Ginger Ackerley Passes Away at 79
Ginger Ackerley passed away peacefully at her Seattle home Friday (January 5) after fighting ovarian cancer for more than six years. She was 79.
Since settling in the Pacific Northwest with her husband in 1976, she has immersed herself in civic and community work – volunteering her services at numerous non-profits.
Early Life and Education
Ginger Ackerley has been actively engaged in civic and charitable endeavors since her arrival to Seattle in the early eighties. She founded the Junior League of Seattle and serves on multiple non-profit boards locally.
Ms. Allen co-founded and chaired the Seattle Storm of the Women’s National Basketball Association and co-owned Seattle SuperSonics (now Oklahoma City Thunder) with her late husband Barry for 18 years before his passing away. For these achievements she received both the Champion of Freedom Award from Washington Policy Center as well as Corporate Council for the Arts Paul G. Allen Philanthropic Excellence Award.
At Ackerley Group, she led philanthropic efforts by creating Ackerley Corporate Giving and donating 6% of gross revenue back to communities served. Additionally, she is actively involved with her husband, daughter and sons in creating The Ginger & Barry Ackerley Foundation focusing on education.
In 1975 she and her late husband purchased an outdoor advertising firm that would eventually evolve into Ackerley Group; an international conglomerate holding stakes in outdoor, airport and radio advertising as well as sports. A portion of its gross revenues was also donated to charitable organizations.
Ginger Ackerley was an impressive philanthropist who contributed generously to many non-profit boards including Pacific Science Center, ArtsFund, Seattle Foundation Board of Trustees and Washington Women’s Foundation. Additionally, she received numerous lifetime achievement awards such as Dorothy Bullitt Community Service Award from Junior Achievement’s Stanley O. McNaughton Award and Washington Anti-Defamation League’s Torch of Liberty Award.
She founded and co-owned Seattle Storm in the WNBA for 18 years before her husband passed away, acting as both business leader and civic advocate in that time.
Achievement and Honors
Ginger and her husband were known for their generosity and contributions to non-profit organizations across Seattle. Ginger served on numerous boards – Junior League of Seattle, Pacific Science Center Advisory Council and ArtsFund as well as Seattle Foundation and Washington Women’s Foundation membership – donating time, talent and treasure. She played an instrumental role in founding Ackerley Corporate Giving which donated a percentage of revenue directly back to charities.
Her efforts led to the founding of the Seattle Storm, an WNBA franchise established under her direction in 2002. To acknowledge her contribution, in 2012 the Storm honored her by dedicating one wing of their Furtado Center training facility after her. She was also an active member of UW College of Education Advisory Council and donated for an Ackerley Partner School Network Scholarship Award that supports undergraduate students working on innovative team projects that meet community needs.
Ginger Ackerley was an outstanding philanthropist with an admirable commitment to early learning and improving teaching quality. She pioneered Ackerley Corporate Giving, allocating a portion of Ackerley’s gross revenues towards charitable organizations. Additionally, Ginger served on various boards including Pacific Science Center, ArtsFund and Washington Women’s Foundation as a member.
She co-founded and owned the Seattle Storm of the Women’s National Basketball Association for 18 years with her late husband Barry, living on their 125-acre estate Halftide Farms near Seattle where they enjoyed boating trips in the Northwest as well as summers on San Juan Island and winters in California.
Kim Ackerley Cleworth, Christopher and Ted Ackerley and seven grandchildren including Henry, Atty, Charlie, Anabelle, Benjamin Hunter Ashley are left to mourn her.
Ginger Ackerley amassed her net worth through both business and charitable work. Since moving to Seattle with her husband in 1975, she quickly immersed herself in community volunteerism by starting Ackerley Corporate Giving where a portion of his company profits were donated directly to local charities. Additionally, she served on boards such as Pacific Science Center, ArtsFund, Seattle Foundation Board of Trustees and Washington Women’s Fund.
In 1997, Ginger Ackerley and her husband Barry established the Ginger and Barry Ackerley Foundation with the mission of improving children’s lives in the Northwest. Unfortunately, Ginger passed away at home on January 5 after fighting ovarian cancer for over six years – she is survived by daughter Kim Ackerley Cleworth as well as sons Christopher and Ted Ackerley.