Through his philanthropy, sculptor Don Wilks expresses thanks to Mass General for saving his life four years ago.

With his sculptures, Don Wilks conveys the elasticity of the human body. With his philanthropy, he expresses thanks to Massachusetts General Hospital for saving his life four years ago when he entered the emergency room with strange symptoms.

Don Wilks
Don Wilks

“I did not know that blood was collecting in my head, between my brain and skull,” Don says. It was the aftereffects of a fall suffered two months prior. The CT scan confirmed a hematoma, which led to surgery. “They did a great job,” Don says, “I’m fine.”

The experience inspired Don to make Mass General a philanthropic priority. “I wanted to support the hospital any way I can.”

Philanthropy that Makes Sense

Don turned to Mass General’s Planned Giving team and identified the Charitable Gift Annuity (CGA) as his preferred way to give. “The CGA made sense for me and Mass General,” he says. “I could receive income in retirement and make a charitable gift to the hospital after I leave the world. It’s the perfect way to contribute.”

In fact, Don established a second CGA three years later. Both gifts will benefit the MGH Fund as unrestricted support for the priorities and initiatives of Peter L. Slavin, MD, Mass General’s president. “Dr. Slavin has the most knowledge of the hospital and its current needs. So letting him use the funds at his discretion was the best way to do it,” Don says.

A CGA provides fixed income for life. In exchange for donating cash or stock to Mass General, the hospital pays the donor or designated beneficiary a fixed amount annually. The annuity rate is based on beneficiary age(s). When the gift annuity ends, the remaining balance comes to Mass General to advance medicine.

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The Phillips Society represents those who include Mass General in their long-term plans, and those who build an endowment fund.