Franklin A. Thomas, who rose from working-class Brooklyn to become, as president of the Ford Foundation, the first Black person to run a major American philanthropic organization, died on Wednesday December 22 2021 night at his home in Manhattan. He was 87. Franklin Augustine Thomas was born in Bedford-Stuyvesant on May 27, 1934. Though he grew up in a tight-knit family of immigrants from Barbados. A star basketball player in high school, Mr. Thomas was offered a number of college sports scholarships, but he turned them down for a chance to go to Columbia on an academic scholarship. Mr. Thomas graduated in 1956 and spent four years in the Air Force before returning to Columbia for law school. He received his law degree in 1963. He worked for a year on housing law for the federal government and another year with the U.S. attorney’s office in Manhattan before joining the New York Police Department as a deputy commissioner. New York’s two U.S. senators, Robert F. Kennedy and Jacob K. Javits, urged him to become the first president of the newly formed Bedford-Stuyvesant Restoration Corporation. His success in Brooklyn soon gave him a national reputation as a pragmatic, persuasive leader, and over the next several decades he joined a number of corporate boards, including those of Cummins, Citibank, CBS and Lucent. Mr. Thomas left the Bedford-Stuyvesant corporation in 1977 to enter private law practice and to work on a farm he had bought in upstate New York. By then his first marriage, to Dawn Conrada, had ended in divorce. For a time he dated the feminist leader Gloria Steinem, and they remained close. Mr. Thomas is survived by his second wife, Kate Whitney; his sons, Kyle and Keith; his daughters, Kerrie Thomas-Armstrong and Hilary Thomas-Lakee; his stepchildren, Andrea Haddad, Lulie Haddad and Laura Whitney-Thomas; 16 grandchildren; and four great-grandchildren. * Consultant, The Study Group -- 2005 to present. * Consultant, TFF Study Group -- 1996 to 2005. * President, The Ford Foundation -- 1979 to 1996. * Private practice of law -- 1977 to 1979. * President, Bedford-Stuyvesant Restoration Corporation -- 1967 to 1977. * Director of Citigroup (or predecessor) since 1970. * Other Directorships: Alcoa Inc. (Lead Director). * Other Activities: September 11th Fund (Chairman 12/31/05), Friends of the Nelson Mandela Children's Fund (USA) (Trustee), Friends of the Constitutional Court of South Africa (USA) (member), Greentree Foundation (Trustee), and United Nations Fund for International Partnerships (member).