Leonard and Jayne Abess

NET WORTH: Unknown 

SOURCE OF WEALTH: City National Bank of Florida

FUNDING AREAS: Education & Youth, Arts & Culture, Human Services & Health, Environment, Jewish Causes

OVERVIEW: Leonard Abess, his wife Jayne, and family conduct their philanthropy through the Jayne and Leonard Abess Foundation, which gave away around $432,000 in a recent year. The family has strongly supported University of Miami and other educational causes, largely in South Florida. Other interests include the environment and the arts.

BACKGROUND: Leonard L. Abess Jr. graduated from Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. He served as CEO and chairman of City National Bank of Florida and chairman, CEO and president of City National Bancshares.


EDUCATION & YOUTH: The Abesses made a $5 million gift to the University of Miami, naming the Leonard and Jayne Abess Center for Ecosystem Science and Policy (CESP). Abess is on the board of University of Miami and the family continues to steadily support the school. Miami Country Day School is an important site of philanthropy and home to the Abess Center for Environmental Studies. Other grantees have included University of Pennsylvania, Junior League of Miami (Jayne was once president), and Experience Aviation, a “nonprofit organization that utilizes aviation to build STEM skills in students and direct them toward careers in aviation and other STEM-related fields.”

ARTS & CULTURE: Jayne is a longtime weaver with a strong interest in the arts. The family has supported New York Botanical Garden, New York Academy of Art, Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden (Abess is a trustee), Montgomery Botanical Center, and Miami City Ballet.

HUMAN SERVICES & HEALTH: The couple are among the founders of Mount Sinai Medical Center in Miami; Abess served as its chairman and treasurer of the board. The medical center is home to the Abess Diagnostic Center and the Abess Family Neonatal Intensive Care Center. Jayne is heavily involved with United Way of Miami-Dade, another grantee. Other grantees have included Goodwill Industries of South Florida (Jayne once chaired the board), and United Cerebral Palsy.

ENVIRONMENT: The couple founded the Abess Floating Research Station in the Brazilian Amazon for the University of Miami Ecosystem Science and Policy Center. Their daughter Ashley is on the board of World Wildlife Fund. Another recent grantee is Rainforest Trust.

JEWISH CAUSES: Grantees have included Temple Israel of Greater Miami, Greater Miami Jewish Federation, and Miami Jewish Health Systems Foundation.

LOOKING FORWARD: Expect the family’s steady giving to continue. The couple’s kids should be watched down the line as their philanthropy develops.


The Jayne and Leonard Abess Foundation does not provide a clear avenue of contact but below is an address:

The Jayne and Leonard Abess Foundation
280 Park Avenue
New York, NY 10017