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$10 million new gift to Tufts from Steve Tisch
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$10 million new gift to Tufts from Steve Tisch

Steve Tisch, Tufts Class of 1971, a film and television producer and co-owner of the New York Giants, has made a $10 million gift to create the Steve Tisch Family Endowed Scholarship for Arts, Sciences and Engineering undergraduates.

His gift advances Tufts closer to its goal of raising $25 million for the Schuler Access Initiative. The initiative is a matching gift challenge led by the Schuler Education Foundation, which is committed to supporting college-bound teens with high need. If the goal is achieved by 2026, Tufts also earns a “bonus” of $2.5 million.

Jack Schuler, Tufts Class of 1962, and his daughter, Tanya Schuler Sharman, Tufts Class of 1991, launched the nationwide initiative in 2021. It aims to spur giving that expands scholarships for Pell Grant-eligible students and Pell-equivalent students with DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) and undocumented status.

A long-time generous supporter of Tufts, Tisch is most closely associated with athletics, thanks to his leadership gift for the Steve Tisch Family Sports and Fitness Center. His $13 million in support for the project, dedicated in 2012, inspired other alumni and friends and the facility was ultimately paid for entirely through donations.

Tisch said that Tufts’ partnership with the Schuler Access Initiative offered a new opportunity to help students with high aspirations achieve their potential.

 “The benefits of attending a school like Tufts are well documented—from personal growth and attaining knowledge to leadership development, a network of relationships, and long-term financial benefits,” he said. “Unfortunately, though, for many qualified students the costs are prohibitive, which results not only in their inability to attend but also a less diverse and inclusive campus environment.”

Tisch said he wanted to provide opportunities for young women and men to participate in the Tufts experience, which can “positively impact the trajectory of their lives.” The gift match from the Schuler Access Initiative “unlocks even greater resources that will allow more individuals to receive a Tufts education,” he said. “Hopefully my gift will encourage other individuals to support this important initiative as well.”

President Anthony Monaco said this landmark support for the Schuler Access Initiative will provide broader access to Tufts for first-generation students and those with DACA and undocumented status, leading to a more diverse undergraduate community.

“Thanks to Steve Tisch’s remarkable generosity, we can open doors to students who traditionally have struggled to find an affordable path to college,” he said. “It will transform the lives of individual students for years to come and help sustain a vibrant learning experience for all.”

Tisch is chairman, co-owner, and executive vice president of the New York Giants, and a partner in Escape Artists, an independently financed film production company based at Sony Pictures Entertainment. He launched his own film production company in 1986 and produced several critically acclaimed films. Those include Forrest Gump (1994), which won a Golden Globe and six Academy Awards, including Best Motion Picture; it remains one of the highest grossing films in history, in terms of domestic box office sales.

He is the only person ever to have received a Golden Globe, an Academy Award, a Primetime Emmy Award nomination, and a Super Bowl Ring.

“I continue to be grateful for my Tufts education,” said Tisch, who credited the university with giving him a strong foundation and broad knowledge base that has served him well, both professionally and personally.

“To this day, if I meet a fellow Jumbo, there is an instant connection and often a shared interest in bettering the community,” he said. “I am grateful to be in a position to support Tufts philanthropically and honored to help create, in perpetuity, opportunities for others to benefit from a Tufts experience.”

Tufts is among approximately 19 other highly selective liberal arts colleges to participate in the Schuler Access Initiative. At each institution, the Schuler Foundation will match gifts to $25 million. To date, Tufts has raised more than $18 million.

Funds raised by the challenge will allow Tufts to significantly increase the number of students with DACA and undocumented status admitted each year for the next decade. Tufts was considered a good fit for the initiative, given the university’s commitment to meet 100% of students’ demonstrated need throughout all four years of college. Tufts also has taken a stand in support of students with DACA and undocumented status.

Bolstering undergraduate financial aid to broaden access is a top priority for Tufts. From the start of the Brighter World campaign in 2013, more than $150 million has been raised for scholarships, and more than 230 new endowed scholarship funds have been established.

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