Since 1990 the Mary Harriman Community Leadership Award has honored individual Junior League members whose volunteer efforts exemplify our Mission, Vision and Values.
Described by Toni Freeman, AJLI President, as a “powerhouse, trailblazer, dynamo and reformer,” Florence Shapiro is the winner of the 2013 Mary Harriman Award for Community Leadership.
With a breadth and depth of expertise, Shapiro has committed herself to a wide variety of causes during her years of service. In the mid-70s, she recognized that big-city problems had begun to appear in what was then her small town of Plano, Texas. In response, she formed the Plano Service League, now known as The Junior League of Collin County, and served as its first president, tackling issues such as swine flu and a lack of dental care for underprivileged children. Her impact did not go unnoticed. She was encouraged to run for a seat on the Plano City Council, where she served six terms before being elected mayor.
In 1993, Shapiro was elected to the State Senate, where she served in various posts, including Chairman of the Committee on Education, and as a member of the Finance, Transportation and Homeland Security Committees. A champion for children and education, she helped pass a bill that provided more money for classroom excellence, raised teachers’ pay, improved college readiness, curbed dropout rates and established the first incentive pay program. She also spearheaded “Ashley’s Laws,” a legislative package to adjudicate, punish and track sex offenders. To date, this legislation is estimated to have saved over 500 children nationally.
For her work Shapiro has won countless awards, including the Collin County Council on Family Violence Lifetime Achievement Award and the Children’s Advocacy Centers of Texas Woman of Courage Award.