How to Succeed in Business and Life
Published in TC Today - Volume 30, No. 2
As business people, Elliot and Roslyn Jaffe believe education is the key to America's economic future. As philanthropists, they've made that idea their mantra-- and channeled much of their efforts into supporting programs at Teachers College.
"Education is a major problem facing this country," Elliot Jaffe says. "We're not going to keep up with the world if we don't focus on it. In China, kids routinely go to school five days a week, from eight in the morning until five at night. Then they go for half a day on Saturday and pick up a tutor Saturday afternoon. We've got to start racing a lot faster if we're going to keep up."
Together, the Jaffes founded Dress Barn, Inc.--a Suffern, N.Y.-based specialty retailer that now generates more than $1 billion in annual revenue. Elliot Jaffe is now Chairman of the Board. Until two years ago, Elliot was also CEO, but that job recently passed to the couple 's son, David.
Over the past 12 years, the Jaffes have donated more than $1 million to help fund the TC Peace Corps Fellows Program, which fast-tracks returned Peace Corps volunteers to teach in New York City schools. "We really want to support teachers," explains Elliot. This year, the couple elevated that commitment to the national level, giving $250,000 to The Campaign for Educational Equity of TC. Elliot has been a TC Trustee since 1997. He spent three years as chair of TC's National Capital Campaign, chaired the Audit Committee and is currently Chair of the Business and Finance Committee.
For the Jaffes, the service they've rendered has been its own best reward. Says Elliot: "We want to leave the world at least a slightly better place for our having been here."