Interview with Pat Crane Mason '55

Pat Crane MasonPat, thank you for agreeing to give us your thoughts on the "Society of 1912", McGehee's Planned Giving Program. Start anywhere you want.
For an institution like McGehee, with a small but truly affluent Alumnae and support base, gifts to McGehee through bequests could become the bedrock anchor for the school. In the next generation, not millions but trillions of dollars will pass through succession proceedings, and McGehee has already benefited through receiving over $1 million in gifts with more to come. As modern day education is evolving, it is crucial to have a healthy and substantial Endowment to take care of capital expenses and offset tuition costs.

McGehee has very wisely decided that all Planned Giving gifts should go directly into the Endowment, unless specifically directed otherwise. Simply put, if we can get a healthy percentage of our 2,500 plus alumnae and other supporters such as parents, grandparents, former board members etc. to support this program, McGehee can maintain its position as a leading private school in this area.

Since you have given me a free rein, I will comment that men-they give to their schools, whereas women have until recently been reluctant givers even though controlling upwards to 70% of the nations wealth. We need to capitalize on this advantage.

Wow—thank you. Why did you decide to name McGehee in your Will?
For several reasons. Primarily, McGehee served me so well and I figured it was payback time. Another reason is that I was asked to do this. Pragmatically, I do not think in the field of philanthropy that I could have selected a better recipient. I recognized that McGehee is a small institution with a limited source of support, and that a meaningful gift to a small institution has a substantial impact. I talked it over with Lee and he encouraged me to do this.

As a professional fundraiser, I look upon giving as a river. It flows past and if McGehee puts out a fishing pole and good bait, it should catch its fair share. Not to over-answer the question, but I must observe that McGehee to me represents a solid anchor to New Orleans which has held steady almost 100 years in spite of dramatic changes in the city. Well, the school deserves our support.

What would you tell a prospective donor in requesting that McGehee be named in the Will, or through other Avenues?
Exactly what I have told you already.

I wish everyone felt like you about Planned Giving.
Me too. I do know from a long career in development that there is somewhere a multi-million dollar gift if the party is asked and the stars are in the right alignment. However, with an aggressive (for lack of a better term) approach, no returns can be expected. I certainly am wiling to continue to help McGehee in any way that I can.

What sort of recognition or acknowledgment should we give to donors and prospective donors?
I think you should publish in The Gate and through any other means a list of all those parties who have committed to the Society of 1912, as success begets success. In truth, the more people who indicate their support, the more others will follow. And certainly, the success of McGehee over almost 100 years, the quality of the education, and the superb product warrants support.

Such as yourself, Pat.
Well, I didn't quite mean that, but yes.

Anything else, Pat?
Yes, I repeat that if we could get a healthy percentage of our Alumnae and friends to support the program, with a healthy increase through our endowment, McGehee will live long and prosper. Anyhow, any good McGehee girl can handle her man even if he puts up a token objection to a substantial gift.

Well Pat, I think we better end the interview on that poignant note. Thanks for the time, the knowledge, the wit, what you have done for McGehee, and more importantly, what you will do in the future.
Qualifiedly, you are welcome.