Last Tuesday, the 22nd, a day after philanthropist Jean Shafiroff hosted the annual New York Women’s Foundation Luncheon at Le Cirque, The New York Post reported in Page Six that Helen LaKelly Hunt, one of the speakers on the panel conversation on generational philanthropy, did not want a bad rep for being wealthy. Apparently, LaKelly Hunt’s father, H.L. Hunt, Jr., a Texas oil tycoon and conservative Republican political activist, was the inspiration for the character J.R. Ewing on the popular 80’s era series, “Dallas”. LaKelly Hunt observed during the panel discussion that the public’s opinion of “high net worth women” is that of country club attending shopaholics. She would like to see that perception changed. Toward that end, LaKelly Hunt, whose daughter, Leah Hunt-Hendrix, the activist, organizer and Co-Founder/Director of Solidaire, was also on the panel, discussed their recently launched initiative, The Hildegard Fund, which is partnering with the NYWF to address the persisting wage gap that exists, particularly for women of color. The initiative will help by leveraging grant-making, public education, and advocacy to amplify women’s voices in a newly evolving economy.
During the panel discussion, the mother/daughter duo discussed several philanthropy-related topics, including what they have learned from one another. LaKelly Hunt credited her daughter with teaching her how to create a ‘ground movement’ and noted that she taught her daughter “the importance of love in philanthropy,” adding that for those who give money, “it should be treated as coming from our hearts, not just our checks.” The discussion was moderated by journalist Soledad O’Brien, whose foundation, The Starfish Foundation, is an NYWF Grantee Partner. Following the panel discussion, Ms. Shafiroff shared a story of how her own daughter’s passion for philanthropy influenced her long-standing involvement with a non-profit organization that supports animals. She went on to share how a friend introduced her to the NYWF, and also discussed why it is imperative for women to help women, and how we all must help one another.
Shafiroff generously hosts the annual luncheon as a precursor for The New York Women’s Foundation’s annual Fall Gala which will take place at The Plaza on October 15th, and will honor the creators of the Tony Award-winning musical, FUN HOME, Lisa Kron and Jeanine Tesori; Ambassador Samantha Power, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations; and Citi (the award will be accepted by Barbara Desoer, CEO of Citibank). Hoda Kotb will serve as the event’s mistress of ceremony, and guests will be treated to a special performance of FUN HOME. For more information on the Gala, please visit: www.nywf.org/nywf-event/2015gala/.
Guests in attendance included: Anne E. Delaney (Gala Co-Chair and Board Chair), Ana Oliveira (NYWF President and CEO), and members of the NYWF Board of Directors, including: Joyce B. Cowin, Susan R. Cullman, Virginia Day, Jennifer Giacobbe, Grainne McNamara, Michele Penzer and Janet M. Riccio. Additional guests in attendance included: Margo M. Langenberg, Francine Lefrak, Margo Catsimatidis, Sharon Bush, Judith Price, Dana Auslander, Kamie Lightburn and Elise McCabe Thompson, among others.
The New York Women’s Foundation is a cross-cultural alliance that catalyzes partnerships and leverages human and financial capital to achieve sustained economic security and justice for women, girls and families in New York City. The Foundation identifies innovative organizations that are effecting change for women in the communities they serve and strategically funds the programs and organizations that move women, girls and families toward long-term economic security through individual transformation and systemic change, mobilizing leaders and community partners as philanthropists and agents of change.
LaKelly Hunt holds a Ph. D. and, along with her husband, Harville Hendrix, Ph. D., who is a couples therapist with over 40 years experience as an educator, clinical trainer and lecturer whose work has been on Oprah 18 times, has written the book, “Getting The Love You Want”, that gives couples the concepts and tools they need to achieve safety, sustain deep connection, and experience joyful aliveness. LaKelly Hunt is also the Founder and President of The Sister Fund, a private women’s foundation that works at the nexus of faith and social justice.