Planned Giving: For the Love of SPS

Mason Wells ’24


Much of the joy of giving is in seeing its impact – seeing generosity transformed into facilities and opportunities and memories. Decades ago, Mason B. Wells ’24 made his gift knowing that he would not witness the outcome, but his family believes that’s the way he would have wanted it.

“The recognition wasn’t important to him,” says his grandnephew, Mason B. Wells II ’80. “He just loved St. Paul’s School so much.” The elder Wells set up a charitable remainder trust, naming St. Paul’s School as a 50-percent beneficiary. Over time, that trust turned into a $2 million gift that took his family by surprise. “We had heard for years that Uncle Mason had made a large gift to SPS, but we never knew the extent of it,” says Wells ’80. “When the gift was realized, we were blown away. But we also thought, ‘This all makes sense.’ He wanted to do something that was going to affect generations to come.”

A renowned artist who lived and worked in San Francisco, Mason B. Wells ’24 chose to make an unrestricted gift to the School’s endowment, rather than donate solely to the arts. He took care of that passion, with the remaining half of his charitable trust going to his favorite arts organizations in the San Francisco area. “He was always talking about the School and how much he loved it,” says his grandnephew. “When I chose to come to SPS, he was so happy. I received letters from him frequently.” Though Wells ’24 wouldn’t live to see it, the enrollment of his great-great-niece, Elizabeth Wells ’17, marked the family’s fifth generation to attend St. Paul’s.

“There’s something about the School,” says Wells ’80. “It has always been part of the fabric of our family for over 125 years.”

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