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Jean Shafiroff on the importance & power of giving back


By Laura Taylor

Photography By Michael Paniccia


The exciting life of Jean Shafiroff captivates from the moment one is introduced to her. The well-known adage that one can be kind and beautiful both inside and out is simply the best way to describe the ethos of Shafiroff. Hard working and dedicated to a myriad of causes, this philanthropist works with a dedication rarely seen. Often referred to as the First Lady of Philanthropy by the international press, Shafiroff is most humble when asked about this. She responds, “I only want to do the best job I can for the different causes that I am involved with. I plan to continue my philanthropic work for the rest of my life.”

Dress by Oscar de la Renta, Hair by Henry de la Paz


As a philanthropic leader, TV host, and the author of the book Successful Philanthropy: How to Make a Life By What You Give, Jean Shafiroff is defined by the power of giving back. This visionary focuses on leading the world to a future where far less suffering exists. The deeper meaning of her existence is to do things with positive intent. From Shafiroff’s perspective, making the world more equitable through philanthropic work is to create an everlasting positive impact.


Wielding influence and encouraging others to dedicate their lives to creating change through volunteering are vitally important to Shafiroff. Her dedicated philanthropic work over the years proves that hard work, leadership, intelligence, and teamwork combine to produce lasting powerful results.


Blue Gown and Pearl Necklace by Malan Breton
Hair by Piet at Vartali Salon
Make-up by Kimara Ahnert


Jean Shafiroff, who comes from a middle-class family, was instilled from an early age with the importance of giving back. Her music-teacher father and stay-at-home mother had the family doing volunteer work at the schools and church they attended. Parents and teachers were excellent role models who ingrained in her life-changing values.


After graduating from Columbia University with a BS and an MBA in Finance, Shafiroff pursued a career on Wall Street. Her philanthropic work started at a young age selling Girl Scout cookies and doing volunteer work with her classmates and family. After she was married and had children, she volunteered at her daughters’ schools. From there she joined a few charity boards and over time it grew to serving on eight boards and chairing between eight and ten large fundraising galas each year as well as hosting and underwriting numerous smaller events in her homes and elsewhere for many different charitable organizations.


Dress by Carolina Herrera,
Hair by Henry de la Paz, Make-up by Kimara Ahnert


Shafiroff spends countless hours working to promote causes and, at the same time, works to motivate others to get involved. She is also very generous to many different causes. Her days are often spent in front of the computer and on calls to promote organizations and boost representation for them. She is a national leader in philanthropy. Her main areas of focus are women’s rights, rights of underserved populations, health care, and animal rights. She is also interested in furthering LGBTQ equality, cancer awareness campaigns, and several other causes. Shafiroff is involved in motivating the next generation and aims to instill in them hope as they follow her on their own pathway to successful philanthropy.


The art of giving back is witnessed in Shafiroff’s impressive and inspirational ways of being a true patron of good deeds. Her charitable work includes serving on the boards of American Humane, Southampton Hospital Association, NY Women’s Foundation, Mission Society of NYC, Casita Maria, Couture Council (Museum at the Fashion Institute of Technology), French Heritage Society, Global Strays, and Southampton Animal Shelter Foundation honorary board. A Catholic, Shafiroff served on the board of The Jewish Board for 28 years and is now an honorary trustee.


All of Shafiroff’s work is understandably important and why, in September 2022 she was officially proclaimed the “First Lady of Philanthropy of New York” by New York State Assembly Member Rebecca Seawright, who represents New York’s 76th District, in Manhattan. Then in November 2022, the 117th US Congress, recognized Shafiroff for her works in philanthropy. This recognition was given by US Representative Carolyn Maloney, who represented the 14th Congressional District, in New York. 


Gown by B Michael
Hair by Henry de la Paz
Make-up by Melissa at La Carezza Day Spa


Shafiroff has been honored dozens of times by charities, including American Humane, Stony Brook Southampton Hospital, American Heart Association, American Cancer Society, New York City Mission Society, French Heritage Society, Southampton Animal Shelter, Surgeons of Hope, Samuel Waxman Cancer Research Foundation, Operation Warrior Shield, Viennese Opera Ball, Al Sharpton’s National Action Network, Ellen Hermanson Foundation, Pet Philanthropy Circle, Animal Zone International, Health Advocates for Older People, Southampton African American Museum, Youth Counseling League, the NYC International Film Festival Foundation, The Jewish Board, and Hadassah. In December 2020, Dan’s Papers named her “Philanthropist of the Year” at its Power Women of the East End award ceremony.

As a leading authority on the art of giving, she has written about and spoken on several TV shows and podcasts about the rewards of volunteering and philanthropy. Her TV show, Successful Philanthropy, which airs six times each week in the Hamptons and can be viewed on YouTube, gives celebrities, politicians, executive directors of charities, and fellow philanthropists an opportunity to speak about their lives and philanthropic work. Shafiroff has a large social media platform and uses it to promote positivity, philanthropy, and her love of fashion. Her Instagram account @JeanShafiroff has over 1.2 million followers.


Gown by Victor de Souza
Cover Credits: Hat by Kokin Hats, Dress by Oscar de la Renta, Earrings vintage
from Dina Fab and Funky, Make-up by La Carezza Day Spa, Hair by Henry de la Paz



“The main message of my book, Successful Philanthropy: How to Make a Life By What You Give, is that anyone can become a philanthropist. If you do not have large amounts of money to donate to a cause, you can become a philanthropist by giving your time and knowledge,” Shafiroff said in Glamour South Africa. “However, I do believe that those that have financial resources have an obligation to give. Another important message that was conveyed in my book is that giving is truly rewarding. When we give to help others, we achieve great personal satisfaction. Giving is most often far more satisfying than receiving. The purpose of writing my book was to motivate others and then to serve as a guide for philanthropic work.”


Philanthropy the way Shafiroff encourages it can help make the world a more equitable place. The power of giving creates gratification for both the giver and the receiver. Through volunteering, contributing financially, and giving of one’s knowledge to help others, life can become far more rewarding.

For more information about Jean Shafiroff, please visit


Facebook:  Jean Shafiroff, Style & Philanthropy | @JeanShafiroff

X/Twitter:  @JeanShafiroff 

Instagram:  @JeanShafiroff | @JeanShafiroffAtWork


Gown by Malan Breton Hair by Piet at Vartali Salon, NY Make-up by Kimara Ahnert