Nathanael Robert Fund

Est. 2009 by Clare & Patrick Robert.

Nathanael Robert at age 10 with one of his camp counselors.

Nathanael Robert loved life to the fullest of his abilities. Every day.

It could have been because he lived with a brain tumor, that, despite five surgeries, ultimately claimed his young life. But people who knew and loved him, knew that that was just Nathanael's spirit.

He enjoyed many things. A deep connection with God and nature. Relishing the taste of strawberries. Speaking French. Playing games like Scrabble and Mastermind. And delighting in the comedic genius of Seinfeld.

Ensuring Nathanael had many activities and opportunities "was easy for us to do because he was responding with love," says his father, Patrick. But, "he really had two true loves," says his mother, Clare. "Jazz and poetry." Nathanael was a gifted musician, who learned to play the piano at an early age and later took up the flute and saxophone.

Jim Fryer, Nathanael's teacher at Neighborhood Music School, recalls that "Nathanael not only loved music, he was endlessly fascinated by the ideas and concepts behind the music, and how structure and philosophy played out in the notes."

After Nathanael passed away, his parents chose to create a donor advised fund at The Community Foundation to honor his life, "because a donor advised fund is more flexible than a trust or family foundation."

Since its creation in 2009, the Nathanael Robert Fund has distributed thousands of dollars in grants to organizations, "that reflect Nathanael's spirit. Places where he was, or had a strong connection, or organizations related to music and young kids," says Clare.

Funding has supported The Hole in the Wall Gang Camp that Nathanael once attended, the Great Connecticut Traditional Jazz Festival and the jazz in worship services at the Episcopal Church of St. Paul and St. James in New Haven, where he used to volunteer. A grant was also made to St. Martin de Porres Academy to support the Nathanael Robert Music Scholarship established by his parents at that school.

"Nathanael was a very easy person to get along with. Naturally very social and interested in what people were doing. He was a very sweet boy," says Clare. "I want Nathanael to be remembered through the funding of poetry and music. We want his spirit to be captured. To let the music continue."

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Nathanael V. Robert Fund