October 2023 Donor Spotlight - David and Lesley Cohn

What could be better than getting together with family to share in the things you love? Whether it’s music, movies, fine dining, or sporting events, enjoying something together makes it even more meaningful. “If we’re not working, we’re pretty much spending time with family,” said David Cohn. David and his wife Lesley have two kids and five grandchildren, and they own and operate Cohn Restaurant Group — which they describe as something of a family itself —including local names like The Prado, Corvette Diner, and Island Prime. “Our one diversion is our love of music,” said David, “and we couldn’t be happier with The Rady Shell.” Lesley and David are also members of the San Diego Symphony’s family of donors and provide great support for the programming at The Rady Shell at Jacobs Park.

Through their business and family foundation, Lesley and David support hundreds of organizations from little league teams to cancer research, arts and culture, and food and community service. David formerly served as Commissioner for the California Travel and Tourism Commission, and currently sits on the board of Meals on Wheels. “When people think of doing a fundraiser, they contact restaurants, and so we are happy to help organizations raise money.” By supporting the San Diego Symphony, Lesley and David help ensure that the joy of music is accessible to people of all means throughout the community and beyond.

One of the things Lesley and David appreciate most about The Rady Shell is the variety of musical artists and genres it presents. “We have a pretty wide taste,” said David. “We like rock’n’roll, country western, mariachi, jazz, and pop.” In the last year, they have enjoyed seeing Bonnie Raitt, John Legend, Alicia Keys, and Van Morrison, just to name a few. “We have this world-class music venue in a gorgeous setting, which seems to be growing all the time with the variety of music and breadth of offerings, which has been wonderful to see,” David said. “Whoever is doing the programming is doing a great job, and I’m sure the upcoming schedules will continue to be amazing.”

There is an alignment between restaurants and concert venues. It’s the classic combination of dinner and a show. “We like to say that people celebrate their lives in restaurants, and I think that is true for concerts as well,” said David. “I ask everybody I run into if they’ve been to The Rady Shell, and we’ve taken a couple of friends who have never been just to experience these magical nights on San Diego Bay.”


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