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Black Tie International:
Jean Shafiroff
Covergirl Art Bodega Magazine September 2019


Jean Shafiroff


Jean Shafiroff  Our Style Icon


By:  Tripp Whetsell


Jean Shafiroff


Jean Shafiroff


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 animal welfare.

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,  among others. 

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.

Of why 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. 

Yet beyond her impeccable academic credentials, philanthropic prowess and the fact that she’s an author, there’s another dimension to Jean that people revere: her sense of style. So much that she’s equally well-known as one of the best-dressed hosts who is also regarded as among America’s top party givers. Having received top rankings on many best dressed lists for her style and extensive ball gown collection, she was listed by the as one of 2019’s top 100 American party givers this past January and as one of the 12 best dressed women of the world by LookOnline in 2018.



Joyce Brooks and Gerard Mc Keon.  Photo by:  Rose Billings /

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