Philanthropist Janet Jaffin, Ardent Supporter of Public Interest Programs, Dies at 104

The Jaffin Family Established One of the First Large-Scale Law School Loan-Forgiveness Programs in the Country

New York, April 1, 2013Janet Jaffin, a generous philanthropist, longtime friend of the Columbia Law School community, and wife of the late George M. Jaffin ’26, passed away on March 27, 2013, at the age of 104.

Born on May 21, 1908, Janet Jaffin (née Guzy) married George, a successful real estate developer and lawyer with the New York firm Jaffin, Conrad & Finkelstein, in 1928. For more than 30 years, the Jaffin family has supported public interest law programs at Columbia Law School. In 1981, the couple established the George M. Jaffin Professorship in Law and Social Responsibility, along with a related lecture series. A few years later, they consolidated their gifts to Columbia Law School and created the George M. Jaffin Program in Law and Social Responsibility. The centerpiece of this program is the Law School’s Loan Repayment Assistance Program (LRAP), which forgives the loans of graduates who practice law in the public interest. The endowment the Jaffin’s established became one of the first large-scale law school loan-forgiveness programs in the country and continues to subsidize loan repayments for generations of graduates who devote a substantial amount of their career to practicing law in the public interest.
George and Janet raised three children, Doris, Lois, and David, and passed on their love of philanthropy to their family: Their granddaughter, Daniella Levine ’83 follows her grandparents’ example of helping others as the founder, president, and chief executive officer of Catalyst Miami, a nonprofit organization that helps communities in the greater Miami area to develop strategies for social, educational, and economic improvement.
Janet was a loyal supporter of her husband’s work and charitable endeavors throughout her life, and continued the couple’s philanthropic tradition at the Law School after his passing in 1999. The entire Columbia Law School community extends its deepest condolences to the Jaffin family, and sincere gratitude for their generosity, friendship, and care for so many years.