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Legacy Giving

Cynthia Ann Blake: A Legacy of Lions


Ngorongoro Crater in Tanzania

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.

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A charitable bequest is one or two sentences in your will or living trust that leave to the African Wildlife Foundation a specific item, an amount of money, a gift contingent upon certain events or a percentage of your estate.

an individual or organization designated to receive benefits or funds under a will or other contract, such as an insurance policy, trust or retirement plan

Bequest Language

"I, [name], of [city, state, ZIP], give, devise and bequeath to the African Wildlife Foundation [written amount or percentage of the estate or description of property] for its unrestricted use and purpose."

able to be changed or cancelled

A revocable living trust is set up during your lifetime and can be revoked at any time before death. They allow assets held in the trust to pass directly to beneficiaries without probate court proceedings and can also reduce federal estate taxes.

cannot be changed or cancelled

tax on gifts generally paid by the person making the gift rather than the recipient

the original value of an asset, such as stock, before its appreciation or depreciation

the growth in value of an asset like stock or real estate since the original purchase

the price a willing buyer and willing seller can agree on

The person receiving the gift annuity payments.

the part of an estate left after debts, taxes and specific bequests have been paid

a written and properly witnessed legal change to a will

the person named in a will to manage the estate, collect the property, pay any debt, and distribute property according to the will

A donor advised fund is an account that you set up but which is managed by a nonprofit organization. You contribute to the account, which grows tax-free. You can recommend how much (and how often) you want to distribute money from that fund to AWF or other charities. You cannot direct the gifts.

An endowed gift can create a new endowment or add to an existing endowment. The principal of the endowment is invested and a portion of the principal’s earnings are used each year to support our mission.

Tax on the growth in value of an asset—such as real estate or stock—since its original purchase.

Securities, real estate or any other property having a fair market value greater than its original purchase price.

Real estate can be a personal residence, vacation home, timeshare property, farm, commercial property or undeveloped land.

A charitable remainder trust provides you or other named individuals income each year for life or a period not exceeding 20 years from assets you give to the trust you create.

You give assets to a trust that pays our organization set payments for a number of years, which you choose. The longer the length of time, the better the potential tax savings to you. When the term is up, the remaining trust assets go to you, your family or other beneficiaries you select. This is an excellent way to transfer property to family members at a minimal cost.

You fund this type of trust with cash or appreciated assets—and may qualify for a federal income tax charitable deduction when you itemize. You can also make additional gifts; each one also qualifies for a tax deduction. The trust pays you, each year, a variable amount based on a fixed percentage of the fair market value of the trust assets. When the trust terminates, the remaining principal goes to AWF as a lump sum.

You fund this trust with cash or appreciated assets—and may qualify for a federal income tax charitable deduction when you itemize. Each year the trust pays you or another named individual the same dollar amount you choose at the start. When the trust terminates, the remaining principal goes to AWF as a lump sum.

A beneficiary designation clearly identifies how specific assets will be distributed after your death.

A charitable gift annuity involves a simple contract between you and AWF where you agree to make a gift to AWF and we, in return, agree to pay you (and someone else, if you choose) a fixed amount each year for the rest of your life.

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