Fundraising force Jean Shafiroff is known for taking the charities she supports to the next level. As a past Chair of the Southampton Hospital and continuing Chair of Southampton Animal Shelter galas, she has raised record breaking amounts. She boosts recognition for the New York Women’s Foundation by hosting a yearly luncheon. In fact, the mark she makes for those she champions is significant enough that she was prompted to write an inspirational, how-to book, “Successful Philanthropy: How to Make a Life By What You Give.” In recent years, Jean has thrown her passion into the New York City Mission Society. Wednesday night, at their benefit in the Mandarin Oriental that she chaired, she spoke of the first time she saw the Mission townhouse in Harlem.
“Four years ago on a very hot August day,” Shafiroff remembered, “I had left Southampton, where we are involved with the community, came to New York and did a tour of the Minisink Townhouse.” That tour still stands out to Shafiroff. “And what I saw literally blew me away. The children are engaged in recreational and educational activities,” she noted. “It wasn’t a camp. There was no swimming pool, but Mission had provided a home away from home for these children during the hot summer months, when most children were out playing in backyards or at summer camps or in Southampton.” After her visit, she knew she had to support the organization. “So, when I left I said, ‘I don’t have a choice. This is where I have to become involved. This charity is changing lives.’ So today, I am a proud board member.”
For more than 200 years, the New York City Mission Society has served the underserved. Today, their work is focused on the African-American and Latino populations in Harlem and the Bronx.
“Mission is about giving them an opportunity to somehow set their feet on a level playing field,” emcee Bill Ritter said. “Because we know the playing field for so many people in New York City is unloved, bumpy and full of roadblocks. In the end the kids are all that matter. One of the candidates likes to say the American Dream is dead,” the WABC-TV News Anchor continued. “It’s not dead. It’s just not available to everybody as it should be. And that’s why we’re here tonight.”
The ever gracious Executive Director of New York City Mission Society Elsie MCCabe Thompson spoke, as did her husband, former City Comptroller, chairman of the Battery Park City Authority and Mayoral candidate William C. Thompson Jr. The evening honored Arturo O’Farrill, Founder & Artistic Director, Afro Latin Jazz Alliance. Former Chancellor of the New York City Board of Education Dr. Rudolph F. Crew, now President of Medgar Evers College/CUNY, was the Keynote Speaker. The Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra entertained. Former Governor David Paterson, Mary Galda, Francine LeFrak and Rick Friedberg were among the evening’s supporters.
Honorary Chairs included Fiona and Stanley Druckenmiller, Colbert Narcisse, Katrina and Don Peebles, with Stifel Financial Corp as Corporate Chair. Gala Committee members included Peggy and John Bader, Missy Kilroy and Jay Moorhead, Leah and Stanley Rumbough, Yemi and Patrick Vatel, and Brooke Laing was Auction Chair. The Benefit Committee featured Flo Anthony, The Bernard and Anne Spitzer Charitable Trust, BNY Mellon, Geoffrey Bradfield, Dr. Rudolph F. Crew, Scott Elkins, Georgette Bennett and Leonard Polonsky Family Fund and Shannon Hales.
Shafiroff’s parting words to the room said it all: “When you leave tonight I want you to leave with one thing. That you came to a gala that was changing the lives of the most underserved population in New York City. You are making a difference in lives.”
For more information, visit www.nycmissionsociety.org.