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Jean Shafiroff Co-chairs American Folk Art Museum’s 60th Anniversary Benefit Gala

Gala Honored Faith Ringgold, Bisa Butler, Joyce Berger Cowin, & Kaws

The American Folk Art Museum hosted its 60th Anniversary Benefit Gala at Gotham Hall in New York City. Bisa Butler, KAWS, and Faith Ringgold were among the artists honored at the event which was co-chaired by philanthropist Jean Shafiroff. Honorary Chair Joyce Berger Cowin was recognized as AFAM’s most generous supporter in the organization’s 60-year history. Over $475,000 was raised for the Museum’s programs, exhibitions, and educational initiatives as a result of the gala.

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

Jean Shafiroff ©Patrick McMullan

Among the over 300 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 wonderful evening for the American Folk Art Museum.  I congratulate all the honorees and thank all the others who worked so hard to make tonight a success!”. During Joyce Berger Cowin’s speech, Joyce spoke of Jean Shafiroff’s hardwork and tireless efforts in philanthropy.

Kaws ©Patrick McMullan
Bisa Butler, Gail Wright Sirmans ©Patrick McMullan

About the American Folk Art Museum:

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

About Jean Shafiroff:

Jean Shafiroff is a philanthropist, humanitarian, TV host, writer, and the 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 extensive work as a volunteer fundraiser and leader in the philanthropic world. She serves on the boards of many charitable organizations and each year chairs upwards of eight different charity galas. Among the many causes she champions are those involved in women’s rights, rights of the underserved, health care, and animal welfare.

Jean serves on the boards of the 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 Southampton Animal Shelter Foundation Honorary Board. A Catholic, she served on the board of the Jewish Board for 28 years and now is one of their honorary trustees.

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

For her philanthropy Jean has been honored many times by groups including 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, the Ellen Hermanson Foundation, Pet Philanthropy Circle, Animal Zone International, Youth Counselling League, the NYC International Film Festival Foundation, the Jewish Board, and the Hadassah. In December 2020 Dan’s Paper named her Philanthropist of the Year at their Long Island Power Women’s Award Ceremony.

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

F: jean.shafiroff | T: @JeanShafiroff | I: @JeanShafiroff @JeanShafiroffAtWork

John McEnroe ©Patrick McMullan
Jean Shafiroff, Barbara Gordon ©Patrick McMullan