When asking people to share memories about Nate Black, one thing becomes clear — he was the kind of guy you wanted to be friends with. Friendly, driven and enthusiastic, Black integrated into the Western community almost immediately.
When Black passed away unexpectedly in 2015, the community that he had touched throughout his life was shattered.
Roughly a year after his passing, at the beginning of 2016, several friends from his days as an undergrad took it upon themselves to start a fund in his honour.
The idea was simple, to set up a donation fund in Black’s name that would provide scholarships for financially in-need students who showcased exemplary qualities — similar to Black himself.
According to The Nate Black Foundation’s webpage, all proceeds will go to providing “the next generation of high achievers with an opportunity to have financial security in the pursuit of their dreams.”
Mike Landell was an old friend of Black, and is also one of the co-founders of the Nate Black Foundation.
“We want to grow the fund. Obviously we’re in our humble beginning stages right now but we want it to be a recurring scholarship that allows people to get degrees at Western,” Landell said. “We also want it to have an aspect of mentorship to help people kind of transition out of education and into the professional world.”
According to Eric Tribe, another co-founder of the foundation, specificities of the qualities that the receiver of the fund should have are yet to be worked out.
As an undergrad, Black was also a member of the Western fraternity Delta Upsilon (DU).
Ryan McCuaig, Western Ontario Chapter’s president, spoke about the impact Black had on him, being an alumni of DU.
“Often you find people who, at least in the fraternity, had the capabilities but not the right platforms with which to showcase some of their skills because they didn’t have the right mentors to put them there,” McCuaig said. “[Black] was very passionate about bringing them there and he mentored a lot of us. I’m working in New York this summer for RBC and [Black] really pushed me to reach a lot of the things that I was trying to aspire to do.”
With the creation of the Nate Black Foundation, DU is now hosting fundraising events in his name. They have also been fundraising for Right to Play, a non-profit that focuses on providing all children the opportunity to play organized sports that Nate was also very passionate about.
Malcom Aboud is another co-founder of the Nate Black Foundation.
“One of the things I remember most about [Black] is the way he sort of had this special way of bringing people together,” Aboud said. “It’s nice to be able to find something which would be a good memory for him and to bring something good out of what was tragic and hurt a lot of of us.”
The foundation’s webpage is available here with details on progress and donations.