Florence Shapiro Receives JL Mary Harriman Award

Florence Shapiro Receives The Junior League’s Mary Harriman Community Leadership Award for 2013

As legislative leader, she spearheaded legislation called ‘Ashley’s Law’ to target sex offenders

New York, NY – May 20, 2013 – The Association of Junior Leagues International, Inc. today announced that Florence Shapiro, a long-time member of the Texas Senate and member of the Junior League of Collin County, has been awarded the 2013 Mary Harriman Community Leadership Award for a lifetime of achievement, both within her League and community as well as her for many legislative achievements. The award was made at AJLI’s 91st Annual Conference in Washington, DC.

The Mary Harriman Award is given to Junior League members whose leadership exemplifies the 112-year-old organization’s mission, vision and values. Past winners include former Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor; Martha Rivers Ingram, chairman of the Vanderbilt University Board of Trustees and a noted philanthropist and patron of the arts; Karen Cullen Luke, lifelong civic leader in Oklahoma City and vice chair of the committee that built The Oklahoma National Memorial & Museum; and last year’s winner, Anne McDonald Milling, who founded Women of the Storm, the post-Katrina advocacy organization for the Gulf Coast.

Known as a champion for education, children, security, economic growth, and transportation, Ms. Shapiro’s many legislative achievements include the passage of a bill to provide more money for classroom excellence; raise teachers’ pay; improve college readiness and curb dropouts; and establish the first-ever incentive pay program for teachers. In addition, she spearheaded “Ashley’s Law,” a legislative package named in honor of a seven-year-old girl who was abducted and murdered in 1993. The law adjudicates, punishes, and tracks sex offenders and has been used as a national benchmark credited with saving more than 500 children nationally.

AJLI President Toni Freeman said, “Powerhouse. Trailblazer. Dynamo. Reformer. Each of these words could be used to describe Florence Shapiro. But not one of them addresses the depth and the breadth of her expertise, her insight, and the super-human energy she invests in the causes she commits herself to her community and its needs. Whether as a Junior League member or as an elected representative and forceful advocate for issues of importance to us all, Florence is a truly worthy recipient of the Mary Harriman award.”

Ms. Shapiro was a founder of the Plano Service League in 1976, which became the Junior League of Plano in 1984 and is now called the Junior League of Collin County. She was elected to the Plano City Council, where she served six terms from 1979 to 1990, and was elected Mayor of Plano, serving from 1990 to 1992. Ms. Shapiro was first elected to the Texas Senate in 1992, retiring in 2013. 

About the Mary Harriman Community Leadership Award

In 1901, a 19-year-old debutante with a social conscience rallied 80 of her peers to improve the squalid living conditions of immigrants on New York City’s Lower East Side, forming the first Junior League. Eighty-nine years later, in 1990, the AJLI Board of Directors created the Mary Harriman Community Leadership Award as a way of recognizing an individual Junior League member whose volunteer efforts embody Mary Harriman’s pioneering spirit, her sense of social responsibility, and her ability to motivate others to share their talents through effective volunteer action. It serves as a modern-day link to our rich heritage—and to the tradition Mary began.


About The Association of Junior Leagues International, Inc.

Founded in 1901 by New Yorker and social activism pioneer, Mary Harriman, the Junior Leagues are charitable nonprofit organizations of women, developed as civic leaders, creating demonstrable community impact.

Today, The Association of Junior Leagues International, Inc. (AJLI) is comprised of more than 155,000 women in 293 Junior Leagues throughout Canada, Mexico, the United Kingdom and the United States. Together, they constitute one of the largest, most effective volunteer organizations in the world. 


Media Contact:

Tracy Van Buskirk

Marketcom PR

Main: (212) 537-5177 Ext. 8

Mobile: (203) 246-6165