Philanthropist Jean Shafiroff Honored With The 2024 Trailblazer Award By Urban Resource Institute

June 1, 2024

Philanthropist, humanitarian, and author Jean Shafiroff was recently honored with the 2024 Trailblazer Award by The Urban Resource Institute (URI), the nation’s largest provider of domestic violence shelter services.

Ms. Shafiroff was recognized for her philanthropic endeavors and particular work in the areas of women’s issues and animal welfare charities. The award ceremony was held at URI’s 2024 URI Celebration: A Decade Honoring the Human-Animal Bond, at the iconic Cipriani 25 Broadway. The event commemorates ten years of the groundbreaking People and Animals Living Safely (PALS) program. Coinciding with National Pet Month, the event highlighted the transformative impact of PALS, and celebrated the continued commitment to providing safety for survivors of domestic violence and their pets.

“… the power of collective giving …”

New York State Assembly Member Rebecca A. Seawright bestowed the award upon Ms. Shafiroff, who encouraged all to give what they can regardless of circumstances, highlighting the power of collective giving and the impact everyone can have.

“As an advocate for human rights, I am dedicated to shining a spotlight on issues that face families including women, children and others affected by domestic violence and abuse,” said Jean Shafiroff. “URI’s groundbreaking work to help transform the lives of domestic violence survivors and their pets is truly inspiring. I am so very honored to receive the Trailblazer Award in solidarity with URI and its important work.”

Nathaniel Fields, CEO of Urban Resource Institute, reflected on Ms. Shafiroff as the 2024 Trailblazer Honoree and the PALS program’s success, stating, “We could think of no better person than Jean Shafiroff to help URI continue to blaze the trail towards enhanced services for people and their pets. Jean’s dedication and kindness exemplify the true meaning of giving. Over the last decade, PALS has served as a beacon of hope by ensuring that survivors do not have to choose between their safety and being separated from their pets. We have kept about 600 families and 800 pets together during their most vulnerable times. We thank Jean for her support which will enable us to further our mission.”

Jean Shafiroff

Jean Shafiroff is a philanthropist, humanitarian, TV host, writer, and the author of the book Successful Philanthropy: How to Make a Life by What You Give. Jean is often referred to as “the first lady of philanthropy” by the press because of her generosity and extensive work as a volunteer fundraiser and leader in the philanthropic world. She serves on the boards of many charitable organizations and each year, she chairs upwards of eight different charity galas. Among the many causes she champions are those involved in women’s rights, the rights of underserved populations, health care, and animal welfare.

Jean serves on the boards of the Southampton Hospital Association, Mission Society of NYC, Couture Council of the Museum at FIT, French Heritage Society, Casita Maria, the NY Women’s Foundation, Global Strays, and Southampton Animal Shelter Foundation Honorary Board. A Catholic, she has served on The Jewish Board, a large mental health service charity, for 28 years and now is one of their Honorary Trustees.

Jean served as the national spokesperson for American Humane’s “Feed the Hungry” COVID-19 program, an initiative that raised $1,000,000 to provide food for over 1,000,000 animals living in 109 different shelters across the United States.

Jean Shafiroff has been honored many times by groups including American Humane, Stony Brook Southampton Hospital, American Heart Association, American Cancer Society, Mission Society of NYC, 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, the Ellen Hermanson Foundation, Dominican Women’s Development Center, Fashion for Development, New York State Assemblywoman Rebecca Seawright’s Women’s Leadership Awards, She Exist Magazine, Pet Philanthropy Circle, Animal Zone International, Health Advocates for Older People, Southampton African American Museum, Women’s eNews, 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. Since then, Dan’s Papers has honored Jean Shafiroff at least three additional times for her philanthropic work.

“First Lady of Philanthropy of New York”

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 work in philanthropy. This recognition was given by US Representative Carolyn Maloney, who represented the 14th Congressional District, in New York.

In 2024, Jean Shafiroff became a member of The Global Mental Health Task Force to support the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal #3.

Jean is the producer and host of the television show “Successful Philanthropy,” which airs six times weekly through LTV studios in East Hampton, NY, and several times each week on Sun20TV in Southampton, NY. On her TV program, Jean interviews politicians, celebrities, business leaders, philanthropic leaders, and has even interviewed a US presidential candidate.

Jean is a graduate of Columbia University and the Graduate School of Business at Columbia University.  She holds a  BS in Physical Therapy and an MBA in Finance all from Columbia.  In between college and graduate school, she worked for one year as a physical therapist at the inner-city hospital, St. Luke’s Hospital in New York City. She worked with patients living at or below the poverty level. After earning her MBA, she worked as an investment banker on Wall Street for a number of years.

Related: Find more about Jean Shafiroff and her philanthropic work.

Jean Shafiroff is also widely recognized as an Instagram influencer. Her Instagram account @JeanShafiroff has over 1.2 million followers. For more information about Jean Shafiroff, please visit

Urban Resource Institute

URI is the largest provider of temporary housing for survivors of domestic violence in the country and a leading provider of transitional housing for families experiencing homelessness. Committed to ending cycles of violence and homelessness, URI offers trauma-informed, client-centered support to the families it serves. With 24 shelters in New York City, including 15 shelters specifically for domestic violence survivors, URI provides temporary housing to over 3,700 people each night and trauma-informed programming to approximately 40,000 people annually.

Learn more by visiting  

The PALS Program

Launched in 2013, the People and Animals Living Safely (PALS) program is the first of its kind in New York City and one of the few nationwide that allows survivors of domestic violence to co-shelter with their pets. The program reflects URI’s recognition of the importance of the human-animal bond, especially in times of crisis, and provides integrated services to ensure the safety and well-being of all family members during their stay in emergency housing.

Photo credit: Sylvain Gaboury for Getty Images.

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