CLEVELAND — George Gund Foundation President David Abbott is stepping down from his position after almost two decades, and the philanthropic organization has already named his successor.
Lorain native Anthony Richardson has been named the Gund Foundation's next leader. The former city councilman and chair of his hometown's academic distress commission is currently executive director of The Nord Family Foundation and holds degrees from Oberlin College and the Ohio State University’s Michael E. Moritz College of Law.
"I have a deep reverence for the Gund Foundation’s leadership and its values-driven, innovative approach," Richardson said in a statement. "I am thrilled to be moving into this new role."
Richardson, who overcame poverty while growing up in Lorain County, will be the foundation's first Black president. 3News' Margaret Bernstein, who sits on the group's board of trustees, lauded his selection.
"Tony, a 38-year-old African-American man with a career of advocating for racial equity, brings an extraordinary set of skills to the Gund Foundation," she said. "He will be a transformative leader."
Richardson's predecessor, Abbott, was honored Wednesday during a retirement celebration at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland. A former Plain Dealer reporter and county administrator, the 69-year-old first announced his intention to leave back in February, with Board Chair Catherine Gund praising his "patient and steady moral leadership" since 2003.
"I look forward to welcoming Tony to the foundation and to ensuring a smooth transition," Abbott said Wednesday. "With the experience he has had at Nord, I expect that he will hit the ground running."
The George Gund Foundation was founded by George Gund II in 1952 and has been run by the family ever since. It is currently the second-largest charitable organization in Northeast Ohio, behind only the Cleveland Foundation.