Carolyn Benthien Makes Planned Gift to Help “Carry the Dream Forward”

Carolyn Benthien
Carolyn Benthien

“Something struck my soul,” Carolyn Benthien reflects on her first time in the JFK Library’s iconic Pavilion. Designed by I. M. Pei to showcase the sea and city President Kennedy loved, the Library offers visitors like Carolyn a place to feel connected—to President Kennedy, his ideals, and others drawn to the belief that everyone can make a difference in the world. “The Library has fed my spirit and provided a place to honor a legacy I’ve valued for over 60 years,” she says.

As a longstanding member of the JFK Library, Carolyn knows that annual giving and planned gifts are essential for future generations to access the Kennedy legacy. She established a planned gift “to create ripples of hope and carry the dream forward.” Through her generosity, Carolyn will help others experience the sense of shared purpose she feels while attending JFK Library programs.

Growing up in Appalachia, Carolyn inherited her grandmother’s passions for community and politics. Carolyn became a trailblazer as the first female CEO of three different United Ways, including eleven years with Greater Manchester in New Hampshire. Along with her late husband Randy, she also ran a consulting firm dedicated to guiding nonprofit leaders in strategic planning, governance, and fundraising.

In 2018, Carolyn invited friends and neighbors to her home for an intimate JFK Library Foundation reception. They shared stories of how President Kennedy’s legacy of public service, civil rights, and women’s rights shaped their own lives. “So many of us want to create a world for our children and grandchildren to keep the spirit alive and moving forward,” she says. “We had so much fun!”

In retirement, Carolyn’s attention has turned to four grandchildren on two different coasts. This winter they joined over 7,400 participants in the Library’s virtual Presidents’ Day celebration. “I feel blessed,” Carolyn says, “to have a way to give back to the Kennedy legacy, honor my connection to the JFK Library, and share these programs with my grandchildren.”


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