break. This endeavor helped keep children from minority population attending majority culture schools in touch with their own heritage and gave them a sense of belonging.
  • As a member of the City of Bloomington Black History Month Committee, she helped spearhead an initiative to recognize local women who had gone unnoticed and unsung but had been instrumental in the mentoring and nurturing of others. These women were recognized at two magnificent Legends’ Teas in 2012 and 2014. Additionally, along with her husband Donald, she conceived the Black History Month Living Legends Awards to recognize long time African American Bloomingtonians who have helped shape the campus and community. Nicole and Donald are in their 11th year of sponsoring this recognition.
  • Nicole and Donald pulled together a consortium of donors in order to assure more representation of African American artists in the Eskenazi Museum of Art collections.
  • 2017 Lemonade Day Champion – encouraged and supported young entrepreneurs (5-12) participating in Lemonade Day.
  • Served on the planning committee for the 2017 American Heart Association annual fundraising luncheon.
  • Although she will be coming off the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Birthday Commission this year, she served as chairperson for three years and agreed to stay on to assist current chair Marcus Debro transition into the role.

If this wasn’t enough – Nicole spends much of her time supporting her son Dexter in his academic, musical, and athletic endeavors and, of course, keeping husband Donald on track – which is no small task.

For her kind spirit, grace under pressure, and her willingness to always step in and lend a helping hand, Nicole Griffin was the recipient of the 2018 MLK Legacy Award.

See all past award recipients


  1. The nominee has been personally or corporately involved in making tangible, visible, and meaningful contributions to the advancement of race relations, justice, and/or human rights causes.
  2. The nominee must have been a Monroe County resident, business, or advocacy group for at least one year.

Nomination Process

  1. Anyone can make a nomination.
  2. The Deadline for submitting nominations is December 5, 2018.
  3. Nominations may be made online only. Nominate Here!

Selection Process

  1. The Award Committee reviews all nominations and recommends finalists for the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Birthday Celebration Commission to consider. The Commission makes the final selection. Any member of either the Award Committee or Commission who is nominated for the award must excuse themselves from discussions and voting during the selection process. Likewise, any immediate family members must also excuse themselves from the decision-making process.
  2. The Award Committee shall notify the winner in January and invite the winner to attend the Birthday Celebration.
  3. The Mayor of the City of Bloomington or the Chair of the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Birthday Celebration Commission will present the award at the Birthday Celebration.