Our Staff

Matt Zone

Senior Vice President and Director of Thriving Communities

Matt Zone oversees Western Reserve Land Conservancy’s Thriving Communities program, 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 two decades. 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. 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 offshore wind generation in Lake Erie. Matt currently serves on the board of Vibrant NEO2040, Black Environmental Leaders Association, Cleveland Neighborhood Progress, Neighborhood Veterans Association, and Italian American Museum of Cleveland.

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.