JCF adds fourth charity, membership drive

The Jewelers Charity Fund for Children (JCF) marked its fifth anniversary with support for a fourth group which aids children; adding another project to assist African mothers and babies, and launching its first-ever membership drive. The JCF, the jewelry and watch industries’ own charity, is a tax-exempt, non-profit organization which helps seriously ill and abused children.

The new programs were announced at JCF’s annual Facets of Hope Dinner, held June 1 during the international JCK Show in Las Vegas, Nev. More than 2,100 guests attended the gala, held at the Bellagio Hotel. Guest speakers, including an African mother, told how JCF’s efforts helped them. Actress Sharon Stone, by video, praised JCF’s works.

JCF already supports three major children’s charities and their programs-St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, the Make-A-Wish FoundationÒ, and the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation. The new, fourth charity is National CASA (Court-Appointed Special Advocates), a national network of 70,000 trained volunteers who care for the interests of abused and neglected children. JCF’s support will enable CASA to recruit thousands of more volunteers and help sponsor its national, regional and local public awareness and outreach efforts.

JCF’s newest African program is a collaborative effort, involving JCF, the Glaser Foundation and the De Beers Group, to establish a multi-year program to help South African HIV-infected mothers and their babies. Victor Weinman, JCF chairman, and De Beers and Glaser representatives were expected to travel to South Africa in July to meet with government and medical officials to determine the most effective course of action. Between 1999, when it was established, and this year, JFC has raised and donated $10,020,000 to programs for children in need. That includes these grants, announced at the dinner.

* $850,000 to the Wish-A-program.
* $500,000 to the National CASA.
* $850,000 to the St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, the first payment on $2 million over five years for an endowed chair in cell and gene therapy research.
* $850,000 to the Glaser Foundation.
* $250,000 to continue the Glaser Foundation’s “call-to-action” project in Democratic Republic of the Congo to reduce transmission of the HIV virus from mother to child. The program will add two more maternity hospitals, to three already involved, and aims to reach 25,000 more women with counseling, testing and preventive services.
* $400,000 for the JCFC, Glaser and De Beers project. A t least $2 million will be contributed by JCFC to this in the next four to five years. If the project isn’t found feasible, the money will be divided among JCF’s other charities.

The JCF Gala also honored trade leaders who actively support the industry’s charity efforts. This year, they were Mary Forte, president and chief executive officer, Zale Corp., and Matthew Runci, president and chief executive officer, Jewelers of America, Inc.

The work of Weinman, who has served as a JCF officer since its formation in 1999, was recognized. Weinman’s term as chairman ends in October.

Also cited was the JCF Fundraising and Event Committee, composed of top jewelry retail and manufacturing officials and led by Terry Burman of Sterling Inc., who’s JCFC vice chairman.

JCF also formally launched its first membership drive (see JCK June 2003) to broaden grassroots support and fund-raising. The focus is on individuals. (Almost 1,000 jewelry trade businesses and organizations already support JCF.) They can become a JCF member in one of several categories, for contributions ranging from $1 to $10 a week. Benefits include a Certificate of Thanks, a membership pin, listing in JCF’s “Facets of Hope Journal,” recognition on JCF’s website and JCF badge ribbons for trade show usage.

In addition to its annual Facets of Hope gala, JCFC also raises money year-round through support from jewelry, gem, diamond, ands watch trade organizations, chain- and independent jewelers, and manufacturers; counter canisters, and JCF holiday greeting cards.

For more information about JCF and membership, contact Pattie Light, Executive Director, Jewelers Charity Fund for Children, 2141 Alternate A1A South, Suite 440, Jupiter, Florida 33477 (561) 744-3222. Fax (561) 744-3235.