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Jean Shafiroff Hosts Cocktail Reception In Support Of The New York Women's Foundation

Lee Fryd

Ngozi Okaro, Sayu Bhojwani, Ana Oliveira, Jean Shafiroff, Rebecca Seawright, Kwanza Butler and Lola West. (Photo: Annie Watt)

Jean Shafiroff opened her Park Avenue home on Monday, September 17 for a cocktail reception for The New York Women's Foundation, which seeks to uplift lower income women. Speakers for two of their programs — one to guide these women to enter politics and another to enter the fashion industry — were featured. The Foundation believes women, traditionally the glue that nurtures and keeps families on track, are the key to their communities. And now, more than ever, their voices are vital.

And so, the New York Women's Foundation's Radical Generosity Gala will celebrate the anniversary of the Me Too Movement by honoring actress and activist Alyssa Milano and Sony/ATV recording artists and songwriters Haley & Michaels with an award presentation by Tarana Burke, Me Too Movement Founder and Leader. Mary T. Bassett, MD, MPH, Director of the FXB Center for Health and Human Rights at Harvard University and the Co-Founders of Level Forward, Abigail E. Disney, Adrienne Becker, Rachel Gould, and Angie G. Wang will also be honored.

Ana Oliveira, President & CEO of The New York Women's Foundation, said investing in women-led, community-based organizations is an opportunity to support agents of change to promote justice. Under its auspices, Sayu Bhojwani, Founder and President of New American Leaders, prepares first and second-generation Americans to enter politics. Catalina Cruz, the first "Dreamer" to win a Democratic primary for a New York State Assembly, is a product of the program. "Like 21 million other people in this country, I'm an immigrant woman," Bhojwani told the room. "And I think I'm the full embodiment of everything that's under attack in this country today. I'm an immigrant. I'm a person of color. I'm a woman. The work that we do is to help affirm that everything that I and 21 million others represent is important and valuable (by helping to) break down this mystery that surrounds politics."

Lieba Nesis, Adele Nino, Katlean de Monchy, Lucia Hwong Gordon, Jean Shafiroff, Michele Herbert, and Randi Schatz. (Photo: Sylvain Gaboury /PMC)

Ngozi Okaro, Executive Director of Custom Collaborative, said she has often found that "women who are the most marginalized and have the most at stake have no idea what's going on" in politics. Further, in the fashion industry, "Women produce most of the labor and make least of the money." Custom Collaborative seeks to harness creative ability and facilitate its execution by recycling leftover fabric from large scale design companies to enable women with small batch production get their orders met. Another benefit: helping reduce climate change by changing the model for an industry she said was the world's second biggest polluter, behind energy production. "Everything is made from repurposed materials that were other designers' excess," Okaro explained, "rather than putting it in landfill."

In the past, Jean hosted a luncheon at Le Cirque in anticipation of the gala. In a city that is as resource rich as New York City, she noted, we have an opportunity to bring positive change to women and families with needed support.

To purchase tickets, visit www.nywf.org.

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