‘Today’ contributor Jill Martin donates wedding gifts to pay college student’s tuition

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127 shares, 188 points

“Today” show contributor Jill Martin and her husband will donate all financial wedding gifts they received to pay for a Fordham University student’s tuition. 

The “Steals & Deals” host and her husband, Erik Brooks, supplemented 18-year-old Samantha’s tuition with their wedding gifts, as the scholar already received a partial scholarship from Fordham and MSG’s Garden of Dreams Foundation, which is where Martin first met the teen.

“I met Samantha and her brother, Sebastian, years ago through the Garden of Dreams foundation. I immediately connected with their entire family,” Martin said in a statement to Page Six. 

“My little buddy Sebastian is (now) 13 years old and was born with Cerebral Palsy. His energy and love of life is evident every time you see him,” the statement continued.

Erik Brooks and jill martin
Martin called the 18-year-old student who received the gifts a “pillar of strength.”
jillmartin/Instagram

“Samantha (I can’t believe it) is now 18 years old — I remember when she was such a little girl! What a pillar of strength.”

Samantha battles ulcerative colitis, a disease that caused to her be homeschooled throughout various stages of her life. Despite the adversity she faced, Martin said Samantha was “able to maintain a 4.0 GPA” that landed her a spot at the Bronx-based school. 

jill martin today show
Martin is a regular contributor on the “Today” show.
Nathan Congleton/NBC via Getty I

“Her parents, Idalia and Abel are the most wonderful, hard-working people. I just love this entire family,” Martin gushed. 

“We are so excited for Samantha to become the big-time journalist we know she will be!”

Page Six broke the news that Martin and Brooks married Saturday night at the New York Public Library. Her mother and father walked her down the aisle to the altar, where her dad went on on officiate the ceremony. 

Two hundred of the news personality’s closest family and friends, including some “Today” show stars, attended the nuptials.


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