Jack Schafer grew up in New York and Connecticut and graduated from Harvard. He worked for The Emporium Department Stores for twenty-one years. In 1976 he moved with his wife and three small daughters to Senégal, West Africa, where he was the Peace Corps Director. He stayed there for four years before moving to Singapore for six years, where he was Managing Director of the largest chain of department stores. Over the past twenty years he has worked for stores and shopping centers in Asia, and is now retired.
Mr. Schafer was on the Board of the San Francisco Art Institute from 1988–1997, including roles as Vice-Chair from 1989–1991 and Chair from 1991–1995, and is now an Emeritus Trustee. He is also on the boards of the Berkeley Repertory Theatre, Oxbow School in Napa where he is Co-Chair, San Francisco Opera, Jewish Community Endowment, and Straus Historical Society. He collects contemporary art and art from Indonesia.