Cynthia Ann Blake: A Legacy of Lions
Legacy. It is a concept that many don't contemplate until later in life. For some, it can take a lifetime to answer such questions as, "How do I want to be remembered?" "What kind of impact do I want to make on the world after I'm gone?" and "Who should receive my worldly goods when I no longer need them?" Others simply procrastinate when it comes to pondering their mortality.
Sadly, for Cynthia Blake, planning her legacy became an urgent priority after being diagnosed at a very young age with a terminal illness. As the last living member of a family line dating back to 1639, Cynthia was well versed in the concept of legacy. The Blake family name has endured in Hill, New Hampshire for centuries, forever memorialized on a number of local landmarks, including a road, a cemetery and "Blake Hill."
A classic New Englander and only child, Cynthia grew up in the small town of Wilmington MA, surrounded by farm and companion animals. It's the kind of town that has remained unchanged for generations. This upbringing was the foundation of her deep love of all animals from wildlife to horses. But it was a 1978 safari trip to Kenya with her mother that really established her interest in African wildlife, which continued to grow over a 40-year period. Lions and other big cats were a particular love.
Married only for a brief time earlier in her life, Cynthia never had any children. She spent much of her time consumed by a very demanding career working for a company that built guided missile submarines. Although she was passionate about the work of a number of favorite charities, she never had enough time to become more involved with them beyond making financial contributions.
Upon learning of her illness, Cynthia asked her childhood friend Mal Jacobs to become her Trustee and assist her in choosing the nine charities that would ultimately receive significant legacy gifts from her trust. She wanted to make sure she could make a significant impact on the causes that meant the most to her during her all-too-brief life.
After considerable research, Cynthia and Mal selected the African Wildlife Foundation based on its strong reputation. They agreed that AWF was the organization that would make the best use of her legacy gift on behalf of Africa and its wildlife.
The African Wildlife Foundation is honored by Cynthia's belief in our mission to ensure the wildlife and wild lands of Africa will endure forever. We hope she would be proud to know that her legacy will help to ensure that lions and other magnificent wildlife will continue to roam the continent for generations to come.