Gipson's philanthropy and service to the Foundation began more than 40 years ago in 1974 with his first gift to the Foundation. In 1977 Gipson joined a small group of donors who became the Founding Members of the Trustee Associates, officially recognized as the Foundation major donor group in 1978. The Trustee Associates were formed to raise money to permit the Foundation to pursue its goals and objectives, to recognize those individual who provide substantial financial support and to serves as an advisory body to give advice and counsel to the members of the Board of Trustees. This University of Texas at Austin graduate (1949) could not have known at the time how he would demonstrate the purpose of the group through his lifetime of service to the Foundation. Gipson a strong promoter of the Trustee Associates and Foundation served as vice-chair from the group in 1988 and as the chair in 1990.
His service to the Foundation did not stop there; in 1996, Gipson was appointed as a Regular Member of the Members of the Corporation and in 2006 was elected as a Trustee, a position he held for 16 years. During his time as Trustee, he provided leadership and guidance as Treasurer and as Chairman to the Foundation Audit Committee.
Gipson played a key role in the Foundations "Meeting Challenges … Assuring Success" capital campaign as a team leader on the Foundations Financial Campaign Committee in 2006. This campaign raised over $35M in contributions for the Foundation over the next 6 years.
Gipson's philanthropic legacy has provided support for a variety of Foundation program over the years, including the Treatise of Petroleum Geology and Tectonic Map programs, support for building funds for the Weeks and Pratt Towers, Distinguished Lecture and Grants-in-Aid programs. Many of his gifts have been given in honor and memory of his friends and fellow geologists.
In 2008, Gipson established the William E. Gipson Named Grant, as part of the Foundations Grants-in-Aid program. This grant establishes a lasting tribute to Gipson's character and will provide annual grants to graduate students for years to come.