Houston Treasures

Helen Shaffer

Houston Treasure for 2015

Photo by: Gittings

shaffer helen

From her earliest years, Helen was surrounded by the arts. Born in culturally rich Cincinnati, Ohio, her parents instilled in her a passion for music and also the responsibility of sharing her gifts to benefit others. Helen earned her Bachelor of Fine Arts from the College Conservatory of Music at the University of Cincinnati. She sang with the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, Pittsburgh Symphony and the Robert Shaw Chorus. She also taught music students.

Arriving in Houston thirty-six years ago, Helen’s commitment to the arts led to her association with the Houston Symphony. She has chaired several fundraising events including Magical Musical Morning, Scores Dinners, and Opening Night. She has served in multiple roles with the Symphony, including President of the Houston Symphony League, Chair of the prestigious Ima Hogg Competition, and on the Executive Board. Awards presented to Helen by the Houston Symphony include its “Ellen Kelley Volunteer of the Year Award” and the prestigious “Golden Baton.”

Helen has also been a driving force within the Moores School of Music at the University of Houston. She has served as President of the Moores Society and on the Dean’s Board for the Humanities at the University of Houston.

Helen has been President of the Texas Association for Symphony Orchestras, President of the Association of American Major Symphony Orchestra Volunteers, and President of the League of American Orchestras’ Volunteer Council.

Aside from the arts, Helen’s energies have been directed toward many other Houston organizations. She has served on the boards of the Home of St. Mark, Girls’ Inc., and was a charter member of the Salvation Army Auxiliary Executive Board. For twenty three years, she served as the Director of Religious Education at St. Martin’s Episcopal Church. She has served in various positions to exuberantly support the noble work of American Diabetes Association, American Cancer Society, American Heart Association, Crohn’s &Colitis Foundation and Houston Public Media Foundation. Helen was selected as a 2010 ABC-13 “Woman of Distinction” benefiting Crohn’s &Colitis Foundation of America.

Helen’s husband, Jim, and three daughters share her dynamism and dedication to philanthropy.

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