Timeless Compassion With Jean Shafiroff

By Liz Taylor

Noted by international media as The First Lady of Philanthropy, Jean Shafiroff thrives as she serves the societal imperative to give back to mankind freely. With an open heart and an open mind, she has been on the forefront of transforming the way we view charitable giving. Her gift is to create momentum and her talent is to unlock the extraordinary potential in every individual who wants to succeed in helping the world.

As Jean was once quoted, “It’s a great privilege to be able to give, and we all can be philanthropists. Everybody has worth. We all have great value to society and never think that you have nothing to offer, because you do. Everyone has compassion.” Most of us can give our time and knowledge—and available resources. Those that have a great deal of resources have an extraordinary opportunity to make a great difference in this world.

Jean’s tireless work as a TV host of Successful Philanthropy and celebrated writer has put her in a position to share her message of faith. It is through her efforts that we are allowed to put aside worry in our everyday lives, by trusting in our own capabilities to give.

As the author of the book Successful Philanthropy: How to Make a Life By What You Give, Jean expresses that generosity does not only come in the form of financial donations. In fact, Jean’s extensive work as a volunteer fundraiser and leader in the philanthropic world is a testament that giving time is of great value.

No challenge is too big for her, and Jean never quits on her determination to find a way to give back. Even when faced with her own setbacks - as with a recent serious foot surgery that limited her mobility for several months—she only fought harder for causes and the charity boards she serves on.

Each year Jean chairs upwards of eight different charity galas. Among the many causes she champions are those involved in women’s rights, rights of the underserved, health care, and animal welfare. To see her in action is inspirational and motivating for anyone of any age.

Jean serves on the boards of the American Humane, Southampton Hospital Association, NYC Mission Society, Global Strays, New York Women’s Foundation, French Heritage Society, Couture Council of the Museum at FIT, Casita Maria and Southampton Animal Shelter Foundation Honorary Board. A Catholic, she served on the board of the Jewish Board for 28 years and now is one of their Honorary Trustees.

In addition, Jean served as the National Spokesperson for the American Humane’s “Feed the Hungry” COVID-19 Program, an initiative which successfully raised $1,000,000 to provide food for one million hungry animals at 109 animal shelters across the United States. Jean is also the Ambassador of the Southampton Animal Shelter Foundation.

Just as rewarding is her latest work on the board of Casita Maria Center for Arts & Education in the South Bronx. It is here that a safe and welcoming community helps enrich and uplift youth and families towards success, through shared cultural, art and educational experiences and programs.

Jean has been honored many times by groups including the Stony Brook Southampton Hospital, American Heart Association, American Cancer Society, New York City Mission Society, Southampton Animal Shelter, Surgeons of Hope, Al Sharpton’s National Action Network, the Ellen Hermanson Foundation, Pet Philanthropy Circle, Animal Zone International, Sam Waxman Cancer Research Foundation, Youth Counselling League, the NYC International Film Festival Foundation, the Jewish Board, and the Hadassah. In December 2020 Dan’s Paper named her Philanthropist of the Year at their Long Island Power Women’s Award Ceremony.

Jean is a great fashion lover and enjoys her time on the board of the Couture Council of the museum at FIT. A collector of couture and high fashion ballgowns, Jean plans to donate all of them to a museum one day. These include many works by Oscar de la Renta, Valentino, Carolina Herrera, Mary McFaddan, Malan Breton, Victor de Souza, B Michael, and Zang Toi.

Jean has a very large social media following and uses her platform to encourage positive thinking, and then to promote philanthropy and her love of fashion. With over 900,000 followers across the globe on Instagram, she is considered a major force in transmitting positive messages.


Jean’s acts of kindness change a person’s whole day—which does, in turn, inspires others to be a little kinder to those around them.

As Albert Einstein once famously said, “Our task must be to free ourselves... by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty.”

Compassion like Jean’s creates a ripple effect that not only makes us happier as individuals, but also tends to get passed along, the world just becomes a little bit brighter, beautiful, and more joyful for all of us who live here.

“We give because we know actions and choices made now can help in the future,” she writes in her book. “We give because small gifts can help lead to big change. We give because we are compelled to take action. We give because it honors life and the power of the human spirit to affect change,” “We give because we do not wish to see suffering and we wish to assuage it.”

For more information on Jean Shafiroff, visit I: @JeanShafiroffAtWork; F: jean.shafiroff; T: @JeanShafiroff