May 01, 2023

Ben Thorndike ’78 Views Legacy Gift as Natural Progression of His Support of Colby

Colby is grateful to Ben Thorndike ’78 for his legacy gift of $150,000, payable through an IRA beneficiary designation.

Flowers outside Grossman

Colby is grateful to Ben Thorndike ’78 for his legacy gift of $150,000, payable through an IRA beneficiary designation. Thorndike, head of Infrastructure Investor Relations at Manulife Investment Management, formerly John Hancock, sees this capstone gift as a natural progression of his support of the College.

“The first third of my adult life I made relatively modest annual gifts to Colby,” said Thorndike, who lives in Boston and Cape Cod. “The next third, I was fortunate to find ways to do something more creative, and I worked with the development team to set up a scholarship for a classmate who passed away. And this last third, it’s all about estate planning, legacy, and gratitude. Estate planning is a creative way to make a real difference, and that’s the path I decided to go down.”

A beneficiary designation is a key component of effective estate planning, which involves caring for yourself and your assets while you are living and planning for the orderly transfer of assets to other people and organizations, both during your life and afterward.

“Making a planned gift is one of the most popular and flexible ways to leave a lasting legacy at Colby,” said Byron Glaus, leadership gift officer at Colby. “Bequests and other testamentary gifts have been, and continue to be, a significant source of support, while simultaneously allowing donors to achieve more than they thought possible with their philanthropy. A planned gift makes it possible for donors, their loved ones, and Colby to all benefit.”

Through a beneficiary designation, a donor distributes IRAs, commercial annuities, and other assets at death. An IRA or annuity administrator will distribute those assets according to a beneficiary designated by the donor.

Thorndike’s gift will be paid in lump sum to the College, without restrictions. Colby can spend it as it sees best, he said. “At the end of the day, I like a lot of things about Colby,” he said. “I believe that if you want to support students, don’t put any parameters on it.”

Thorndike, president of the Class of ’78 who is planning the 45th reunion in June 2023, is proud of his association with Colby and hopes his gift will inspire others to “step up” and include Colby in their estate planning. He said arranging a legacy gift to be paid through his estate has given him peace of mind.

“The emotional aspect of doing this is very comforting and meaningful,” he said.