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Merryl and James Tisch Gift Will Transform Education Programs at The New York Public Library With Focus on Literacy and Digital Equity


$20 Million Gift Enables Library to Reimagine Education Across Its Network for Learners of All Ages

March 10, 2017 – The New York Public Library will transform education programming across its network and establish a chief of education following a major gift from Library Trustee James Tisch and his wife Dr. Merryl Tisch.

The $20 million gift will build on, expand, and strengthen the Library’s robust work in the areas of early literacy, adult literacy, digital equity, and technology training by developing an innovative, cohesive program coordinated across the Library’s network of branches and research libraries ​to educate learners of all ages. 

The gift establishes the Merryl H. and James S. Tisch Director of Education to lead these efforts.

“The Library has always played a key role in educating New Yorkers of all ages, from pre-k students to lifelong learners,” said Dr. Merryl H. Tisch. “The opportunity to find a way to help the library rethink, expand and transform their educational work is something we are deeply proud to be a part of.”

The education arena has been a priority for the Library under President Tony Marx. Since his arrival in 2011, the Library has established a series of branch after-school programs, expanded English language class seats by over 500 percent, expanded technology training to 100,000 students, and increased early literacy programs to reach over 350,000 attendees.

"This remarkable gift offers the Library a rare and pivotal opportunity to reimagine and expand its impressive educational programming, which serves and strengthens all New Yorkers," Marx said. "The generosity and vision of Merryl and Jim Tisch will allow us to do more to meet the needs of our communities. This contribution will make New York City and its people stronger, and we are so grateful."

Dr. Merryl H. Tisch is one of the nation's leading voices on education, having served as Chancellor of the Board of Regents from 2009 and as a member of the Board for 14 years prior to that. She currently serves on the board of the Metropolitan Museum, the International Rescue Committee and as co-chairperson of the Metropolitan Council on Jewish Poverty, a leading social services agency. She also sits on the executive committees of The Washington Institute for Near East Policy and the Citizens Budget Commission and serves on the board of The Trust for Cultural Resources of the City of New York, and the Graduate School of Education’s Board of Overseers at the University of Pennsylvania.

James S. Tisch is President and Chief Executive Officer of Loews Corporation.  He has been with Loews since 1977. Mr. Tisch is Chairman of the Board of WNET, parent of WNET Channel 13 and WLIW Channel 21, and is also a member of the Board of Directors of The New York Public Library.  Mr. Tisch serves on the Executive Committee of the Partnership for New York City, and is a Trustee of the Mount Sinai Medical Center.  He is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, and a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.  Mr. Tisch is an Honorary Member and past Chairman of the Board of Governors of the Jewish Agency for Israel, past Chairman of the Board of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, past Chairman of the Board of United Jewish Communities, past President of UJA-Federation of New York, and a former director on the board of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. 


About The New York Public Library
The New York Public Library is a free provider of education and information for the people of New York and beyond. With 92 locations—including research and branch libraries—throughout the Bronx, Manhattan, and Staten Island, the Library offers free materials, computer access, classes, exhibitions, programming and more to everyone from toddlers to scholars, and has seen record numbers of attendance and circulation in recent years. The New York Public Library serves more than 18 million patrons who come through its doors annually and millions more around the globe who use its resources at To offer this wide array of free programming, The New York Public Library relies on both public and private funding. Learn more about how to support the Library at


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