JFC Raises $4.5 Million; honors Light, Grove and Yurmans

Jewelers for Children (JFC) raised $4.5 million in the past year to support charities caring for children, for a total of about $18 million since its founding in 1999. The announcement was made at JFC’s annual Facets of Hope Dinner, held June 5 during The JCK Show ~ Las Vegas 2005. About 2,000 guests attended the gala, held at the Bellagio Hotel Grand Ballroom.

JFC, the jewelry and watch industries’ own charity, is a tax-exempt, non-profit organization which helps seriously ill and abused children.

The JFC gala honored three jewelry trade leaders who actively support the industry’s charity efforts. They were Pattie Light, JFC’s former executive director since its 1999 start who resigned in 2004; Susan Grove, executive vice president and chief operations officer of the Zale Corp., and jewelry and watch designers David and Sybil Yurman. Light was given a standing ovation by at the dinner following her brief thank you speech. David Rocha, current JFC executive director, said Light was “vital to the development of JFC.”

Special recognition was also given to Jeffrey Comment, chairman and CEO of Helzberg Diamonds Inc., and a long time officer and support of JFC, who died suddenly in 2004. His wife, Martha, accepted the honor in his name, with a remembrance of her husband and his charitable work that touched many in the audience and promoted a standing ovation his honor when she concluded.

The Facets of Hope event is the major fundraising activity for JFC each year and attracts more than 2,000 industry professionals. Special speakers included children and young people representing the four charities–St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, the Make-A-Wish Foundation, and the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation, and CASA (Court-Appointed Special Advocates), which cares for the legal interests of abused and neglected children, and the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foudnation. Jake Glaser, who was infected by AIDS while still in his mother’s womb, which led directly to her founding the organization bearing her name, was one of the four speakers.

JFC raises money year-round through support from jewelry, gem, diamond, and watch trade organizations, chain and independent jewelers, and manufacturers; counter canisters, and JFC holiday greeting cards. Jewelers For Children, formerly known as the Jewelers Charity Fund for Children, was founded in 1999 by the U.S. jewelry industry with the mission of helping children in need. Its nationwide success is due to the continuing generosity of jewelry trade organizations, jewelry and watch manufacturing companies, jewelry retail stores, individual jewelry professionals, and jewelry consumers.