Ginger Atwood Ackerley was a civic leader, philanthropist, businesswoman, wife, mother, and grandmother.
Born in Brooklyn, she attended Duke University and later returned to New York city, where she met her future husband, Barry. The Ackerleys moved many times over the next decade until settling in 1976 in Mercer Island, WA. It was there that Barry founded Ackerley Communications.
In 1987, after more than a decade volunteering for local organizations, Mrs. Ackerley joined Ackerley Communications to launch and chair Ackerley Corporate Giving, the company’s philanthropic arm. Ultimately, she would lead the development of a strategic initiative serving communities across America through yearly cash and in-kind donations. Mrs. Ackerley continued to lead Ackerley Corporate Giving until the sale of the company, in 2002. She also served in a senior strategic role for the corporation.
A lover of nature and the arts, Mrs. Ackerley contributed her visionary leadership to advance the Pacific Northwest, as well. She chaired the Pacific Science Center and ArtsFund, served on the Seattle Foundation’s Board of Trustees, and was a founding member of the Washington Women’s Foundation.
In 1997 she and her husband established the Ginger and Barry Ackerley Foundation, an organization dedicated to improving the life and future of northwest children. She also founded and chaired the WNBA’s Seattle Storm in 1999. Over the years, Mrs. Ackerley received multiple lifetime achievement awards honoring her role enriching the civic and cultural life of the region.
Mrs. Ackerley, passed away on January 5, 2018. She was 79 years old. She is survived by her daughter, Kim Ackerley Cleworth, her two sons Christopher and Ted Ackerley, and seven grandchildren.
Ginger and Barry
Our founders Ginger and Barry Ackerley, after experiencing success in advertising and media, committed themselves to philanthropy. Believing that knowledge and understanding have the power to make a difference in the world, they chose to devote their time and resources to advancing education in the Puget Sound region—especially early learning.
Now, following their passing, the whole family remains committed to the same values. The foundation continues by honoring our founders' legacy, engaging in a larger effort to ensure that children enter school prepared to learn throughout their lives.
The Ackerley family takes a "venture philanthropy" approach to giving, contributing both time and resources to ensure success for the organizations they invest in. The family believes that funding alone is not sufficient, and only through close, long-term partnerships will we achieve transformative results for the children of our region.
"Because of the Ackerley Foundation, more children and families who have experienced homelessness now have access to critical services that strengthen both parent and child so they can triumph over trauma and reach their full potential."
GRANT WRITER / WELLSPRING FAMILY SERVICES
THE MAGIC OF GIVING / THE ACKERLEY STORY