In Las Vegas on May 31, the Diamond Empowerment Fund (DEF) hosted its most successful Diamonds Do Good gala to date, and the event raised a record amount for DEF beneficiaries and charities.
The funds raised will be used to provide scholarships and assistance to empower young people living in diamond-producing countries.
Botswana student Opelo Matome, a recent graduate of Yale University, spoke at the event on behalf of DEF’s Student Scholars.
“I am ever grateful for the opportunities I’ve been granted through the support of organizations like the Diamond Empowerment Fund and my country’s prioritization of education, truly one of the most powerful catalysts for change,” she told attendees.
The two Diamonds Do Good Awards went to Bruce Cleaver, CEO of De Beers, for his role in accelerating the professional advancement of women, and to the Government of the Northwest Territories (GNWT) of Canada, for its diamond mining–development policies.
“Advancing women is an industry-wide issue,” said Cleaver. “We all have an interest in strengthening the sector by making it more diverse, in making sure the benefits that diamonds can have are felt in the communities from which they come.”
In his speech, GNWT Premier Bob McLeod said his government “has made it a priority to ensure the multibillion-dollar diamond industry would benefit the NWT economy and residents and protect the land, water, and wildlife for future generations.”
The event included the first-ever industry “Balloons for Good” appeal to raise money for DEF’s mission. The live auction was emceed by awards chair and president of Hearts On Fire, Caryl Capeci, and JCK news director Rob Bates.
“The recipients of this year’s Diamonds Do Good Awards truly reflect the ongoing positive impact being fostered by the diamond industry around the world,” said DEF president Anna Martin, closing the event. “Sharing these stories with our consumers is not only good for business, it is a responsibility for the entire industry.”