Matt Zone (LC 2007)
Senior VP and Director of Thriving Communities, Western Reserve Land Conservancy
Matt Zone oversees the Western Reserve Land Conservancy’s Thriving Communities initiative where he works with cities and community organizations throughout Ohio to transform vacant, unsafe and unproductive properties into useful ones. In the process, communities are finding new opportunities to attract economic growth, add green space and support safe, beautiful neighborhoods.
Prior to joining the Land Conservancy, Matt served as a Cleveland City Councilman for nearly two decades, representing Ward 15, which includes the Cudell, Detroit Shoreway, Edgewater and Ohio City neighborhoods. He brings a wealth of experience in strategic planning, land use, public art and environmental policy with the purpose of creating positive change for Northeast Ohio. With a background in Urban Planning, and a commitment to social equity, his work engages diverse community stakeholders, to inform and support sustainable community development goals.
Matt is recognized nationally, regionally and locally as a leader on environmental and arts & cultural issues. In 2017, he served as the President of the National League of Cities, the nation’s oldest and largest organization representing 19,000 cities, towns and villages, serving more than 218 million Americans. Regionally, Matt is a former past President of the Northeast Ohio City Council Association (NOCCA) and one of the original members of the Great Lakes Energy Development Task Force, which is working to create off-shore wind generation in Lake Erie. He also served on the steering committee of the Regional Prosperity Initiative (RPI) which advocated for the creation of a “Smart Growth” plan and “Revenue Sharing” for Northeast Ohio. Matt currently serves on the board of Vibrant NEO 2040.
Born on February 14th in the City of Cleveland, OH, and raised by middle-class parents, Matt was taught the values of hard work and civic responsibility at an early age. Matt is a graduate of Cleveland State University, married to Michelle, and they have a son, who is a Cleveland Police detective.