There are many reasons to admire NFL star Justin Tuck. From his jaw-dropping tackles to a stoic style of leadership that helped the New York Giants win two Super Bowls in four years, he's been a bona fide hero on the field. And off, he plays just as hard—for kids who can't afford to go to college.

Even as a standout young athlete in Alabama, Tuck knew that school came first. "My parents wouldn't let me play sports unless I came home with As and Bs," says Tuck, 31, "and it better have been more As." Which is why, in 2008, he and his wife, Lauran, founded Tuck's RUSH (Read, Understand, Succeed, Hope) for Literacy to support underserved schools with grant money and books (77,000 and counting) and help children dream big about their future.

But even with perfect grades, students face the obstacle of affording tuition. To empower kids and their families to start investing now, the Tucks have partnered with the 1:1 Fund and the Children's Aid Society, kicking in over $150,000 of their own money to open college savings accounts for young people in New York City. With that endowment, the Tucks will deposit $100 into each account and then match a family's contribution, up to $100 a year, until the student finishes high school. "The research is eye-popping," says Tuck, a Notre Dame grad. "Low-income teens are about three times more likely to enroll in college with $500 or less stashed away." The couple hopes to expand the program to Tuck's home state and beyond. "One day I'm going to be sitting on a porch, sipping lemonade, with my gray hair," he says, "and these kids will be running the world."


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