New partnership supports access to opportunities for Black students at UBC and beyond
Black Opportunity Fund and the University of British Columbia have announced a new partnership to empower Black Canadian students to achieve their educational goals and career aspirations.
The partnership supports the development of a comprehensive program that will provide access to a range of opportunities for Black students at UBC, from awards to mentorship, internships, leadership conferences and networking opportunities while on campus. Through the participation of the supporters of Black Opportunity Fund (BOF), students will also have access to opportunities for collaboration, leadership, and the exchange of ideas, both within the program and as they transition into life after university.
Black Opportunity Fund is a partnership between the Black community, businesses, philanthropists, government, and foundations, with a mission of raising and mobilizing a permanent pool of capital to serve and empower the Black community. The organization’s goal is to raise $1.5 billion over 10 years to support initiatives that will help address the systemic injustices faced by Canada’s Black communities.
“In celebration of our first anniversary, Black Opportunity Fund is excited to be working with UBC as our first university partner to help advance our mission of combating the impact of systemic discrimination and anti-Black racism, and to promote social and economic empowerment across Canada,” says Black Opportunity Fund Executive Director Craig Wellington. “Partnerships like this are exactly what is needed to make meaningful and lasting change for Black students and Black communities across Canada.”
“We look forward to working closely with UBC to empower Black students to achieve their educational and career goals,” says Black Opportunity Fund Co-Founder and Chair of the Board Ray Williams. “This partnership will open countless doors for the next generation of Black leaders in Canada.”
By working together, Black Opportunity Fund and UBC hope to build a framework that can be adopted by other universities that wish to build similar programs.
“UBC is honoured to be working with Black Opportunity Fund to help give Black students access to a life-changing education,” says UBC President and Vice-Chancellor Santa J. Ono. “As an institution, we recognize the urgent need to take meaningful steps toward addressing the barriers that Black students often face in accessing a university education, persevering in their area of study, and then launching their careers.”
“As VP Students, my commitment has always been to discover where our current systems produce barriers so that we can dismantle these hurdles in order to better serve our students,” says Vice-President, Students, Ainsley Carry, who also serves as UBC’s co-executive lead for anti-racism. “I am optimistic that partnerships like this will move the needle on important racial diversity and anti-racism initiatives at UBC and help Black students to reach their full potential.”
To mark the launch of the program, Black Opportunity Fund is establishing two full-ride awards for Black students to attend UBC. As part of the partnership, BOF will also promote giving opportunities through its fundraising efforts to support additional student awards and other program needs at UBC.
This fall, UBC is launching the Beyond Tomorrow Scholars Program—a first of its kind program in Canada—to provide comprehensive wrap-around support and programming as a pathway to success for Black Canadian students. The program was developed in recognition of the importance of providing access, embedded institutional support, and a community for scholars on both the UBC Vancouver and Okanagan campuses. Students will access support and programming in five key areas: academic and career, leadership, community and belonging, financial, and health and wellbeing. Phase 1 aims to support more than 100 Black students, with the potential for further growth as funds are secured and the program develops.
“Through the Beyond Tomorrow Scholars Program, and with partners like Black Opportunity Fund, UBC will create a post-secondary destination for Black students in Canada,” adds President Ono. “This is a call to action—we invite others across the country to join us in supporting the next generation of Black leaders.”
About Black Opportunity Fund
Formally established in June 2020, Black Opportunity Fund was founded and is led by a team of diverse Black Canadians across multiple provinces and with broad expertise. Black Opportunity Fund is dedicated to understanding the needs of the Black Canadian community and is uniquely positioned to bring together a broad range of stakeholders to dismantle barriers created by systemic racism. Black Opportunity Fund is a unique and dynamic partnership between the Black community, businesses, philanthropists, government, and foundations, with a mission of raising and mobilizing a permanent pool of capital to serve and empower the Black community. The goal of Black Opportunity Fund is to build a $1.5 billion fund over 10 years to support initiatives that will help address the systemic injustices faced by Canada’s Black Community. Black Opportunity Fund is supported by a diverse group of Black community members and supporters across the country, from British Columbia to the eastern shores of the Maritimes. Black Opportunity Fund believes that Canada is ready for a transformative approach – where Black Canadians are empowered to lead systemic change for ourselves and our country.
The University of British Columbia is a global centre for research and teaching, consistently ranked among the top 20 public universities in the world. Since 1915, UBC’s entrepreneurial spirit has embraced innovation and challenged the status quo. UBC encourages its students, staff and faculty to challenge convention, lead discovery and explore new ways of learning. At UBC, bold thinking is given a place to develop into ideas that can change the world.
Interview language(s): English