Jerry was first elected to the Foundation Board of Directors in 1976 and served as the group's Chairman from 1989-1992. In 2006, in recognition of his service to the board, Jerry was elected to the position of Trustee Emeritus. He actively served on the Investment Committee, chairing the group, from 1989 through 2009. G. William Miller, one of the founding members of the Coast Guard Foundation and a former Treasury Secretary and Federal Reserve Chairman, recruited Jerry to serve on the Foundation's board.
"Jerry is just a wonderful person," said John Sargent, a former Coast Guard Foundation President who worked with Jerry during his time on the board. "He expanded our field of vision, and Jerry was chairman the first time the Foundation raised over a million dollars."
Jerry was instrumental in establishing the boat donation program for the United States Coast Guard Academy Sailing Team. A World War II Naval officer and avid sailor, he recognized the need at the Academy for a robust sailing program. The sailing program remains one of the cornerstones of an Academy education to this day, hailed by senior officers and cadets alike as a crucial learning experience.
"I've always had great admiration for the Coast Guard," said Jerry. "The quality of young people that go to the Academy is just amazing. Every time I visited the Academy and saw the caliber of young people there, I left feeling inspired."
Jerry said he is honored to accept the Coast Guard Foundation Rescuer Award, and looked back on his involvement with the organization with great fondness.
"Boy it's been just a great thing," he said.
Soon after Jerry came onboard, he brought his business savvy to the Foundation's Investment Committee, which he led for many years during his tenure. He played a key role in transitioning the management of the Foundation's endowment portfolio to professional investment advisors, despite the fact that the endowment was under the usual minimum dollar amount for such investments.
Drawing upon his business acumen, Jerry was instrumental in turning the Coast Guard Foundation's 300-acre property in Stonington, Conn. into an investment opportunity. After learning that there was a group trying to build a golf course, Jerry helped negotiate a long-term lease with the Stonington Country Club with the understanding that no land would be sold. Proceeds from the lease fund Academy projects, and gives the Academy golf team a home course.
"We felt this was a long term investment for the Coast Guard — we felt no one should ever sell it," Jerry said.
Jerry received the Coast Guard's Distinguished Public Service Award in 1992 in recognition for his contributions to the foundation and his support for the service. The Coast Guard Foundation honored Blakeley at its 1999 Annual Salute to the United States Coast Guard in New York City.
As a titan of the commercial real estate business, Jerry revolutionized commercial development in the 1950s and left his stamp on the City of Boston, building such landmarks as 60 State Street, 28 State Street, 1 Boston Place and many other projects throughout the country. Jerry has served as a leader in countless philanthropic efforts, including the Boys and Girls Club of America, the United Way of Boston, the New England Aquarium, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution as well as serving on the boards of many colleges and universities.
Jerry is the father of four sons and one daughter. He and his wife of 30 years, Dr. Tenley Albright Blakeley, live in Boston.