How vision loss inspired a woman to invest in the futures of students

Fay Henry’s story on why she contributed to Perkins and how she also benefited from the donation.

animated image of a seed sprouting from the ground.

Music had always played an important role in Fay Henry’s life and in her family. She considers herself fortunate that her father encouraged her to go to school and to learn because it empowered her to support herself. He also taught her the value of giving back and to choose causes that were meaningful to her. 

Several years before Fay turned 80, she was diagnosed with Macular Degeneration (MD), a condition that runs in her family. MD is very common and is the leading cause of vision loss in people 50 years or older. 

When Fay was a child, her aunt lost her vision due to MD, and had received books on tape from the Perkins Library. For over 190 years the Perkins Library has been providing services to those who need accessible reading materials throughout the New England area—including Fay’s aunt who continued to enjoy books until the end. This memory stayed with Fay and led her to make contributions to Perkins, something she remembered her aunt also doing while she was alive.

One day I received a call from a student at Perkins thanking me for a recent donation. That led me to request more information about how I could help


Making a contribution and benefitting for life

Fay is a firm believer in education and the arts. She admires Perkins’ historic commitment to educating students who are blind or have multiple, complex disabilities. This is why she chose to support the arts programming at Perkins. In addition to her annual gift, Fay decided to establish a Charitable Gift Annuity (CGA) with Perkins. A CGA is a contract between the donor (Fay Henry) and Perkins, where the donor makes a single larger gift, and in return, they receive a fixed quarterly payment for life. 

A CGA is right for those who: 

For Fay, the CGA ensured that her money stayed in a safe place, plus she appreciated the benefit of an interest rate from her initial investment. As a lady in her eighties, receiving a fixed, dependable payment provides her an extra sense of security. 

Investing for the future of Perkins

After years of making annual contributions and growing closer to the Perkins community, Fay still wanted to do more: she decided to provide for Perkins in her will. With her attorney, they arranged for Perkins to receive a percentage of her estate. Fay noted that the process was “effortless.” With a stroke of a pen, she happily invested in the future of students with disabilities at Perkins and beyond. 

Our work would not be possible without the generous support of our donors. Gifts like Fay’s, whether an annual contribution, a CGA, or through an estate, allows Perkins to serve people with disabilities of all ages.  

Professional headshot of Lauren Ladino, a young white woman with long, brown hair

Community profile: meet volunteer Lauren Ladino

Kevin holds a brailler while a group of people around him take a look, including Shirley Temple.

Remembering former Perkins Director Kevin Lessard

A girl puts her hands on a light display window while her teacher supports her from behind.

Powered by community: The Snoezelen Room