St. Stephen’s Episcopal School is pleased to announce receipt of an historic $5 million gift to the school’s endowment from the Still Water Foundation, which broadly supports the arts, education and the environment, and issues related to rural Texas.
Jill Wilkinson ’64, president of the Still Water Foundation board and a former St. Stephen’s trustee, and the privately held Still Water Foundation have a long history of supporting the school. “In addition to this new gift to the general endowment, the Still Water Foundation has consistently supported the Annual Fund, faculty development programs and capital projects throughout the last three decades,” said Christine Aubrey, associate head of school for advancement.
“Still Water endowed the St. Stephen’s Master Teaching Chair in Critical Languages, which enabled us to become the first high school in Texas to teach Mandarin Chinese,” Aubrey explained. “And many of our teachers have earned their master’s degrees from St. John’s College during summer breaks thanks to Still Water’s support of teaching excellence. The foundation even made the final gift in our last capital campaign, which pushed us past our goal in early 2014.
“With this important leadership gift to the school’s endowment — the largest gift in St. Stephen's history — the Still Water Foundation has once again demonstrated its deep trust in the school and strong desire to uphold and advance our founders’ bold vision for a diverse, inclusive and equitable school community that respects and celebrates the unique character and dignity of every student,” Aubrey said.
The Still Water Foundation’s endowment gift came in answer to a call from Head of School Chris Gunnin and the board of trustees to double the existing endowment from $15 million to $30 million within the next three to five years — the most ambitious endowment initiative in the school’s history. This $5 million gift will boost the school’s general endowment, which provides the broadest level of support to daily school operations. In addition, a portion of the gift will support financial aid for qualified students who otherwise could not afford a St. Stephen’s education.
“With a robust endowment, St. Stephen’s will be better able to maintain the economic, social and cultural diversity that has been one of the cornerstones of our founding vision,” Gunnin explained. “This momentous $5 million endowment gift will help us uphold and preserve the St. Stephen’s experience for future generations of Spartans.
“We are tremendously grateful for the opportunity to partner with the Still Water Foundation on this effort and are humbled by its board’s unwavering support of our school and its mission,” Gunnin said.