Kevin Gaughan, who conceived this project as a way of strengthening Buffalo’s Olmsted parks and increasing vocational training for urban youth, is a local civic leader and nationally-known expert in government reform and community renewal. For his efforts to improve local governance and preserve Buffalo’s heritage, The Buffalo News has called Kevin “the conscience of our community.”
Kevin is a graduate of Harvard University, Georgetown University Law School, and he studied international relations at The London School of Economics. He is the author of At First Light: Strengthening Buffalo Niagara in the New Century, and he’s written and spoken throughout the nation on governance, Buffalo’s history and community renewal. His civic work has been profiled in USA Today, The Yale Law Journal, and the international radio station, Voice of America.
As a lifelong student of the work of Frederick Law Olmsted, Kevin devised his restoration, recreation and education plan in 2014. With the assistance of his late brother, Vincent, an executive for a Nicklaus-affiliated company in Russia, he approached Jack Nicklaus with his plan to help lift Buffalo’s inner city. Without hesitation, Jack graciously agreed to participate.
As well, Kevin enlisted the assistance of his friend, John Thornton, Chairman of The Brookings Institution in Washington, DC, and retired president of Goldman Sachs. John is guiding project fundraising efforts.
The Buffalo News and The League of Women Voters of New York State have both named Kevin an Outstanding Citizen of the Year. He is the youngest recipient ever of the Red Jacket Medal, presented by the Buffalo and Erie County Historical Society for civic leadership.
Kevin is an attorney, adjunct professor of history and government at Daemen College, and a resident of Buffalo’s Elmwood Village. He’s an avid runner, tennis player and was United States Youth Sailing champion.