Leslie Abell Named Philanthropist of the Year

Leslie Abell of Los Angeles was named 2016 Philanthropist of the Year by the Association of Fundraising Professionals, Greater Los Angeles Chapter, for his longtime support of people with developmental disabilities.

Los Angeles, CA, December 18, 2016 --(PR.com)-- Exceptional Children’s Foundation (ECF) is pleased to announce that Leslie (“Les”) B. Abell of Los Angeles was named as Philanthropist of the Year for 2016 by the Association of Fundraising Professionals, Greater Los Angeles Chapter (AFP).

Mr. Abell was selected for this recognition based on his passion for supporting individuals with developmental disabilities.

“Les’ selfless actions and generous philanthropy has helped empower thousands of children and adults with special needs. ECF is forever grateful for his service as an ethical, impassioned ambassador for the individuals we serve,” says Scott D. Bowling, ECF’s President and CEO, who served alongside Mr. Abell for almost 20 of the organization’s 70-year history.

Inspired from a young age by his sister Patty, who had Down syndrome, Les volunteered at the ECF throughout his school years. After graduating from law school, Les provided countless hours of pro-bono legal services to help ECF secure federal funding for the creation of its first supported residential facility, where adults with developmental disabilities are assisted by on-site staff so they can live as independently as possible.

Mr. Abell went on to serve as ECF’s Board Chairperson twice and as Chair of its Development Committee most recently. He was instrumental in helping establish and execute annual campaigns that raised nearly $2 million over three years. Les also helped raise nearly $1.9 million for ECF’s 70th Anniversary Gala earlier this year. Together with ECF leadership, Mr. Abell has helped grow the organization from an annual operating budget of $4.5 million to $27 million, while the number of children, adults and families served from ECF’s 15 program sites has nearly tripled (from 1,300 to 3,700 children).

AFP recognized Mr. Abell at their National Philanthropy Day Conference, held on the 31st anniversary of the nationwide celebration. Mr. Bowling presented the award to Mr. Abell before an audience of 400 attendees, which including Les’ wife, Nancy Abell of Paul Hastings LLP, their daughters Allison Schwartz and Lauren Windom, and their son-in-laws Matthew Schwartz and Robert Windom, and several of Les’ ECF colleagues: Joan Kardashian and Corinna Fields of SHARE, Inc., ECF Board Chair Shelley I. Smith, and ECF Board Members Fred Alavi, Chell Chelliah, Russell Ching, Scott Cooper, Gene Siciliano and Paul K. Zimmerman.
Exceptional Children's Foundation
Linda Gamberg
Mobile (323) 774-9664