JEAN SHAFIROFF COVER IN FASHION MANNUSCRIPT
Her love of giving knows no bounds.
Those are the first seven words in the-
know New Yorkers would use to
describe philanthropist Jean Shafiroff.
As Elise McCabe Thompson, president
of the New York Mission Society
notes, “When it comes to giving, Jean
Jean Shafiroff not only sits on the board of the New York Mission
Society, but seven other organizations as well, an impressive
number given the commitment each one takes. From the
New York Women’s Foundation to the French Heritage
Society the presidents, chairmen, and CEOs of these
organizations echo McCabe Thompson’s sentiment. Of
Shafiroff, Ana Oliveira, president and CEO of the The New
York Women’s Foundation powerfully proclaims, “She sets
forth a path for philanthropists, new and old, to reflect on
their values and discover their own philanthropic identity.”
Elizabeth F. Stribling, chairman of the French Heritage Society,
agrees: “Jean epitomizes the values of a true philanthropist;
she is generous, caring, concerned, and determined.”
In a city as competitive as New York, words of flattery do not
often abound to this degree. Yet, for Shafiroff they do, and
for good reason.
To understand Shafiroff as a philanthropist, it is first essential
to understand her as a woman. She not only raises a
significant amount of money annually as a spokesperson and
gala visionary for the charitable causes in which she believes,
but she herself gives generously as well. It may appear a
nuance, but it is far from it. Shafiroff walks the walk. Sure,
she makes monetary donations buying tables, hosting parties
at the homes she shares with her husband Martin, and raising
funds at a tireless clip, but she volunteers her time and
knowledge as well as writing checks. That is the point of
differentiation that sets Shafiroff apart from her counterparts.
She holds two degrees from Columbia University, an MBA,
which gives her financial knowledge, and an undergraduate
degree in physical therapy that explains her deep compassion.
Hence, the words ‘time’ and ‘knowledge’ that she always
returns to. She has both. As she passionately says, “We were
put here on this earth to learn, to grow, and to give. We
must make opportunities available to people so that we can
improve their future.”
Shafiroff channeled this passion into a highly acclaimed book
on the art of giving, which fits perfectly into a chic day bag. In
Successful Philanthropy: How to Make a Life by What You Give,
Shafiroff empowers emerging and existing philanthropists to
build a better world. It is a guidebook not only on how to give,
but how to give greatly with our hearts and with our wallets.
She shares her experiences and challenges with finding the time
to do so and why it is imperative. “Giving energizes us and
those around us. Sometimes it feels like there are not enough
hours in the day. How could we possibly find the energy to
volunteer when we barely have enough time for ourselves,
families, and friends?” She goes on, “There is nothing more
gratifying than the feeling of helping someone else. It elevates
us out of our own concerns and takes us to a place where we
feel a profound connection to the value of life.”
The book takes the experiences Shafiroff herself has with sitting
on the boards of the New York City Mission Society, the New
York Women’s Foundation, the French Heritage Society, and
others, and serving as an ambassador for the American Humane
Society and the Southampton Animal Shelter, which allows
her to raise awareness. Shafiroff believes wholeheartedly that
we reach self-fulfillment and find the meaning of life through
the art of giving. And several nonprofits agree with with her
enlightenment, as she has been honored by the American Heart
Association and the American Cancer Society, among others.
There is nothing more gratifying than the
feeling of helping someone else. It elevates
us out of our own concerns and takes us to a
place where we feel a profound connection
to the value of life -- Jean Shafiroff
From countless cover stories to full-length features on Shafiroff’s
philanthropic activity, there is always one thing to note other than
her sheer generosity: she always looks absolutely wonderful!
Her dresses, jewelry, hair, and makeup are perfection. Her
calendar is filled to the brim with benefits, galas, and cocktail
parties, which even the most social of New Yorkers would
find slightly overwhelming. But she hits the mark, every time.
It would be extraordinarily difficult to argue that she is not one
of the most fashionable in the philanthropy world. Shafiroff
is a patron of some of the world’s most coveted designers,
from Chanel to Gucci and Carolina Herrera to Zac Posen.
She also has an impressive collection from the late Oscar
de la Renta and continues to buy from the house today. Just
the other evening she wore a metallic tangerine strapless
cocktail dress to host the Surgeon’s of Hope Annual Gala
Kickoff party at her home. She has previously been honored
by the organization and continues to support their work
sending heart surgeons to Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Paraguay,
and Panama to perform heart surgery on children that might
otherwise not live.
For Shafiroff, it always returns to passion and philanthropy.
Her adoration of fashion has earned her a coveted seat on the
board of the Couture Council at the Museum of the Fashion
Institute of Technology. She supports emerging designers and
donates her pieces to be put on view for their students. And
she proudly delights in it. The art of understanding fashion
is powerful and her profile is only on the rise because of it.
As she tours the country being a guest speaker on TV and
radio shows promoting her book and her causes—which
include women’s rights, racial equality, animal welfare, and
bringing both help and awareness to underserved children —
she looks to expand her philanthropic footprint globally. And
she is smartly using the platform of social media to do so.
Shafiroff’s Instagram is a magical mix—a taste of it all—from
getting fitted for a custom B Michael gown to visiting dogs and
cats at the Southampton Animal Shelter and promoting the
message of #adoptdontshop.
With Shafiroff one thing is clear: There is integrity in all that
she does and a deep love of the work she was put here on
earth to do. “As a philanthropist, you write your own story of
giving that unfolds over a lifetime,” she notes. “Philanthropy
benefits others around us and expands our life experiences.
Any and all efforts we make to look past our own lives, to
meet the struggles that other people face head-on, and to do
what we can to make the world a better place broadens our
perspectives and gives us a new appreciation for the power
we have to change things.”
As we all consider ways to contribute to the world today,
Shafiroff is a shining example of the myriad of ways in which
we can do so.
Jean Shafiroff @ www.jeanshafiroff.com
Jean Shafiroff In Fashion Mannuscript Reprinted With Permission
Jean Shafiroff In Fashion Mannuscript Reprinted With Permission