Jean Shafiroff. (Photo by Michael Paniccia)

As the world begins to emerge from the shadow of the Covid-19 pandemic, optimism is high, with most of the statewide coronavirus pandemic restrictions being lifted. But nonprofits continue to struggle as demand for assistance remains high and donations continue to be down. 

Discovering what will make people fully heal has become the primary mission of Jean Shafiroff, one of New York’s and Long Island’s most popular philanthropists, who splits her time between Southampton and Manhattan.

She has often been called the First Lady of Philanthropy by many different publications. The sentiment rings true stronger than ever as the leader continues to help communities process, address, and move forward from all the heartache caused by Covid-19. 

Her four focus areas are rights of underserved populations, healthcare, women’s rights, and animal rights. Her current credits of charitable work include serving on the boards of the American Humane, Southampton Hospital Association, New York City Mission Society, French Heritage Society, Couture Council of the Museum at the Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT), Global Strays, and Southampton Animal Shelter Foundation Honorary Board. She is also a style icon who supports the artful work of emerging designers from across the globe. 

Additionally, she is the national spokesperson and ambassador for American Humane’s “Feed the Hungry” Covid-19 program. Frequently she dedicates time to speak about the cause on national and local radio and television shows. The initiative she is backing is designed to provide food for a million shelter animals across the country by raising $1 million this year.

She has been honored by groups including 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, Youth Counseling League, the New York City International Film Festival Foundation, the Jewish Board, and Hadassah. And in December 2020, Dan’s Paper, sister publication of the Long Island Press, named her Philanthropist of the Year at its Power Women of Long Island awards ceremony. 

She has become a popular television host, writer, and the author of the book Successful Philanthropy: How to Make a Life By What You Give. 

As the host and producer of the television program Successful Philanthropy, she conducts interviews with world leaders, international philanthropists, politicians and celebrities alike that air on LTV Television East Hampton and on other channels in New York City.

Shafiroff says that while we see everything opening up now, a lot of people have lost jobs and may still be on food pantry lines. But charities are opening up and having fundraiser parties, mostly outside or under a tent.

“You have to always be positive and must make people feel good about who they are, especially right now. We have just gone through one of the most difficult times in history,” she said. “Tens of millions of people were out of work and people did not have food for their families. It was a horrific time for many people. Now is the time for us all to unite and to work together to make life easier for all those who have suffered far too much. We must remain positive. We must work hard to support those who have had the most difficult time — we must help them move forward.” 

She maintains that supporting our healthcare system is crucial, and postpandemic volunteers and funding are needed more than ever, because many people are now living at the poverty level after being out of work. Her focus is on food insecurity, mental health issues, racial injustice for all communities, and justice for the LGBTQ community. 

Maintaining that people need to believe in themselves and their worth, and get involved and make an impact, she sees us coming together as a world. And while she sees this as a time when there is still a lot of need, she says it is also a tremendous time for prosperity and hopefulness.

“I’m very hopeful for the future,” she adds. “Philanthropy is coming back stronger than ever.” 

For more information about Jean Shafiroff, please visit: jeanshafiroffofficial.com. F: jean.shafiroff | T: @JeanShafiroff | I: @JeanShafiroff @JeanShafiroffAtWork

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