Trustee: Wendy Ackerman

Wendy Ackerman energetic about philanthropy

She takes a direct and personal interest and role in what is good for South Africa and South Africans.

Fanie Heyns

Wendy Ackerman is one of the founders and an executive director of Pick ‘n Pay Stores. She is also patron of the 1000 Women Trust.

Wendy was instrumental in developing the Pick ‘n Pay-brand, particularly its social responsibility ethic. She worked tirelessly to mould Pick ‘n Pay into a socially responsible retailer. In the 1970’s, the Ackerman family established their first philanthropic venture, the Ackerman Family Educational Trust.

Today, some of Wendy’s boundless energy is devoted to her family’s philanthropic endeavours and her personal work for the underprivileged.

She was at the forefront when the 1000 Women 1 Voice initiative was birthed in 2004, culminating in the formation of the 1000 Women Trust.

Wendy was one of the founding members of the 1000 Women United Against Domestic Violence Initiative and said she believed every South African should get involved in this initiative.

The initiative cuts across cultural, economic and class divides and provides a platform for women and men to stand together and to speak out against domestic violence, abuse and rape in the local communities.

The Trust aims at making resources available to provide access to skills and leadership capacity building. It also provides financial aid to women-led organisations that provide support to communities.

Ackerman is a board member of the Aids Foundation, a trustee of the Cape Town Opera Trust, Life Governor of the University of Cape Town Foundation and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Art.

She takes a direct and personal interest and role in what is good for South Africa and South Africans.

On receiving an Inyathelo Award for family philanthropy at the end of 2007, Wendy Ackerman said: “We have several foundations in the family, but my particular interest has always been education – giving bursaries to those in need, and this has been going on for over 30 years. If I was asked what South Africans can do in philanthropy, I would say that everybody can be a philanthropist. It’s a very fancy word for helping your neighbour. The more you give, the more you get back,” she said.

Wendy has a passion for perfection and has to do things now and do them well. She is no stranger to long working days – often starting her day at 06h45 and finishing at 23h00.

On the question of whether women must work harder to be recognized, she says she always worked harder. In the early days she was not recognized and acknowledged and was only a so-called guest at the board. She had to fight and work hard and was rewarded with a directorship in 1981.

Wendy loves reading and gardening and listening to music, but with her hectic schedule she has little time to indulge in her passions. She has a big family, 4 children and 12 grandchildren and tries to spend as much time with them as possible. (Source: