The Influentials: David Abbott

Executive director, The George Gund Foundation

With more than $20 million to dole out each year, David Abbott has some leverage. He’s using it to make Cleveland a little greener. Abbott, who began his career as aPlain Dealer reporter and is a former president of University Circle Inc., now asks every nonprofit that comes to him how it will address climate change. And if you’re planning on a new building or expansion, don’t bother asking for money unless you’re building green. Abbott’s ultimate goal? To make Cleveland the brainy, artsy, engaging urban center we need to be to compete nationally. To that end, the foundation’s biggest gifts last year included $1.2 million to the Gordon Square Arts District in the Detroit Shoreway neighborhood, $1 million to University Circle Inc. for its Euclid Gateway Vision Project and $750,000 to the Great Lakes Theater Festival.

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