N.Y. Giants owners give The Gunnery largest donation in school history
Published 8:55 pm, Tuesday, August 8, 2017
WASHINGTON — The Gunnery has received a $10 million donation — the largest single donation in the school’s 167-year history.
The donation was made by Steven and Jonathan Tisch, who graduated from the school in 1967 and 1972, respectively. The Tisch family co-owns the New York Giants football team.
Steven Tisch is a television and film executive producer who worked on films including “Forrest Gump,” “American History X” and the “Pursuit of Happyness.” Jonathan Tisch is co-chairman of the board of Loew’s Corp. and chairman and CEO of its Loew’s Hotels subsidiary.
The donation coincides with the brothers’ 50th and 45th class reunions.
“We’re fortunate to have such a generous family, but also a well-meaning and thoughtful family,” said Sean Brown, The Gunnery’s director of alumni and development.
He said the brothers approached the school about making the donation and asked that the money be spent in a way most meaningful to the school.
School officials suggested part of the money be spent on the planned Arts and Community Center, which is the largest capital project the school has ever undertaken in size and dollars, as well as the school’s endowment.
The 30,000-square-foot center has an estimated $22 million price tag and would include theater space that could be used by outside speakers and programs.
“It’s building a space for the whole school to meet,” said Ken Mason, The Gunnery’s director of strategic marketing and communications. The school’s staff and students gather three times a week in the gym.
Part of the donation will go to build the school’s endowment.
“The Gunnery always was and still is a warm, caring and nurturing environment,” said Jonathan Tisch, who is a former board member, in a news release announcing the donation. “This gift reflects Steve’s and my belief in the school, its people, and its programs. We are very pleased that it will help allow The Gunnery to become an even stronger and more relevant institution for the students of today and tomorrow.”
Steven Tisch said the school has been influential in his life. As a student, he met an English teacher who recognized his potential and helped him be the best version of himself.
“It is with sincere gratitude that Jon and I are able to support The Gunnery, a place that was so formative in our own lives,” he said in the release.
As students, Steven Tisch was in the Dramatics and Art clubs and played varsity basketball. Jonathan Tisch was on the newspaper staff and yearbook committee and played tennis.
Mason said the relationship between the school and Tisch family goes back decades.
“Their parents were very supportive, and they’ve been very supportive since they graduated,” he said.
In addition to donating to the Gunnery Fund, capital campaigns and endowment for 50 years, “they’ve been the principal supporters of several buildings on campus,” Brown said.
Previous Tisch family donations have benefited the Tisch Library in 1982, the Tisch Chair for Excellence in Teaching in 1990 and the renovation of the school’s main academic center in 2009, and contributed to the construction of a new girls dormitory, the Emerson Performing Arts Center, the Teddy (Ebersol) House dormitory, and a substantial renovation of Conroy House.
Brown said the family has a history of philanthropy.
“If you look at their donations, they tend to give based on things that are meaningful to them,” he said. “We’re grateful that they felt the Gunnery is one of those.”