New JFC endowment fund in honor of Comment

Jewelers for Children has set up an endowment fund named for Jeffrey Comment, former chairman of Helzberg Diamonds Inc., board member and supporter of JFC, who died suddenly in 2004.

This is “another step forward for JFC as we continue to meet our mission of helping children,” said Terry Burman, chairman of Sterling Jewelers, Inc., and JFC chairman. “Naming the effort after Jeff is a very fitting memorial. Those of us who knew him as a friend, a peer and a fellow board member will always remember his dedication and devotion to children. I am sure he would be honored to know that this effort will carry his name.”

The Jeffrey W. Comment Memorial Endowment Fund will support worthwhile causes on a one-time or on-going basis, and respond to emergency needs, such as the recent tsunami relief efforts in southeast Asia. It will enable JFC, say officials, to reach out to charities beyond those it currently supports.

The initial allocation to the fund is $100,000, said Laurence Grunstein, president of Citizen Watch Co. of America, vice chairman of JFC and chairman of its charity programs committee. “Our goal in allocating money each year is to allow us to form new relationships with deserving organizations beyond JFC’s four legacy charities,” he said. “We want to identify organizations that may someday become legacy charities [of JFC] and to increase the industry’s support to children in need.”

Any member of the industry may recommend a deserving charity that can apply for funding. To qualify, an organization must be national or international in scope, with a primary mission of benefiting children whose lives are threatened. Interested organizations must complete an application process and submit requests by Sept.1 each year. JFC’s charity programs committee will review each application and make their decision for grants by Feb. 1 of each following year.

To contact JFC, for an application package or for more information , go to JFC’s website, www.jewelersforchildren.org.

Formal announcement of the endowment fund was made by Burman at JFC’s annual Facets of Hope fundraising dinner, June 5 at the Bellagio Hotel, held during The JCK Show ~ Las Vegas 2005. Comment’s wife Martha and daughter Kristin were on hand to acknowledge the honor.

Jewelers For Children—composed of jewelry retailers, jewelry trade organizations, jewelry and watch manufacturers, other jewelry business professionals, and jewelry consumers–was founded in 1999 by the U.S. jewelry industry to help children in need. Since then, it has raised about $18 million for programs benefiting them.

JFC, the jewelry and watch industries’ own charity, is a tax-exempt, non-profit organization which helps children around the world who are the victims of catastrophic illness or life-threatening abuse and neglect. It actively supports four charities—the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation, St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital, the Make-a-Wish Foundation and the National CASA Foundation, which helps children involved in the juvenile court system.