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About Don Terner

Ian Donald Terner, known simply among colleagues, friends and family as Don, was a true social entrepreneur who had enormous impact on the field of affordable housing. An architect who held three academic degrees from Harvard University, Don devoted his life to providing housing for those in need but approached the problem from many unique vantage points.

Ian Donald Terner, known simply among colleagues, friends and family as Don, was a true social entrepreneur who had enormous impact on the field of affordable housing. An architect who held three academic degrees from Harvard University, Don devoted his life to providing housing for those in need but approached the problem from many unique vantage points.

Don died tragically on April 3, 1996, in a plane crash with U.S. Secretary of Commerce Ron Brown and 31 others. His legacy of building large volumes of quality affordable housing will be carried on by BRIDGE and by all of the other nonprofits, government agencies and individuals he inspired over the years.

For Don, success lay in social entrepreneurship: inspiring all sectors of society, and all people, to make their best contribution to bettering their community. As Don used to say, BRIDGE is committed to doing "whatever it takes," whether it's new financing strategies, improved building techniques or more inventive approaches to planning. He instilled a sense of innovation and drive that remains strong to this day throughout BRIDGE.

But Don was not only a builder; he was a passionate man who touched the lives of friends and family members. Don was inducted posthumously into the National Housing Hall of Fame in Washington, D.C. for his many achievements in the field of affordable housing.  Don was also included in the Urban Land Institute's Leadership Legacies: Lessons Learned from Ten Real Estate Legends, which profiles visionary leaders that have had tremendous influence and impact on the built environment.

Below is the video A Miracle a Day, which depicts the life and accomplishments of Don Terner.


Donald Terner Residency Program

The I. Donald Terner Residency Program honors the spirit of Don Terner and inspires a new generation of social leaders. The Terner Resident serves a two-year fellowship in the San Francisco office of BRIDGE Housing. It is an excellent opportunity for experience and training with California’s largest nonprofit developer of affordable homes for working families and seniors. Learn about past Terner Residents, their experience at BRIDGE Housing, and where the Residency has led their lives and careers.

The application cycle for the Terner Residency is currently closed. If you wish to receive a notification when the next application cycle opens, please email your name and contact details to info@bridgehousing.com.