Finding the right life balance for philanthropist,
influencer and author Jean Shafiroff requires perseverance,
attention to detail, and above all else, creativity. She has
not only continued to distinguish herself time and again for
nearly two decades, she remains someone to watch closely in
the future. Known for her remarkable ability to connect
different people and resources with a myriad of different
charitable groups, she’s been named “the First Lady of
Philanthropy” of New York by both Hello and !Hola! magazines.
Dividing her time between
homes on the Upper East Side and Southampton, she is one of
the most successful and visible volunteer fundraisers and
donors on behalf of countless charities she believes in
throughout Manhattan, Long Island’s East End and
increasingly internationally, just some of which include
helping the underprivileged, healthcare, women’s rights and
Born on Long Island, the
always elegantly turned out Jean has a passion for fashion
as well. For nearly a decade, she has been part of the board
of the Couture Council of the Museum of the Fashion
Institute of Technology. During Fashion Week in early
September, she attended many fashion shows and
fashion events - and at times arm in arm with some of her
favorite couturiers, including Victor dE Souza and B
Michael. Jean is a sought after guest at the shows during
fashion week, and can be seen in the front row at the shows
of Oscar de la Renta, Carolina Herrera, and Zang Toi,
This year caps off another
extraordinarily busy year for the two-time Columbia
University graduate—who earned a Bachelor of Science degree
in physical therapy from Columbia’s College of Physicians
and Surgeons and an MBA from Columbia Business School.
This past summer in the
Hamptons, Jean chaired both the Southampton Animal
Foundation’s Shelter Gala and the Ellen Hermanson Foundation
Gala in July. In July also, Jean officially joined the board
of the Southampton Hospital Association. Not only is this
her eighth board appointment, but Jean—who has chaired the
Southampton Hospital Gala three times—was also honored along
with her husband Martin at Stony Brook Southampton’s 61st Annual
Summer Party in August.
In the beginning of 2019, Jean
co-chaired the Southampton Bath and Tennis Club Charitable
Foundation Gala and also chaired the 64th Annual
Viennese Opera Ball in Manhattan. In addition, Jean hosted a
large cocktail party in her New York City home for the New
York City Mission Society Gala, where she also co-chaired
the gala at Capitale. Last spring as well, Jean hosted two
separate cocktail parties at her Upper East Side home; one
for Surgeons of Hope and the other for Stony Brook
Southampton Hospital at her Southampton home.
She also has many other
high-profile events planned throughout the fall and into
early next year. Kicking things off, Jean will co-host a
large cocktail party for the New York Women’s Foundation at
the New York Historical Society. Then, October 8, Jean will
co-chair the Radical Generosity Gala for the New York
Women’s Foundation at the Plaza, which honors leaders in
philanthropy, business, the arts and social justice.
After that, she will host and
chair Surgeons of Hope’s 7th Annual Charity Gala
on October 15. Held at the iconic JW Essex House in
Manhattan, this year’s gala will honor stage actor Diego
Luna, who currently serves as Surgeons of Hope’s
Heart Ambassador. Then, on October 16, Jean will co-chair
the Dominican Women’s Development Center 31st Anniversary
Gala. After that on November 21, Jean will co-chair chair
the French Heritage Society’s New York Gala Dinner Dance –
the Black and White Ball.
For her philanthropy and
dedication, Jean has also been honored by countless
different charities, just some of which include the American
Heart Association, American Cancer Society, NYC Mission
Society, JBFSC, Southampton Animal Shelter Foundation, the
NY Woman’s Dominican Foundation, the Hadassah, the NYC Film
Festival and Surgeons of Hope.
Jean is also the author of Successful
Philanthropy: How to Make a Life by What You Give.
Widely lauded as one of the most informative guidebooks on
giving, Jean’s mission for writing it was to inspire others
to become involved in the philanthropic process.
In her book, she also
redefines the word philanthropist, stating that anyone can
become a philanthropist regardless of their financial means
by giving their time, knowledge and available resources.
It features a special
introduction by former New York City Mayor Michael
Bloomberg’s daughter Georgina, who discusses how she
combined her background as an equestrian and a
philanthropist to launch her charity, The Rider’s Closet.
Jean’s highly instructive and informative book also
addresses such topics as how to choose a charity and
building a life around giving.
she decided to write the book and why she feels so
passionate giving back—something Jean credits to both her
parents and teachers that was instilled in her as a child
growing up in suburban Long Island—Jean says: “We have an
obligation to see the need in the world and take action.