NYU Tisch School of the Arts Establishes The Maura Mandt Storytelling Scholarship

Wednesday, May 11, 2022

A new scholarship, established in honor of the late pioneering producer Maura Mandt and funded by her friends and colleagues, will award full scholarships to film and television students

NYU Tisch School of the Arts today announced the establishment of a new scholarship honoring the creative vision and memory of award-winning producer and documentarian Maura Mandt, made possible by gifts totaling more than $1.4 million. The Maura Mandt Storytelling Scholarship will support four years of study for an undergraduate student in NYU Tisch’s Kanbar Institute of Film and Television program, beginning fall 2022, with a new recipient to be selected once the previous scholarship recipient graduates.

The scholarship is made possible by a generous lead gift from the PeyBack Foundation—which was founded in 1999 by Peyton Manning and his wife, Ashley Manning—and additional gifts from donors across the sports and entertainment industries.

“On behalf of the PeyBack Foundation and our amazing team of donors, we’re proud to establish The Maura Mandt Storytelling Scholarship. The contributors to this endowment really tell you everything you need to know about Maura. From legends across the sports landscape, to film, television, music stars, and media executives, to those who were fortunate enough to call her a friend, Maura made an indelible impact on so many,” said Peyton Manning, who met Maura more than 20 years ago.

“This endowment is our way of honoring Maura Mandt’s incredible legacy, while giving a young student the opportunity to pursue their dreams, and hopefully follow in the footsteps of the unique life that Maura lived. Maura was a force, but, most importantly, a friend. We continue to miss her every day,” he continued.

Maura Mandt passed away in 2020 and was an Emmy and Peabody Award winning producer and director, who was perhaps best known for making ESPN’s annual award show, The ESPYS, one of the sports calendar’s signature events. She also helped establish The Arthur Ashe  Award for Courage, one of the most prestigious awards in sports. While her list of achievements and influence across the sports and entertainment sphere was vast, she always saw herself first and foremost as a storyteller. Maura viewed stories as a way to bring the world closer together; as a common language that people from all different backgrounds could understand in universal ways.

And while sports were the entry point to the majority of the stories Maura told, the true defining attributes of her work were unrelenting passion and uncompromising belief. She was at once generous and demanding—a visionary who was willing to do whatever was necessary to convince everyone around her what she knew to be possible.

Maura’s dream was to create a film fund that supported students interested in promoting young female filmmakers. This scholarship is the embodiment of that dream.

The Maura Mandt Storytelling Scholarship will award a full four-year scholarship to a film and television student at NYU Tisch School of the Arts, with the first to be awarded in fall 2022 and a new student selected every four years. The applicant must demonstrate a deep and abiding commitment to the role of women in filmmaking, a desire to use storytelling to advance change, and leadership qualities embodied by Maura Mandt to ensure strong female voices continue to be supported and heard in sports and in film.

“Maura Mandt was one of the most influential and trailblazing figures in sports and entertainment whose pioneering storytelling vision made a real and lasting impact on the world. We are so grateful to the PeyBack Foundation and our generous donors for creating opportunities for talented and creative artists to fearlessly follow in Maura’s footsteps and advance the role of women in sports and film,” said Allyson Green, Dean of NYU Tisch School of the Arts.