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Over the last fifteen years, the Black Family and the Black Family Foundation have supported hundreds of students through a variety of scholarships.

Penn State University, The Behrend College
A $20 million gift given to Penn State Erie by Samuel P. Black Jr. and his wife, Irene, is an endowment that continues to support the Sam and Irene Black School of Business at Penn State Erie in perpetuity. Working with the family, the University developed endowments in three different categories:

The Black Family Faculty Fund
The Black Family Student Fund
The Black Family Excellence and Opportunity Fund

Mercyhurst University
Since 2003, the Black Family Scholarship Fund, established through Mercyhurst University, has been providing assistance to traditional full-time students in the School of the Arts at Mercyhurst University. Established in 2002 by Samuel P. “Pat” Black III in honor of his family; father, Samuel “Sam” P. Black, Jr., mother Irene Black and his sister, Elizabeth Lee Black.


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Samuel P. “Pat” Black III is founder and president of the Blackstone Ranch Institute. Located in Taos, New Mexico, the Blackstone Ranch Institute provides targeted seed money to catalyze social innovation in urban environmental sustainability, global carbon offset market growth, sustainable business practices, and the development of renewable energies and green employment.

In addition, the group has funded the following organizations across the nation:

• Ag Innovations
• Earth Council Foundation
• EcoDistricts
• GlobalHouse
• Global Philanthropy Partnership
• Institute for Sustainable Communities
• National Geographic Society
• Rocky Mountain Institute
• Women’s Earth and Climate Caucus
• World Green Building Council
• World Resources Institute


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The Black Family Foundation works to address a variety of demographic, socioeconomic and geographic barriers standing in the way of entrepreneurs. To date, the Foundation has funded the following organizations in an effort to break down barriers to help entrepreneurs become most successful:

• Innovation Collaborative
• Biomimicry 3.8 Institute
• Economic Research Institute of Erie
• Ice House Facilitator Certification Training
• Regional Center for Workforce Excellence
• Competitive Enterprise Institute
• Foundation for Free Enterprise Education


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The Black Family Foundation works to support non-profit organizations that educate and empower residents to strengthen themselves and their communities. Over the last several years, several grants have been provided to area organizations to support the pursuits of these efforts. Some of these organizations include:

  • Wellsville
  • The Barber National Institute – creation of the Elizabeth Lee Black School
  • Family Services of NWPA
  • Girl Scouts of Western Pennsylvania
  • Junior Achievement of NWPA
  • Stairways Behavioral Health
  • Martin’s Center