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Twin Cities PBS Announces its Largest Gift of $9 Million Dollars from Dr. William Wells

TPT will use the gift to create the William D. Wells Fund for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) Education

August 16, 2021

Dr. William Wells

SAINT PAUL (Aug. 16, 2021) – Twin Cities PBS (TPT) is honored to announce the largest philanthropic gift in its 64-year-old history of more than $9 million from the estate of Dr. William Wells. The donation will establish the William D. Wells Fund for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) Education. The fund will support continued innovation in creating and distributing media content and projects related to STEM and will be invested, allowing it to be distributed in perpetuity. This named fund is the first lead gift established under TPT’s endowment campaign. TPT hopes Dr. Wells’ example will help inspire others to give generously.

“We are beyond grateful for this generous and thoughtful gift from Dr. Wells, and we plan on using it as a catalyst for change, sustainability and growth of TPT’s STEM programming,” said Sylvia Strobel, President and CEO of TPT. “We hope his focused philanthropy will serve as a powerful example of what can be achieved with planned gifts and endowments and the immense impact they can make.”

Dr. Wells, who passed in September 2020, had been a devoted supporter of TPT for two decades, and he and his family have always believed in the power of public media. During his lifetime, he was a passionate, yet anonymous, supporter whose funding expanded STEM initiatives for children. The fund also honors TPT’s legacy of national leadership in science and his desire to endow TPT’s future in this field. Dr. Wells’ legacy gift will support production of our continued series such as SciGirls and Hero Elementary and other programs that inspire lifelong STEM learning.

“Education was important to my father at all levels. He recognized the power of formal and informal educational opportunities alike. In TPT he saw his interests in the worlds of media and academia coming together in numerous ways that support STEM education,” said Dr. Wells’ daughter, Marie Sloane. “We are very proud that our father’s legacy will live on through the millions of children that will be served by TPT’s learning initiatives.”

Dr. Wells was a WWII veteran and built a career as one of the advertising industry’s leading market and research authorities. He earned a Ph.D. from Stanford University and was a Professor of Psychology and Marketing at the University of Chicago. William joined Needham, Harper, Chicago as Director of Corporate Research, where he traveled worldwide to assess and develop marketing strategies for prominent national consumer brands. His expertise led to authoring more than 60 books and articles, and teaching where he retired as a Professor of Advertising at the University of Minnesota’s School of Journalism and Mass Communication.

Learn more about TPT’s education initiatives here.


About Twin Cities PBS (TPT): Twin Cities PBS (TPT)’s mission is to enrich lives and strengthen our community through the power of media. Established 64 years ago, TPT now operates as a public service media organization that harnesses a range of media tools to serve citizens in new ways — with multiple broadcast channels, online teaching resources, educational outreach and community engagement activities reaching more than 2 million people each month. Over its history, TPT has been recognized for its innovation and creativity with numerous awards, including Peabody awards and national and regional Emmy® Awards. Find more information at

© Twin Cities Public Television - 2021. All rights reserved.


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