Daniel and Karin Akerson

NET WORTH: Unknown

SOURCE OF WEALTH: General Motors, Carlyle Group, other  

FUNDING AREAS: Education & Youth Services, Environment, Human Services

OVERVIEW: Daniel Akerson, his wife Karin, and family give through the Blue Earth Foundation, which supports education, children, and the environment, particularly in the Washington, D.C., area. 

BACKGROUND: Born in California and raised in Minnesota, Daniel F. Akerson earned a B.S.E.E. from the U.S. Naval Academy and an M.Sc. in economics from the London School of Economics. Akerson served as chairman, CEO or president of several major companies, including The Carlyle Group, General Instrument, MCI, Nextel and XO Communications. He was also chairman and CEO of General Motors.

ISSUES:

HUMAN SERVICES: Akerson and family, via their foundation, have supported Bread for the City and Capital Area Food Bank. 

EDUCATION & YOUTH: Grantees include Children’s Chorus of Washington; Phoenix Bikes, which “educates youth, promotes bicycling, and builds community”; and Horton's Kids, which empowers children in under-resourced D.C. communities.

ENVIRONMENT: The family has helped fund Naturebridge, which supports educational programs in Prince William Forest Park and Shenandoah National Park. 

LOOKING FORWARD: Akerson retired from GM a few years ago, after Karin was diagnosed with advanced-stage cancer. While cancer research does not seem to have been a priority of the foundation’s recent grantmaking, perhaps this will change down the line. The couple’s children are heavily involved with the foundation, including Foundation Executive Director Gretchen Akerson, a lawyer.

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