Jeffrey Schottenstein: Personal Success and Helping Others

Jeffrey Schottenstein has committed his life to empowering those without a voice. Born and raised in Columbus, OH, much of his work has centered around his community. He has used his platform to bring greater awareness to children with special needs, those less fortunate, and people dealing with a wide range of mental health issues. Jeffrey Schottenstein was born into a family who had built their success from retail and used that success to better their community.

His father, Jay Schottenstein, is chairman and CEO of Schottenstein Sores Corporation, American Eagle Outfitters, and American Signature. His grandfather, Jerome Schottenstein, established the Schottenstein Stores Corporation. Among other philanthropic organizations, his parents founded the Jay and Jeanie Schottenstein Foundation, which helps provide private grantmaking for groups involved in Jewish culture and religious organizations. Schottenstein continues to carry on the family legacy of business success and personal philanthropy.

Personal Success

The Schottenstein name is well established, especially in the Ohio area, and is a driving force in the apparel industry. Jeffrey Schottenstein grew up seeing both his father and grandfather run successful clothing apparel lines that are still the top names to this day. Jeffrey Schottenstein remained passionate about clothing, founding his own brand TACKMA. TACKMA is an acronym that stands for “They All Can Kiss My Ass,” which he had custom engraved into a pair of Nike brand shoes in 2011. Even before he knew he would establish this brand, he was passionate about remaining true to himself and not being discouraged by the opinions of others.

Jeffrey believes fashion choices are a direct representation of how we want the world to see us, and TACKMA was designed to offer customers a means of self-expression outside of the norm. In line with his philanthropic goals, TACKMA strives to bring awareness to mental issues that impact many in our society. One of the brand’s main missions is to show that anyone can experience mental health concerns, not just those who live on the perceived outskirts of society. Jeffrey is an OSU alumnus, so this brand often caters to students at OSU and gives them a discount with student ID. New designs are introduced seasonally and are inspired by those who are unapologetically themselves.

Giving Back to the Community

Jeffrey Schottenstein and his family are dedicated to sharing their success by investing in their community. Jeffrey grew up volunteering in different local organizations in the Columbus area. One organization that stays close to Schottenstein’s heart is LifeTown. This is a realistic indoor city that recreates real-world scenarios for children with special needs to help them learn crucial life skills, such as time management and budgeting. When COVID-19 hit, this program had to quickly adapt so it could still provide these children with the support they need. Jeffrey donated $100,000 to help establish virtual programming through LifeTown On the Go, enabling students to continue their education from home.

One of Jeffrey Schottenstein’s largest contributions was recently announced at an Ohio State University football game. He and his family pledged $10.15 million to establish the Jeffrey Schottenstein Program for Resilience through the Ohio State University College of Medicine. This contribution came not only through Jeffrey’s passion for giving back but also his personal experience as a college freshman long ago.

As a freshman at OSU, he quickly found himself dealing with overwhelming feelings of depression and anxiety. He felt that he had no one to talk to about his mental health issues, and many students feel the same way when they experience similar situations. This program is designed to let students know that they are not alone and give them 24/7 access to the mental health services they need to thrive. It will provide a comprehensive support system to help students address the changes and uncertainties that come with campus life and help them develop strategies that will improve their academic success.

For the Future

Jeffrey Schottenstein remains committed to helping the members of his community and strives to carry on more than just a family name. While his family provided him with a strong foundation in business, he strives to make his business ventures unique to his own goals and genuinely cares for his community. TACKMA continues to grow as a brand, recently seeing more celebrity endorsements, especially through LeBron James. As the brand succeeds and reaches more people, it helps raise awareness about mental health issues and sends the message that no one is alone in their struggle.

In the coming years, we will be able to watch as the Jeffrey Schottenstein Program for Resilience continues to unfold. Many college students struggle with mental health concerns due to the stressors and high demands of their education, and Jeffrey wants to make an impact in his local community by helping these students succeed. This program could help generations of students gain the tools they need to thrive in college and to set them up for success as they transition into their future careers.

You can follow Jeffrey Schottenstein on Twitter.

Photo: “Success in sight….” by seeveeaar is licensed with CC BY-ND 2.0.

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