Previously, Schaffer served for seven years as executive director of AJC's Westchester chapter, based in White Plains. She was a founding member and chair of the Westchester Coalition for Democracy, a non-partisan, multi-issue coalition of 34 organizations committed to upholding democracy, constitutional rights and diversity.
In 1999, Schaffer led a 60-member coalition that successfully fought for the establishment of a Westchester Human Rights Commission. She served on several county-wide boards working on issues such as church-state separation, racial diversity, bigotry, and abortion rights. She developed and produced the Annual Westchester Women's Seder for six years, and initiated a Catholic-Jewish program series with Iona College, which has continued since 1999.
Schaffer has received numerous community awards from organizations including the National Association of Social Workers and the NYCLU. In 1999, she received the prestigious Woman of the Year Award at Women's Equality Day.
Born and educated in Zimbabwe, Schaffer completed undergraduate and graduate degrees in English literature at the University of Cape Town in South Africa, immigrating to the U.S. in 1967.