Jean Shafiroff is New York’s Foremost Name in Philanthropy

Jean Shafiroff
Jean Shafiroff

The “First Lady of Philanthropy,” as dubbed by Hello! and Hola! magazines, has heard her calling and has found a mission in giving. With a vast professional and personal network to bring aid to the causes she holds dear, Jean Shafiroff’s philanthropy and advocacy span far and wide.

Beginning her life’s journey on Long Island, Shafiroff was influenced by her father, a local music teacher, and the nuns at her local Catholic school to begin a life of good works. She spent 12 years in Catholic primary school, where she was encouraged to begin a life helping others.

The motive to help others compelled her to enroll at Columbia University to study physical therapy. After graduating, Shafiroff proceeded to work as a physical therapist at St. Luke’s Hospital in New York. She then decided to return to the Graduate School of Business at Columbia University. During this time, Shafiroff secured an MBA in finance, and was able to then apply her combination of innate business skills and keen attention to detail to succeed on Wall Street.

She then met her husband, Martin, the managing director of a top Wall Street investment firm. At this same time, she was further inspired to dedicate her life to her works of charity.

“I have the privilege of being a very fortunate person and with that comes a responsibility to give back to those in most need,” says Shafiroff. “Beyond the giving comes hard work, advocacy and garnering support for a variety of causes — be them my own, or others’.”

Shafiroff has dedicated herself to the volunteer profession of philanthropy, fundraising and advocating for the causes which she holds dear, nationally and internationally. She champions many causes, sits upon nine charity boards and chairs many events each year — doing so all without taking a dime of salary.

“In times like these, where the global pandemic has casted such uncertainty into the nonprofit world, it is our job to make sure that the voices of the growing portion of us in need are heard,” Shafiroff says. “I have taken the opportunity to bring my advocacy to the public realm. I have done my best to get the message out about human suffering and the need to give back — and done so with the gracious help of the news media.”

Since the dawn of the pandemic, Shafiroff has been interviewed on major broadcasts such as Good Day New York with Rosanna Scotto, CBS Evening News, NBC news, WGN news and one of the nation’s highest rated cable news morning shows Fox & Friends, among many other programs with millions of viewers watching every broadcast. Shafiroff has been credited with helping to raise awareness about the food shortages in pantries, the fair treatment and adoption of animals, and the unique challenges that face the nonprofit sector during these uncertain times.

Her advocacy has earned her acclaim from several of the organizations she supports, not the least of which is the American Humane Society, which named her “National Spokesperson” for their Feed the Hungry Program. She was awarded this title after her advocacy on news broadcasts, and under her leadership, the program accomplished their goal of raising over $1 million for animal food insecurity. Shafiroff’s work with American Humane, the nation’s oldest animal advocacy organization, is far from finished, she says.

Prior to the pandemic, her influence was hosting large gatherings and parties at her homes in the interest of raising funds for countless charities. These efforts placed her on Salonnière’s “100 Best Party Hosts” in America, as written in Town & Country. She has been on a number of “Best Dressed” lists, from Hamptons magazine to Lookonline.com, a revered fashion website, where she was listed on the international best dressed list with Meghan Markle and Anna Wintour, along with 10 others. Shafiroff was also named to Marquis’ “Who’s Who Power Players in Philanthropy,” alongside Warren Buffett and Michael Bloomberg.

Shafiroff gives an enormous amount of time and available resources to many causes. She also serves on the Couture Council, which raises funds for the museum at the Fashion Institute of Technology. She is passionate about fashion and has a ball gown collection, archived with Cleo Archivist, that is soon to be donated to a museum. The gown collection focuses on American fashion designers including Oscar de la Renta, Carolina Herrera, Mary McFadden, B. Michael, Zang Toi, Victor de Souza and Malan Breton.

Her quest to help those in need is far from finished and her drive to do more is as strong and persevering as ever. This passion has also transpired into the desire to mentor, advise and help guide aspirational philanthropists through social and traditional media.

With approximately 800,000 followers on Instagram and hundreds of thousands more across Twitter and Facebook, Shafiroff’s philanthropy is just a click away. She also hosts a show, Successful Philanthropy, on LTV in the Hamptons. She is the author of Successful Philanthropy: How to Make a Life by What You Give and has toured the nation to speak about philanthropy on television and before thousands of aspiring philanthropists.

Shafiroff can be described as a kind-hearted, selfless benefactor who stops at nothing to improve the lives of others. If a rising tide raises all ships, Shafiroff is that rising tide.

Todd Shapiro is an award-winning publicist and associate publisher of Dan’s Papers.

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