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Jay Hollyfield was a native Houstonian who attended Lamar High School and later the University of Texas. An avid traveler, Jay spent his early years dabbling in acting, first in New York, then in Europe. Like his father, Jay became an entrepreneur and successful businessman. In the years to follow Jay owned and operated many businesses that catered to the Houston gay community. His properties included both historical landmarks and popular gay destinations in Montrose and Midtown. His pride and joy is the Hollyfield Building which is now Uptown Lofts and before Hollyfield’s purchase, the Depelchin Children’s Home.


A well-known, colorful Montrose resident known for his adventures and well-resourced life style, Jay lived life grand. Jay was a patron of the fine arts, his true love. He was involved with the Westheimer Art Festival from its inception in 1972 until his death in 1994. He installed a board that would keep true to his vision, an arts festival for the community. Today the Bayou City Art Festival is bigger and more successful than ever, raising hundreds of thousands each year for the art community and other charity partners.


Jay was a champion of gay and lesbian causes. Politically he wanted to further the cause by uniting the community. Securing equal rights for gays and lesbians became his passion. He was also interested in the health issues that faced the gay and lesbian community, especially HIV/AIDS. He was instrumental in founding the Sarcoma Committee which today is AIDS Foundation Houston and was an early supporter of the Montrose Clinic, now known as Legacy Community Health Services.


In 1988 at the request of the Human Rights Campaign Fund, Jay and a few of his friends hosted a dinner in the wine cellar at Tony’s as a fund raiser. It became known as the Houston Black Tie Dinner, a charitable foundation that raised funds for local and national organizations committed to enriching the LGBT community. Named after Jay for his hard work and dedication to the LGBT community, the Hollyfield Political Award, was presented at the Black Tie Dinner honoring that person for their political activism within the community.


Jay Hollyfield died of AIDS-related conditions in 1994. At his request the Hollyfield Foundation was founded. Its purpose is to help secure equal rights and treatment for sexual minorities and be an advocate in the fight against AIDS. Today the board is comprised of friends and community leaders that share these philosophies. 

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