May 1999

Michael Gross

by Stephanie TABER

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Michael Gross returned to his native Buffalo three years ago after living and working in Rochester for 25 years. He took the position as Executive Director at Heritage Centers, one of the largest providers of programs for individuals with disabilities in Erie County.

He grew up in Kenmore, where he graduated from Kenmore West High School. He received a bachelors degree from Hobart College and a masters degree from New York University.

After starting his career in social work at the New York State School of Industry, Michael moved into the field of Developmental Disabilities in 1972, when he joined the Monroe Developmental Disabilities Services Office (DDSO), now the Finger Lakes DDSO. This agency is an arm of the New York State Office of Mental Retardation (OMRDD). While with OMRDD, Michael has held positions of Treatment Team Leader, Chief of Community Services, Director of Planning and Program Development and finally, Coordinator of the Home and Community Based Services Waiver Program. In these last three capacities he worked closely with private agencies to develop new and exciting opportunities to benefit the consumers and their families.

Over the past three years, Mr. Gross has brought a wealth of program creativity as well as a sound financial expertise to Heritage Centers. As Executive Director, he sees his role as offering leadership to an agency dedicated to providing meaningful programs these individuals deserve, within the framework of the financial climate of our times.

Michael is very active in the community. Among his current commitments are the board of directors of the Private Industry Council; co-chair of the Strategic Alliance for Children; Western district representative of the Executive Director’s Association of NYSARC, Inc.; and the steering committee of the United Way’s Day of Caring. Michael is also a member of the Leadership Buffalo class of 1999.

An avid, long-time Bills and Sabres fan, Mike loves to take long walks and spends most of his free time reading and listening to all kinds of music.

Michael and his wife Nancy reside in Amherst. He has two children; Heidi, 26, of Charlotte, North Carolina and Adam, 22, a graduate student at SUNY Binghamton.


Stephanie Taber is a freelance writer.


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