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A Lasting Impression

The Value of Bequests in the Light the World Campaign

Connell School of Nursing students practice conducting health assessments.

Nurse Anne Clasby Toomey '58 spent most of her life caring for countless children in Boston's public schools.

Like many in her generation, she lived modestly, but she took pleasure in doting on her beloved nieces and nephews—and extended that concern to the charities that meant the most to her. She gave what she could, when she could, and counted Boston College among her passions.

When she passed away two years ago, her family discovered just how deep that connection ran— finding a $230,000 bequest to the Connell School of Nursing in her will.

"She was a staunch advocate of higher education, for herself and others," says her nephew, Richard Toomey. "She'd earned her bachelor's degree in nursing at a time when most nurses did not have degrees, and she always spoke with pride of her time at BC."

Now Mrs. Toomey's bequest joins more than 560 legacy gifts counted during BC's Light the World campaign. To date, they have contributed an estimated $127 million to financial aid, academic excellence, and other University priorities.

"Bequests are a highly meaningful, though often overlooked, philanthropic strategy," says Trustee David T. Griffith '68, P'00, '02, '06, noting that peer institutions such as Notre Dame regularly outperform BC by as much as 5–1 in legacy giving.

As chair of the campaign's Legacy Gifts Committee, he has been a tireless champion of the role bequests can—and should—play in securing the University's future.

"An Option For Everyone"

There are many ways to make a legacy gift that benefit both BC and the donor, says Griffith. He and his wife, Janet, have established a bequest and a charitable trust for Boston College, for example.


"A bequest is really an easy choice, because you don't have to deplete current assets to make an impact," says Griffith. "You can also add BC as a beneficiary of your 401(k) or any retirement account, as well as your life insurance policy. And then there are annuities and trusts that generate retirement income and tax savings," says Griffith. "Truly, there's an option for everyone, at every giving level."

There are equally diverse reasons why donors choose to include BC in their estate plans, says Griffith. For some, a legacy gift caps off a lifetime of philanthropy and helps preserve the scholarships, academic programs, and other initiatives their prior giving made possible. For others, it is an opportunity to make a transformational gift to the University that's meant so much to them and their families.

Karen NC'66 and Jack O'Toole '65, P'89, '92, are one such couple. They knew they wanted to make a substantial contribution that would both honor their formative years at the Heights and provide a competitive edge for future classes.

"I owe Boston College a great deal, and not just because we met here," says Jack, who worked in the high-tech industry and later established his own ATM management company. "My Jesuit education helped prepare me for a successful career, but it also made me a better person."

Planning for the Future

After giving annually for many years, the O'Tooles decided to expand their philanthropic portfolio by establishing several deferred charitable gift annuities, which provide fixed, guaranteed income for life. They recently increased their impact by making a sizeable bequest to BC in their wills.

"We wanted to show our appreciation to the University that contributed so much to our lives," explains Jack O'Toole. "But even more, we want to make sure future generations can have their own life-changing experiences."

This long-range approach to philanthropy is what makes bequests so powerful in supporting the University's mission, says Griffith.

"Legacy gifts have clearly helped the campaign," he says. "But more important is that long after the campaign, these legacy gifts will continue to be a sustaining source of income for BC."

Like the O'Tooles, Anne Toomey made her bequest as both an expression of gratitude for her own education and as a show of support for future students.

"She knew what Boston College had meant to her," says her nephew, "and she hoped her final gift would help people like her have the same opportunity to succeed."

» Learn more about the power of bequests at www.bc.edu/ltwlegacy.

Boston College Alumni and Friends