Anyone who has ever had a pet understands why the Southampton Animal Shelter Foundation dubs its gala the Unconditional Love Dinner Dance and why the Shelter is a labor of love for all who support it.
Chair Emeritus Susan Allen is the angel who started the Shelter. Chairwoman Jean Shafiroff catapulted the gala into a top tony event. Chairman of the Board Jonathan McCann keeps the Shelter among the top 10 percent in the country. Georgina Bloomberg, who wrote the introduction to Shafiroff’s Successful Philanthropy, as well as WNBC’s Chuck Scarborough and wife Ellen also put their heart and soul into the Shelter’s mission. And Jill Rappaport flew ten hours from taping her new television series on Animal Planet to attend.
Jean’s husband Martin Shafiroff – a loving “father” to their two shelter pit bulls – supports his wife and daughter Elizabeth’s efforts. It was Jean who transformed the Shelter’s original casual cocktail party into a glamorous dinner dance, raising the millions that helps keep it going. Daughter Elizabeth Shafiroff was the gala’s Junior Chair.
US Representative Carolyn Maloney, John and Margo Catsimatidis, Lady Liliana Cavendish, Gregory and Kim Renk Dryer, Sony Schotland, Candy and Mark Udell, Howard Lorber, Alex Donner, Southampton Village Mayor Mark Epley, new Councilman John Bouvier and Anna Throne-Holst were among the luminaries who dined and danced to Alex Donner’s band.
Wendy Wegner was Auction Chair, and Cliff Knight is the Shelter’s Vice President. Marketing Director Kate McEntee spearheads the Junior Group with Elizabeth Shafiroff, Phil Piro Jr., among others. Board member Robert Lohman did the decor.
The Honorary Corporate Chairs for the Unconditional Love Gala included Allen & Company, Bloomberg Philanthropies, Ferguson Cohen, LLP, and Stifel Financial Corp.
The evening honored El Faro de los Animales, including Board Member David Brownstein and New York Branch President, Julie Sinaw. El Faro works to save abandoned dogs and cats in Puerto Rico and has partnered with the SASF towards that end.
Strong supporters since its inception, Chuck Scarborough emceed and with wife Ellen, worked the room. He enumerated the Shelter’s accomplishments in the past year, including placing 94 percent of the animals in its care, 800 to 1,000 in the last year alone. “The Shelter’s spay and neuter van did 1,300 procedures last year,” he said. “It will more than double it this year. The Shelter Wellness Plan did 350 procedures last year. This year there are practically more than 1,000. Your Shelter launched a trap, neuter and release program for feral cats in the Southampton area. And, right now, 375 proud tom cats are singing soprano!”
SASF also works with the Mayor’s Alliance in New York City, rescuing dogs in death row in city shelters, and they have been partnering with the evening’s honorees, El Faro de los Animales to save those animals as well.
Chairwoman Jean Shafiroff, who with her daughter Elizabeth, has conducted their own rescue missions under the banner Global Strays in Costa Rico, Nicaragua, and Panama City, echoed the sentiments around the room: “We are here for those who cannot talk for themselves, the animals.”
For more information about Southampton Animal Shelter, call 631-728-7387 or visit www.southamptonanimalshelter.com.