amfAR Dedicates Andelson Office of Public Policy
At a dedication ceremony in Washington, D.C., on October 3, amfAR, The Foundation for AIDS Research, inaugurated its Andelson Office of Public Policy. The Office is the home base for amfAR’s influential advocacy program, launched in 1990 with a generous gift from Arlen Andelson and his wife Michele in memory of Arlen’s brother Sheldon.
Sheldon W. Andelson was a founding director of amfAR who died of AIDS-related causes in 1987. A Los Angeles attorney, real estate developer, and investor, he was variously described as a “Democratic Party heavyweight” and “the nation’s most influential gay political figure.” Upon his death, his younger brother Arlen, also a successful attorney and real estate developer, threw himself into the fight against AIDS and joined the amfAR board in 1993.
“We were devastated at amfAR when Arlen died in 2019 because Arlen and Michele had become such good friends and mentors to many of us,” amfAR’s Chief Executive Officer Kevin Robert Frost said. “If there was a silver lining, it was that his daughter Amy has taken up the torch and joined our Board of Trustees.”
Guests at the dedication included Senator Edward Markey, who knew and worked with Sheldon Andelson; Jirair Ratevosian, Acting Chief of Staff at the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief and former Deputy Director of Public Policy at amfAR; and Jane Silver, amfAR’s former Director of Public Policy. They were joined by amfAR staff including Vice President and Director of Public Policy Greg Millett and Dr. Susan Blumenthal, Senior Policy and Medical Advisor.
“Sheldon was a one-man, multi-national public interest movement. It wasn’t just one issue, it was every issue that he cared about,” Sen. Markey said. “It’s my great honor to be here with all of you … and having Arlen and Sheldon’s family be forever identified with this incredible amfAR family that every day works as hard as it is humanly possible to work on an issue.”
“I want to thank all of you here who have worked [at amfAR] past and present,” Arlen’s wife Michele Andelson said. “And I look forward to watching the future and eradicating AIDS.”