In Memoriam - Donald H. Elliott

Former National Grid Foundation Board of Director Donald H. Elliott passed away at the age of 89 last December. The Foundation board and staff valued his dedication and years of service.

Don served on National Grid’s predecessor company Brooklyn Union Gas Company’s board of directors and later as KeySpan Energy’s longest serving director. He also was very involved in the renaissance of downtown Brooklyn.

He was an attorney who specialized in land use regulation and real estate finance. While nationally known as a titan in the industry, Don crafted many regulations achieving private investments while protecting public values.

Don was also Counsel to New York City Mayor John V. Lindsay before becoming the Chairman of the New York City Planning Commission. As a visionary master planner, he took a different route than some of his contemporaries – implemented creative plans, sought, and involved the public in decision making and insisted on specific guidelines for the best urban designs. Through legal work and using the planning potential of development rights transfer, Don truly changed the landscape of New York City. During his seven years at the Planning Commission, his important and far-reaching zoning innovations influenced land use regulation across the country.

As an attorney, he worked at several legal firms including Butzel Long, as a partner of Webster & Sheffield, Mudge Rose Guthrie Alexander & Ferdon and Hollyer Brady Smith & Hines.

Eileen Cohen, Chair, National Grid Foundation, said, “The Board and I are saddened to learn of Don’s passing. He was a special person who believed in the Foundation’s mission to create stronger communities for all.”

In addition to National Grid Foundation, he had served on several boards including Long Island University, WNET/Channel 13, The Metropolitan Transportation Authority, and the New York City Hospital Corporation.