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Jan 09, 2017

Martin and Michelle Taylor Gift $1.3 Million to St. Stephen's


With great gratitude, St. Stephen’s Episcopal School in Austin is pleased to announce receipt of a transformational $1.3 million gift to the school from current parents Martin and Michelle Taylor. Their gift represents a unique, comprehensive philanthropic plan developed in partnership with the school.


The Taylor Family (L to R) Martin, Michelle, Ella (7th grade), Zach and Zoe (10th grade)


The Taylor family’s $1.3 million gift provides important support for the school’s Emerging Scholars Program, which aids low-income, first-generation college-bound students by removing the financial barriers to success, as well as the Annual Fund and Parents’ Association. In addition, they established two significant endowments: the Taylor Family Financial Aid Endowment, which supports scholar-athletes, and the Taylor Family Diversity Endowment, which provides need-based aid beyond tuition and supports diversity programming.



“We are committed to St. Stephen’s and to the value it places on diversity and inclusion; we believe it is important to nourish our community so that it continues to thrive,” said Martin Taylor, operating principal of Vista Equity Partners, an investment firm with more than $28 billion in cumulative capital commitments. Prior to joining Vista, he worked for 13 years at Microsoft Corp. “Our ability to focus on giving keeps our family grounded. It encourages us to find a way to do better and give opportunities to others.



“We want to help diverse young men and women be exposed to things they might not otherwise have access to,” he added. “But scholarships are not enough. You just cannot take a student and drop them into a different school environment and expect them to do well. You need to close the achievement gap by providing the additional resources needed to help them succeed.”



“It was important to us that our gift would have a broad impact on students and programs,” explained Michelle Taylor, founder and chief executive officer of The Zella Company, an Austin-based agency providing end-to-end event production, design, high-end furnishings and décor rentals. “One of our core family values is to have a personal level of involvement in the lives of others, which requires more than just writing a check. Philanthropy enables our family to experience the value of impacting the lives of others. It’s our way of contributing to our ever-evolving world.”



St. Stephen’s Head of School Christopher L. Gunnin believes the Taylors are models of thoughtful, comprehensive giving. “The Taylor family represents the best of philanthropic partners,” he said. “Their gift, developed through thoughtful discussions with the school, enhances a wide range of campus programs and aligns perfectly with our longstanding mission to nurture moral growth and value the potential and dignity of every member of our community.”