JFC Commits $4.7 Million to Children’s Charities

Jewelers for Children, the industry’s charity, recently honored H. Marvin Beasley, chairman and chief executive officer of Helzberg Diamonds in North Kansas City, Mo., and Lee Michael Berg, president and chide executive officer of Lee Michaels Fine Jewelry in Baton Rouge, La., while announcing that $ 4.7 million would be committed in the year ahead to charities that benefit children who are the victims of catastrophic illness or life-threatening abuse and neglect.

More than 2,100 members of the jewelry industry attended the annual Facets of Hope celebration held June 3 at the Bellagio Hotel in Las Vegas, as part of The JCK Show. In addition to the recognition of the honorees, the crowd heard from some of the children who have directly benefited from the support the jewelry industry has so generously provided. The program included a five-year-old boy from India who experienced the power of a wish, a 15-year-old girl who was treated as St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, Tenn., and a 10 year-old, HIV positive boy from Jamaica who is participating in a study with the JFC Elizabeth Glaser Scientist, Dr. Margaret Feeney. Feeney and the boy were introduced, for the first time, on the stage during the presentation.

“Our outstanding honorees and the inspiring children have made this the most successful Facets of Hope event to date,” said Laurence R. Grunstein, JFC board chairman and president of Citizen Watch Company of America.

H. Marvin Beasley is chairman and CEO of Helzberg Diamonds. Born and raised in Petersburg, Va., he earned a business degree from Richard Bland College, College of William and Mary, in 1963, and attended Virginia Commonwealth University. He began his business career with The Gunst Corp., a wholesale distribution company, and in 1968 was promoted to vice president, Retail Division. In 1972 he joined Best Products Company, where he became vice president, Jewelry Division, in 1983.
 
Beasley joined Helzberg Diamonds as senior vice president, Merchandising and Distribution, in 1989. In 2001, he was named executive vice president, Marketing, Merchandising and Distribution, and then was appointed president and chief operating officer in 2002. In 2004, he became chairman and chief executive officer. Marvin and his wife, Fay, have been married for 32 years, and they have three daughters and six grandchildren.

“Like anyone with children in their lives, my family is a big reason that I feel so connected to Jewelers for Children,” Beasley said. “I am extremely thankful that my kids are healthy and safe, and our very good fortune makes our hearts go out even more to children in need of the services that JFC supports.”

He added, “The things we’ve already seen in this program make it perfectly clear that the work Jewelers for Children is doing is very important.”

Lee Michael Berg is the president and CEO of Lee Michaels Fine Jewelry, the firm he and his wife Brenda founded in 1978 following Lee’s decision to leave his position as a senior vice president with the Zale Corp. Their first store was in Baton Rouge, La., and the company now boasts eight stores in three states.

Berg maintains a very active industry, community, and philanthropic life. He serves on numerous industry boards, including the Jewelers for Children and the Gemological Institute of America. He is a past chairman of the Jewelers of America and the Jewelers Vigilance Committee and past board member of the Jewelry Information Center, the American Gem Society Laboratories, and the Jewelers Mutual Insurance Company. Berg and his wife Brenda reside in the Baton Rouge area, along with their three sons.

“I feel especially honored to be surrounded by family, friends, our company management team, and colleagues from the industry that is known as ‘the industry with a heart,” Berg said. “It means a great deal when the people who know you are willing to support the causes you have seen really make a difference.”

He added, “In a few short years, JFC has become a recognized force for the children in life threatening conditions who so desperately need an advocate.”

Beasley and Berg were joined by a number of industry leaders and the group raised more than $ 5 million for the charity. With the distributions announced at the event, the cumulative total that JFC has donated to children’s charities since 1999 grows to nearly $28 million.

The funds will be distributed as follows: St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital – $1 million, Make-A-Wish Foundation – $1 million, National Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) Association – $1 million, Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation – $675,000, Jason Program – $325,000, Make-A-Wish Foundation International – $200,000, National Autism Research Foundation – $50,000 and Santa America Fund – $35,000.