David Cooley, hailing from Ohio and armed with a degree in Hotel Management from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, packed up and moved out to Los Angeles in 1981. Pursuing a new career in finance, Cooley was a stockbroker for two years before becoming a vice president at Wells Fargo Bank. Shortly thereafter in 1991, Cooley set out on his own, and invested in a small, discreet space in West Hollywood that he renovated into a coffeehouse called The Abbey. After nearly twenty-five years and five expansions The Abbey is more than 14,000 square feet and known as the Best Gay Bar in the World, having won the award twice from Logo.
Cooley is a significant participant in and contributor to the community that has been loyal to The Abbey. His annual Academy Awards viewing party has raised nearly $2,000,000 for AIDS Project Los Angeles. He helped found Gay & Lesbian Elder Housing, which he continues to support every year. David hosts an annual Christmas in September event and toy drive for Children¹s Hospital Los Angeles, which brings in thousands of toys a year for the hospital, when it needs them most.
In 2012, Cooley was selected to join President Obama¹s LGBT Advisory Committee, hosting several fundraising events for the President. Cooley regularly hosts events and fundraisers for openly Gay and Lesbian Candidates for public office. Cooley is known for politically charged stunts. He famously banned Bachelorette Parties from The Abbey until marriage was legal in California, created the Chick-for-Gay sandwich, which raised thousands of dollars for the American Foundation for Equal Rights, the non-profit group fighting Prop 8 in Federal Court, and banned anti-gay state legislators from The Abbey.
Through The Abbey, Cooley supports dozens of LGBT and community groups annually, including OUTfest, LAGLC, Gay Men¹s Chorus, HRC, Pop Luck Club, Raise-A-Child, Trevor Project, GLAAD and more.