Proceeds from GIA Founders Dinner will go toward disaster relief efforts

The Gemological Institute of America said today, Sept. 20, that it will give the net proceeds from this year’s League of Honor Founders Dinner to the relief efforts for the victims, and their families, of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

The annual dinner, this year on Oct. 22, normally raises hundreds of thousands of dollars for GIA’s nonprofit educational and research missions.

GIA made the announcement in a letter sent by GIA President William E. Boyajian to the “friends and colleagues” of GIA throughout the industry.

A poll of GIA’s friends and supporters, including its own board of governors, found “overwhelming” support for holding the dinner as scheduled and not letting the terrorists win “the war of will and spirit,” said Boyajian.

“However, in recognition of the impact the tragic events have had worldwide, and with deep thought and respect for those most affected,” the decision was made to donate the proceeds, he said.

Boyajian’s letter urged its readers to support this year’s Founders Dinner as “an opportunity to meet with friends and colleagues in the industry and to feel blessed through the assistance we will be giving to those most affected by the events of September 11.”

In addition, GIA will establish a GIA Diamond Program Scholarship in the name and memory of Bob Speisman, director of marketing at Lazare Kaplan International, who was killed on the hijacked plane that crashed into the Pentagon. And it will participate in the online fundraising project, “Auction for America,” being conducted through eBay by donating products from GEM Instruments and the GIA Bookstore.