The eight recipients of JCK’s 16th annual Industry Fund have been announced, with awards surpassing the $290,000 mark this year. Grants are awarded to individuals, groups, or associations whose work results in the betterment of the jewelry industry in the following ways: improving the industry’s image in the eyes of the consumer, aiding in addressing serious problems faced within the industry, and assisting internal organizations and associations in developing training materials.
“Upgrading and developing new technology that will enable effective, tangible changes in our indsutry was the central theme addressed by the majority of this year’s fund recipients,” said JCK group vice president Yancy Weinrich. “From creating new online education and marketing platforms to enhancing information access and dissemination, the recipients are on the forefront of evolving how the jewelry industry communicates.”
The recipients of the 2014 Industry Fund are:
American Gem Society (AGS). “This grant has enabled us to deliver the one-of-a-kind education available at Conclave through our online education center, which provides videos of our speakers,” said American Gem Society CEO Ruth Batson of its newly revised education program, Conclave on Demand. “In turn, we make these video sessions available free of charge to the industry.”
Diamond Development Initiative (DDI). “The JCK Industry Fund grant is a classic example of what a huge different small investments can make in the lives of those that have so little,” said executive director Dorothée Gizenga. “The 2014 grant is geared toward funding some of our important education initiatives regarding responsible diamond sourcing in Africa.”
Diamond Empowerment Fund (D.E.F.). “Through our Diamonds Do Good mission, the Diamond Empowerment Fund serves as an advocate for the good works of the industry. D.E.F. sees an opportunity to connect this message directly with consumers, especially the socially minded millennial consumer,” said vice-president and executive director Nancy Orem Lyman. “D.E.F. applied for a grant to help develop an online platform that speaks directly to consumers with these intertwined messages.”
Jewelers of America (JA). “Jewelers of America provides jewelers with a voice on matters of public policy and issues that can impact consumer confidence,” said president and CEO David Bonaparte. “Thanks to the generosity of the JCK Industry Fund grant, our initiatives will enhance the cooperative work that our industry is doing and greatly increase our efforts to protect the interests of jewelry businesses.”
Jewelers’ Security Alliance (JSA). “The Jewelers’ Security Alliance is grateful to the JCK Industry Fund for the generous support it has received for so many years in order to support innovative projects,” said president John Kennedy. “This year’s grant will allow JSA to enhance its information dissemination by means of mobile devices, additional crime-search features, and emergency text messages.”
Jewelers Vigilance Committee (JVC). “JVC represents the industry before government regulators and educates its members of the industry on the requirements of the complex laws that apply to the manufacturing, marketing, and labeling of jewelry,” said president and CEO Cecilia L. Gardner. “The JCK Industry Fund support allows JVC to fund its work on behalf of the industry to promote integrity through legal compliance.”
Manufacturing Jewelers and Suppliers of America (MJSA). “Part of MJSA’s mission is to help professional jewelry makers and designers navigate a sea of changes,” said president and CEO David W. Cochran, with regard to price increases, mass production, and changing consumer behaviors. “Thanks to the JCK Industry Fund, we’ll be able to do just that, by investing in a strategic and practical business tools program that provides the insights and guidance needed.”
Women’s Jewelry Association (WJA). “WJA applied for the JCK Industry Fund grant in order to increase the reach of our annual In the Know Conference,” said WJA executive director Teresa Stohs. “The funding from the grant enabled us to tape much of the day’s presentations and provide it online to those unable to attend in person. This is a huge step for WJA and builds on our commitment to be stronger nationally and internationally.”
Applications for the 2015 grants will be available in October.