Rapaport Magazine

Industry With a Heart

Jewelers for Children

By Nancy Pier Sindt
RAPAPORT... Children benefit from the generosity of the industry, as the Jewelers for Children raised $4.7 million this year for four charities.

The 9th annual Facets of Hope Celebration, the biggest formal event during the JCK Las Vegas show, raised a record $4.7 million for the Jewelers for Children Fund (JFC). This fund, established in 1999, benefits four children’s charities, which include St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation, Make-a-Wish Foundation and National CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates) Association.

Laurence Grunstein, president of Citizen Watch Co. and chairman of the event, thanked two major sponsors — De Beers and Helzberg Diamonds — as well as 50 corporate underwriters, the largest number in the organization’s history. “We are the industry with a heart,” he said.

The evening’s honorees were Lee Michael Berg, president and chief executive officer (CEO) of Lee Michaels Fine Jewelry, and H. Marvin Beasley, chairman and CEO of Helzberg Diamonds, Inc. Beasley cited the 2,200 retailers and manufacturers who supported the effort as the “bedrock of the organization.”

Traditionally, children who have benefited from the charities are asked to speak to the audience about their experiences. Hayley Arceneaux, a 15-year-old cancer survivor, told of her treatment and recovery at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. Make-a-Wish Foundation’s beneficiary Elizabeth Struker’s wish was for a Hollywood-style birthday party, which the audience shared via a video presentation. These two organizations as well as the National CASA Association that benefits abused and neglected children will each receive $1 million from JFC in 2007.

Shavonne Flemmings stole the audience’s heart with his shy yet enthusiastic talk about his battle against HIV with the help of Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation, which will receive $675,000 from JFC this year. For the first time, JFC is looking past its borders to aid children in need. In 2007, an additional initiative will give $300,000 to children’s charities in India and Africa.

The JFC fund was created by the fine jewelry industry and is supported by manufacturers and retailers who sell fine jewelry and watches, trade associations, watch companies and those who provide professional services to the jewelry industry. Its goal is to aid children who suffer catastrophic illness or life-threatening abuse and neglect. To date, more than $28 million has been donated to these charities.

Fuzzy Bears, Raffles and Golf Contribute to GoodWorks

During the Las Vegas shows, American Gemological Laboratories, (AGL) and Gem Certification & Assurance Lab (GCAL), subsidiaries of Collectors Universe, raffled off five plasma-screen televisions, sports and celebrity memorabilia and a chance for a “dream team” retail store makeover to benefit Jewelers for Children (JFC), the industry’s charity. GCAL and AGL matched the funds for every ticket sold and raised close to $10,000 for the charities. Ticket buyers were given tiny stuffed bears with logo t-shirts and winners were chosen during each of the four shows.

Also showing support for the charity, Samir Mehta of Paras/ Amikam and Larry Gordon of LG Diamonds/Shreeji Jewelry organized the first Jewelers on the Fairway golf tournament at the Trump National Golf Club in Briarcliff Manor, New York. Proceeds from the tournament, held in late July, will benefit the Hope & Heroes Children’s Cancer Fund at Columbia University Medical Center as well as JFC.

The Hope & Heroes Children’s Cancer Fund, an independent 501(c) (3) charity, provides philanthropic assistance to the Herbert Irving Child & Adolescent Oncology Center at Columbia University Medical Center. The fund’s missionis to support and expand existing programs and therapies at the center, develop new initiatives and enhance the necessary research to fight against pediatric cancer. The center is located at Morgan Stanley Children’s Hospital of New York-Presbyterian, which has been ranked the sixth-best children’s hospital in the United States — number one in New York City — by U.S. News & World Report.

About the Charities

• The Make-A-Wish Foundation® grants the wishes of children with life-threatening medical conditions to enrich the human experience with hope, strength and joy. Established in 1980 when a group of caring individuals helped a young boy fulfill his dream of becoming a police officer, the foundation is now the largest wish-granting charity in the world, with 69 chapters in the U.S. and its territories. Since 1999, Jewelers for Charity (JFC) and the jewelry industry have impacted the lives of 900 children and their families in the United States by funding wishes through the Wish A State program.

• National CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates) Association is dedicated to making the world a safer and more nurturing place for the nation’s abused and neglected children. CASA’s highly trained volunteers are matched one-to-one with these children and work to ensure that they are placed into stable, caring homes where they can thrive. CASA’s national network of local programs can be found in more than 900 communities. In the 2005-06 grant cycle, JFC’s support made it possible for more than 1,000 abused and neglected children from around the country to receive high-quality advocacy and support services from CASA volunteers.

• Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation/Glaser Pediatric Research Network seeks to prevent pediatric HIV infection and to eradicate pediatric AIDS through research, advocacy and prevention and treatment programs. JFC’s support of the Elizabeth Glaser Scientist Award program will allow leaders in the field of pediatric AIDS/HIV research to bring hope to children and families worldwide.

• St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital is dedicated to finding cures and saving children. JFC’s commitment has helped the hospital continue its effort to provide state-of-the-art treatments for children with cancer and other catastrophic illnesses and to research life-saving breakthroughs that are freely shared with the medical community worldwide. JFC helps ensure that this crucial research will continue and that no child will ever be turned away from St. Jude because of a family’s inability to pay.

Article from the Rapaport Magazine - July 2007. To subscribe click here.

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