Jeffrey Schottenstein was born and raised in Columbus, Ohio, to Jay and Jeanie Schottenstein, a family with generations of experience in the apparel industry. His father, Jay Schottenstein, served as Chairman and CEO of Schottenstein Stores Corporation, American Eagle Outfitters, and American Signature. His grandfather, Jerome Schottenstein, helped to establish the Schottenstein Stores Corporation, along with other family members. Due to their success, the Schottensteins have been able to secure a future for their family and improve the lives of many in their community. Jeffrey grew up learning all he could from his father concerning retail and business. His grandfather was another important role model and the inspiration behind many of Jeffrey Schottenstein’s philanthropic endeavors.
Throughout his life, Jeffrey not only mastered the business world of retail but also learned the importance of giving back to his community, as his family has long supported different charitable organizations. Jeffrey has continued this mission by supporting groups with values close to his family’s hearts, as well as other groups working to better the lives of those less fortunate. His parents established the Jay and Jeanie Schottenstein Foundation, a foundation that supports Jewish causes through private grantmaking. Giving back to the Jewish community has always been an important family focus, and this foundation gives almost exclusively to Jewish culture and religious organizations.
Carving His Own Path
Coming from a well-established family such as the Schottensteins, Jeffrey Schottenstein knew he wanted to keep his family’s legacy alive, especially through philanthropic work. While he stayed close to his roots by continuing to work in the retail industry, he also started to branch out to support efforts that mattered to him. It was important to Jeffrey that he continues to carry out the passions of his family, but it was also important to stay true to himself.
Jeffrey Schottenstein was raised to not only be a smart businessman but also to share his success by giving back to the community whenever possible. In high school, he volunteered much of his time at Chabad’s Friendship Circle Program and helped to double their number of volunteers through his dedication to the cause. He found a passion early on for helping children that require special support services and people of all ages experiencing mental health issues.
In 2011, Jeffrey Schottenstein founded TACKMA, a clothing apparel line designed to bring greater awareness to mental health issues and give back to communities in need. Much of Jeffrey Schottenstein’s work is centered around his community of Columbus, OH, which is where this storefront is located. He developed TACKMA so people of all shapes, sizes, and backgrounds could feel comfortable in their skin and show off their unique personalities through high-quality products. The mission of this brand is to foster self-expression and empower people with the confidence to do things their way.
TACKMA is an acronym created by Schottenstein that stands for “They All Can Kiss My Ass,” a cheeky statement that emphasizes finding happiness in yourself without worrying about what other people have to say. Even before the brand was completely realized, Schottenstein had this acronym custom engraved into a pair of Nikes as a reminder to stay true to himself. This brand was created for the underdogs or those that society may be quick to overlook or judge. Encouraging self-love among these people has been one of the driving philosophies in his life.
Jeffrey Schottenstein is a long-time contributor to LifeTown Columbus, a one-of-a-kind facility run by Lori Schottenstein Chabad Center in New Albany. Designed to imitate a small city, Life Town provides children with special needs the opportunity to learn about real-world scenarios in fun and engaging ways. It offers a safe, nurturing environment in which specially trained volunteers help children acquire the skills they need to thrive, from socialization to fiscal responsibility. When COVID-19 impacted the work that LifeTown was able to provide, the facility adapted by creating LifeTown on the Go to serve Central Ohio students virtually. Jeffrey Schottenstein donated $100,000 to this new program and was honored for his advocacy and contributions to helping children at the 2021 Annual Lifetown Legends Luncheon.
Recently, Jeffrey Schottenstein and his family have pledged $10.15 million for the endowment of a new chair at the Ohio State University College of Medicine in Columbus. The goal of this contribution is to create a new comprehensive mental health wellness program, the Jeffrey Schottenstein Program for Resilience. Jeffrey remembers his struggles as a college student at Ohio State, dealing with anxiety, depression, and OCD. He felt alone, not realizing that many of his peers were experiencing the same issues. This stigma attached to mental health issues creates a sense of isolation that is common among students and creates a serious barrier to seeking help.
Jeffrey created the Program for Resilience to ensure students have access to a reliable, 24/7 support system. This program will help students address their mental health issues, overcome their obstacles, and build the foundation for a happy, successful future. It will teach them valuable coping skills that build cognitive and emotional resilience, so they feel confident to handle any challenges they face throughout their education and later after they graduate. The program will be led by Dr. Luan Phan, a well-known leader in psychiatry who has made cutting-edge neuroscience discoveries associated with resilience and mental health. It should be formally approved in November.
Jeffrey Schottenstein continues to integrate his passion for apparel with his love of helping his community. His line, TACKMA, has gained increased attention due to celebrity endorsements. LeBron James has been spotted wearing the TACKMA brand and supports the overall message and goals of the company. Jeffrey Schottenstein is excited to see the growth and adaptation of the Jeffrey Schottenstein Program for Resilience at Ohio State University. As an alumnus, he looks forward to helping his alma mater better cater to the needs of a diverse student body. He strongly believes that through this program, many more students can achieve academic success that will translate to future success in their adult lives.