Smithsonian Announces $1 Million Gift From the Otto Bremer Trust To Support Community Engagement Project on Implicit Bias

January 9, 2020
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"The Bias Inside Us"

The Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service (SITES) has announced a $1 million gift by the Otto Bremer Trust (OBT) in support of the development and national tour of a community- engagement project that will raise awareness about the science and history of implicit bias and what people can do about it. The project, “The Bias Inside Us,” will travel to communities around the country on a four-year, 40-city tour beginning June 20 at the Science Museum of Minnesota in St. Paul.

“The Otto Bremer Trust’s support of ‘The Bias Inside Us’ makes it possible for us to convene conversations that will increase empathy so participants can create more inclusive schools, communities and workplaces,” said Myriam Springuel, director of SITES and Smithsonian Affiliations. “Our goal is to help individuals understand and counter their implicit bias and build stronger communities through conversation and greater understanding.”

“The Bias Inside Us” features a traveling exhibition that serves as the centerpiece for local programs and activities that will consider the science of implicit bias, how biases affect an individual’s behavior and how they can have unwanted social effects when left unchecked. The project is grounded in decades of research that has proven that bias is inside everyone. It is part of being human. The project will explain the nature and consequences of bias and teach how to challenge bias in the world through awareness of one’s own bias.

“We’re committed to supporting this critical initiative about bias and race,” said Daniel Reardon, co-CEO and trustee of OBT. “We believe that the Smithsonian Institution and the passionate Minnesota co-founders of this work are bringing to the forefront issues that must be addressed if we are to achieve a more equitable and just society. We are proud that this exhibit will kick-off in St. Paul—OBT’s home and Minnesota’s capital city—this summer, and then continue across the country over the next four years.”   

“The Bias Inside Us” is based on an original concept developed by Tolerance in Motion: Steve Lear, Laura Zelle and Elyse Rabinowitz, founders; Ellen Glatstein, Joanne Jones-Rizzi, Laura Lipshutz, Alice Randall and Susan Shapiro, directors; Don Shelby, founding advisor; and the Jewish Community Relations Council of Minnesota and the Dakotas, Steve Hunegs, executive director.

About the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service (SITES)

SITES has been sharing the wealth of Smithsonian collections and research programs with millions of people outside Washington, D.C., for more than 65 years. SITES connects Americans to their shared cultural heritage through a wide range of exhibitions about art, science and history, which are shown wherever people live, work and play. For exhibition description and tour schedules, visit sites.si.edu.

About the Otto Bremer Trust (OBT)

The Otto Bremer Trust is a bank holding company and a private charitable trust based in Saint Paul, Minnesota, that works at the intersection of finance and philanthropy. Created in 1944 by Otto Bremer, it is today one of the region’s largest philanthropic organizations and is committed to supporting a better quality of life for residents of Minnesota, Montana, North Dakota and Wisconsin. OBT is the 86% owner of Bremer Financial Corporation, a regional financial services company, and manages a diversified investment portfolio. Since its founding, OBT has invested more than $750 million in people, places and opportunities in the Upper Midwest.

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SI-9-2020