Franklin Augustine (Frank) Thomas (born May 27, 1934) is an American businessman and philanthropist who was president and CEO of the Ford Foundation[1] from 1979 until 1996.[2] Since leaving the foundation, Thomas has continued to serve in leadership positions in American corporations and has been on the board of the TFF Study Group, a nonprofit institution assisting development in South Africa[3] since 2005. Thomas was Chairman of the nonprofit organization September 11 Fund since 2001[2][3] and has been involved the Friends of the Nelson Mandela Children's Fund.


Thomas graduated from Columbia University, where he was a star basketball player and team captain, and the Columbia Law School (the latter in 1963).


Thomas worked as an attorney for the Federal Housing and Home Finance Agency (now HUD) in 1963. Thomas was named Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York in 1964.[3] He later served as Deputy Police Commissioner in Charge of Legal Matters for the New York City Police Department for two years, starting in 1965;[3] he was the first African-American to hold the position.[1] Thomas was the first president and chief executive officer of Bedford Stuyvesant Restoration Corporation, a non-profit community development corporation, from 1967–1977.[4]

Board of directorsEdit

In their article published in the Journal of Leadership, Accountability and Ethics, Fowler, Fronmueller and Schifferdecker argued that Thomas was one of eight Citigroup Inc.,[2] directors who served on interlocking directorates.[5]:28

Thomas has served on the board of directors of Cummins, Inc., Lucent Technologies, Inc., Alcoa[2] CBS and PepsiCo, Inc.


  1. ^ a b Roberts, Sam (2016-03-21). "U.C.L.A. Center on Police-Community Ties Will Move to John Jay College". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2016-12-14.
  2. ^ a b c d Potter, Joan (2009-11-24). African American Firsts: Famous Little-Known and Unsung Triumphs of Blacks in America. Dafina Books. pp. 104–. ISBN 978-0-7582-4166-5. Retrieved 5 May 2011.
  3. ^ a b c d "Mr. Franklin A. Thomas". United Nations Office for Partnerships. Retrieved 4 September 2014.
  4. ^ Spellen, Suzanne (May 24, 2011). "Bed Stuy Brooklyn History". Brownstoner. Retrieved October 27, 2016.
  5. ^ Fowler, Karen L.; Fronmueller, Michael; Schifferdecker, Jane O. (2014). "Mapping Interlocking Directorates: Citigroup's Eight Links with the Mortgage Crisis" (PDF). Journal of Leadership, Accountability and Ethics. 11 (1): 26–33.