Jean Shafiroff co-chairs the 60th anniversary benefit gala for the American Folk Art Museum in New York

ByJames I. Robertson

Apr 21, 2022

The American Folk Art Museum held its 60th anniversary benefit gala at Gotham Hall in New York. Bisa Butler, KAWS and Faith Ringgold were among the artists honored at the event co-chaired by philanthropist Jean Shafiroff.

Honorary President Joyce Berger Cowin has been recognized as AFAM’s most generous donor in the organization’s 60-year history. Over $475,000 was raised for the Museum’s programs, exhibits and educational initiatives following the gala.

“This event will go down in the books as one of the most successful fundraising galas we have hosted,” said Karley Klopfenstein, Director of Development at AFAM. “It was our honor to salute three of the most innovative and inspiring artists of our time, as well as to celebrate Joyce Berger Cowin as the most generous philanthropist in AFAM’s history, and our six decades as the only New York museum dedicated to folk and self-taught artists.

Among the over 300 people in attendance were Jean Shafiroff, Bisa Butler, KAWS, John McEnroe, Serena Altschul, Miss Info, Lee Quinones, Erik Parker, Shaniqua Jarvis, Joe Coleman, Jerry Lauren, Dr Lisa Farrington, Max Anderson, Stephanie Stebich, Elizabeth V. Warren, Laura Parsons, Audrey B. Heckler, Patricia Silverstein, Roy Kean, Lucy and Mike Danziger, Barbara Gordon, Brett Robbins, Gail Wright Sirmans, Laurent Delly, Anne Radice, Andrew Edlin, Matthew Higgs and Marilyn Kirschner. DJ Prince Hakim provided the entertainment.

The co-chairs for the evening were Jean Shafiroff and Martin Shafiroff, Susan Baerwald and Marcy Carsey, Lucy and Mike Danziger, Laurent Delly, Barbara Gordon and Steve Cannon, Gail Wright Sirmans, Elizabeth V. Warren and Irwin Warren, and Steven and Leon Weiss.

Jean Shafiroff commented: “I was delighted to support this beautiful evening for the American Folk Art Museum. I congratulate all the winners and thank all the others who worked so hard to make tonight a success! “. During Joyce Berger Cowin’s speech, Joyce spoke about Jean Shafiroff’s hard work and tireless efforts in philanthropy.



The American Folk Art Museum

The American Folk Art Museum engages people of all backgrounds through its collections, exhibitions, publications, and programs as the primary forum shaping the understanding and appreciation of folk and self-taught art across time and space.

John Shafiroff

Jean Shafiroff is a philanthropist, humanitarian, television host, writer and author of the book “Successful Philanthropy: How to Make a Life By What You Give”. Jean is often referred to as the “first lady of philanthropy” by the press because of her generosity and her extensive work as a volunteer fundraiser and leader in the world of philanthropy. She sits on the board of many charities and chairs more than eight different charity galas each year. Among the many causes she champions are those involved in women’s rights, the rights of the underserved, health care and animal welfare.

Related: Ailey’s Spring Gala Virtual Stream Kicks Off Celebrating Hope, Promise and Future

Jean serves on the boards of American Humane, Southampton Hospital Association, NYC Mission Society, French Heritage Society, Couture Council of the Museum at FIT, Global Strays, New York Women’s Foundation , Casita Maria and the Southampton Animal Shelter Foundation Board of Honor. A Catholic, she served on the board of the Jewish Council for 28 years and is now one of their honorary trustees.

Additionally, Jean is an American Humane Ambassador and national spokesperson for the organization’s Covid-19 “Feed the Hungry” program, an initiative designed to provide food for 1,000,000 shelter animals. Jean is the Ambassador for the Southampton Animal Shelter Foundation and a key donor and volunteer fundraiser for their work. She is an alumnus of the New York Women’s Foundation Board who remains very active with the Foundation and with women’s issues in general.

For her philanthropy, Jean has been honored multiple times by groups such as the Samuel Waxman Cancer Research Foundation, Health Advocates for Older Adults, Stony Brook Southampton Hospital, American Heart Association, American Cancer Society, New York City Mission Society, Southampton Animal Shelter, Surgeons of Hope, Al Sharpton’s National Action Network, Ellen Hermanson Foundation, Pet Philanthropy Circle, Animal Zone International, Youth Counseling League, NYC International Film Festival Foundation, Jewish Board, and Hadassah. In December 2020, Dan’s Paper named her Philanthropist of the Year at the Long Island Power Women’s Awards ceremony.

Jean is the producer and host of the television show “Successful Philanthropy” which airs six times a week from LTV studios in East Hampton, NY, as well as in New York on Manhattan Neighborhood Network (MNN): Spectrum Channel 34 and 1995, Verizon/FiOS Channel 33 and RCN Channel 82. The show will open in other markets in 2021. In his television program, Jean interviews an eclectic mix of world leaders in philanthropy as well as actors, artists , business and civic leaders, and even a US presidential candidate.

Photo credit: 1) Jean Shafiroff, Elizabeth V. Warren, Gail Wright Sirmans, Kaws, Barbara Gordon.jpg
0 Jean Shafiroff, Elizabeth V. Warren, Gail Wright Sirmans, Karbara Gordon. 2) John Shafiroff. 3) Kaws. 4) Bisa Butler, Gail Wright Sirmans. 5) John McEnroe. 6) Karley Klopfenstein, Elizabeth V. Warren. 7) Anne Radice, Stephanie Stebich. 8) Marilyn Kirschner. 9) Andrew Edlin, Valerie Rousseau, John McEnroe. 10) Jean Shafiroff, Patricia Silverstein, Audrey Heckler. 11) Laurent Delly.


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