GMHC mourns the loss of Leslie Fay Pomerantz, a long-time volunteer and major donor. In the early years of GMHC (1983-1984), she started volunteering in the Buddy Program, which provided people living with and dying of AIDS with practical and emotional support in their homes and/or hospital rooms.
In addition to being a Buddy, Leslie eventually became a co-leader of her Buddy Team and hosted monthly meetings in her home for volunteers. Buddies would share about their visits with clients and received support when clients died which happened frequently during the early years of the AIDS epidemic. Each Buddy took notes about their visits with clients, which Leslie kept for many years.
She would do whatever it took to help people living with and dying of AIDS. She was adamant about being hands-on and was not hesitant to visit clients when others were afraid. In fact, she would sit with clients in hospitals and hold them as they died.
When GMHC’s clients began to live longer with HIV, she would greet clients when they came for lunch and dinner service in our dining room. Clients would look forward to seeing Leslie daily at the receptionist desk.
Leslie was a generous financial supporter for decades and underwrote events such as GMHC’s annual Art & AIDS exhibitions which featured the artwork of artists living with HIV/AIDS. Her generosity went beyond what was publicly known and included privately sponsoring other fundraisers. She would also participate in the annual AIDS Walk New York by walking with volunteers and friends, while raising funds.
We extend our tender thoughts to her sons, Andy Gross and Ricky Coff, and her entire family and friends.