Balboa Park, San Diego –  One of Thomas Ackerman’s favorite places.


Thomas C. Ackerman was born in San Diego, December 27, 1927.  He attended San Diego State College, earning a degree in economics and graduating first in his class.  He went on to School of Law at the University of California, Berkeley – Boalt Hall, receiving his J.D. degree in 1953, again occupying the coveted position of first in his class.

Having been invited to join the Order of the Coif, a national honor society for top-level law school graduates he became a key member of the organization for years to come.  Mr. Ackerman was editor-in-chief of the California Law Review and a proud member of the Phi Alpha Delta legal fraternity.

Being sought after by a host of national law firms, he chose to join Gray, Cary, Ames & Frye based in his home town, San Diego.  He became a partner in the firm in 1959 and went on to handle countless important transactions for the most prominent businesses in San Diego.   He retired from the firm in 1990 but remained of Counsel until his death, February 13, 1991.

Mr. Ackerman was a quiet, reserved man with a whip-smart intellect and passion for the law that he shared with the many fortunate enough to have worked with him.  He leaves behind a legacy filled with a deep sense of community in San Diego and his Foundation, now approaching its 25th year, does all it can to continue along his well-defined path of looking after the greater good.

The Thomas C. Ackerman Foundation. Grants for the greater good.

Letter from the President

Dear Fellow San Diegans:

It is with great pleasure that we approach our 25th year of grant making here at the Thomas C. Ackerman Foundation.  We have made grants in excess of $7 million dollars to over 650 organizations, making a difference in this wonderful community we are all fortunate enough to call our home.

In late 2005, the Board of Directors implemented a new emphasis in into the area of K-12 education grants.  The Foundation has always been committed to helping the youth of our community in their early education, whether they are college bound or entering the workforce directly after high school.  In preparation for being parents, professionals, and citizens of our community, we support a well-rounded educational experience, including exposure to music, art, math, the sciences, and technology.

Collaboration is an important component of our grant-consideration process.  We have had a long-held interest in funding collaborative initiatives that address areas of need in which we have made grants in the past.  The Foundation may in some cases act to increase a grant conditional upon evidence of a signed agreement setting forth the details of a well-defined collaborative effort.

San Diego does not have a large number of organizations such as ours providing funding to the nonprofit sector.  All of us on the Board are proud to have the opportunity to serve the San Diego community through the ongoing activities of the Foundation and providing our community grants for the greater good. Symbolic of this commitment to San Diego and the future, we recently enlisted four new directors, adding several younger members, diversifying the Board. This signifies, among other matters, the commitment of the Board and Foundation to serve the San Diego community well into the future.

Robert G. Copeland
The Thomas C. Ackerman Foundation