Social Life Magazine | Luxury Publication for the Hamptons

Clif Knight – The Co-President of Southampton Animal Shelter

The Southampton Animal Shelter Foundation (SASF) is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization that operates the Southampton Animal Shelter, a nationally recognized leader in animal welfare. The shelter provides a safe haven for lost, strayed, abandoned, and surrendered animals. It is a no-kill shelter. Animals are taken in from the entire township. All animals are accepted — no matter what condition, age, special needs, medical needs, or behavioral issues. Southampton Animal Shelter is unique on the East End in this regard.
The shelter also takes in animals from overcrowded shelters in NYC and around the country, dogs from notorious puppy mills, and, in recent years, animals that have been rescued from disaster and hurricane ravaged areas in Texas, Florida, the Carolinas, and Puerto Rico. SASF relies on individual donors, foundations, grants, and corporations for its continued support. 

Clif, as the co-president along with Beau Hulse, can you give our readers an update on the Southampton Animal Shelter Foundation? 
We have had a phenomenal year in achieving one of the most critical goals of the foundation. Beau, our colleagues, and I have worked hard and are pleased to report a huge success in building a strong, diverse, talented board of directors. During the year we’ve added seven new exceptional individuals to the board: Sean Deneny, John Bradham, Dorothy Frankel, Martin Shafiroff, Lee Becker, Merritt Piro, and Dr. Marcy MacMillan. We now have terrific leadership in place. This will ensure the future of the foundation as it enters its second decade.
What other major initiatives are in the works?
First and foremost, the foundation is currently undertaking a search for the executive director position. This is a wonderful opportunity to lead an amazing organization. The search is nationwide, and we are having an overwhelming response from individuals with proven track records both in business and the animal welfare community. We will have important news on this shortly.

What else can you tell us about the shelter’s plans for the future?
Understanding the background of the Southampton Animal Shelter Foundation is key to visualizing where we’re now headed. This is a young organization. Yet in its ten short years, the foundation has been enormously successful. We’ve saved thousands of lives, found wonderful loving forever homes for thousands of fabulous animals, served thousands of families in the community, and made a huge difference both in services for all of Southampton Township, including its seven villages and eighteen hamlets. We are thrilled that the Southampton Animal Shelter Foundation is already recognized as one of the premier philanthropies on the East End. The point is that there’s a solid foundation for the future. 
Given the foundation’s great start in its first decade, its solid foundation, and so much success, what is the vision now?
We have a board in place now that is moving far beyond the start-up mode and into a new phase. The foundation is fortunate to have on the board individuals who are knowledgeable and experienced in the broader national animal welfare community. From a strategic perspective, and I would like to emphasize that the foundation is now in early stages of strategic thinking and strategy formulation, we have the vision to become a real player in the larger animal welfare community. This vision would entail expanding and improving facilities, broadening services, and evolving from a basic shelter and adoption facility into a sanctuary and adoption facility. This broader mission would be great for the community and certainly for animal welfare. The impact on the community will be enormous. 

Clif, this is impressive and ambitious. How can people help?
Many ways. Most immediately, Southampton Animal Shelter Foundation is hosting its 10th annual Unconditional Love gala here in Southampton on Saturday, July 20. This is a beautiful, elegant, sophisticated, exciting event — truly one of the best parties of the summer. We would ask everyone who loves animals and would enjoy a fantastic evening out to join us. And, Jean, I must say, we are hugely grateful to you for serving as chair again this year. The event is always so special with your involvement. Also, again this year, Greg D’Elia will emcee, so the gala will surely be lively, much fun, and high-spirited. To purchase tickets, please visit or call 631.488.8000. 

There are many other ways to support the animals. We ask those who are interested to please visit our website: We invite everyone to drop by and visit the shelter in person.

About Clif Knight
Clifton “Clif” Knight is an attorney with extensive corporate and legal experience in media, arts, and entertainment. Clif and his wife, Raya, split their time between New York City and Southampton. He and Raya are actively involved in a number of local philanthropies, including the Southampton Fresh Air Home. Clif is also on the board of the North Carolina State University Foundation, in Raleigh, and on the board of the newly formed University of North Carolina Law School Entrepreneurship & Innovation Institute, in Chapel Hill.

About Jean Shafiroff
Jean Shafiroff is a philanthropist, humanitarian, activist, and the author of the book Successful Philanthropy: How to Make a Life by What You Give. Jean is a volunteer leader of several charitable causes. Jean serves on the boards of seven charities: NYC Mission Society, French Heritage Society, Couture Council, Jewish Board, Southampton Animal Shelter Foundation Honorary Board, Global Strays, and Southampton Bath and Tennis Club’s Charitable Foundation. She will be joining the board of Stony Brook Southampton Hospital in July 2019. In addition, Jean is an ambassador for the American Humane Society and the ambassador for the Southampton Animal Shelter. Many also consider Jean a fashion icon. Jean and her family reside in Manhattan and Southampton.