JCF Adds Fourth Charity, African Project, Membership Drive

The Jewelers Charity Fund for Children (JCF) marked its fifth anniversary with support for a fourth group that aids children, another project to assist African mothers and babies, and its first-ever membership drive. The JCF—the jewelry, gem, and watch industries’ own charity—is a nonprofit organization that helps seriously ill and abused children.

The new programs were announced at JCF’s annual Facets of Hope Dinner, held June 1 during The JCK Show ~ Las Vegas. More than 2,100 guests attended the gala at the Bellagio Hotel. Guest speakers, including an African mother, spoke of how JCF’s efforts help them, and actress Sharon Stone (speaking on film) also praised JCF’s works.

JCF already supports three major children’s charities: St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, the Make-A-Wish Foundation, and the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation. The newly added fourth charity is National CASA (Court-Appointed Special Advocates), a national network of 70,000 trained volunteers who work for the interests of abused and neglected children. JCF’s support will enable CASA to recruit thousands more volunteers and help sponsor national, regional, and local public awareness and outreach efforts.

JCF’s newest African program is a collaborative effort of JCF, the Glaser Foundation, and the De Beers Group to establish a multi-year program to help South African HIV-infected mothers and their babies. JCF chairman Victor Weinman and representatives of De Beers and the Glaser Foundation were expected to travel to South Africa in July to confer with government and medical officials.

The JCF was established in 1999. Since then, the group has raised and donated $10,020,000 to programs for children in need. That figure represents $3.4 million in grants, announced at the dinner, including:

  • $850,000 to Make-A-Wish.

  • $500,000 to National CASA.

  • $850,000 to St. Jude’s, with the first payment of $2 million over five years going to an endowed chair in cell and gene therapy research.

  • $850,000 to the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation.

  • $250,000 to continue the Glaser Foundation’s “call-to-action” project in the Democratic Republic of Congo to reduce transmission of the HIV virus from mother to child. The program will add two more maternity hospitals to the three now involved and aims to reach 25,000 more women with counseling, testing, and preventive services.

  • $400,000 for the JCF, Glaser, and De Beers South African project. At least $2 million will be contributed by JCF over the next four to five years.

The JCF Gala also honored trade leaders who actively support JCF’s charity efforts. This year’s honorees were Mary Forte, president and chief executive officer, Zale Corp., and Matthew Runci, president and chief executive officer, Jewelers of America Inc. The work of Weinman, a JCF officer since the group’s formation in 1999, also was recognized. Weinman’s term as chairman ends in October. Also cited was the JCF Fundraising and Event Committee, composed of top jewelry retail and manufacturing officials and led by JCF vice chairman Terry Burman of Sterling Inc.

JCF also formally launched its first-ever membership drive to broaden grassroots support and fundraising, focusing on individuals. (Almost 1,000 jewelry trade businesses and organizations already support JCF.) Individuals can become JCF members in one of several categories, for contributions from $1 to $10 a week. Benefits include a Certificate of Thanks, membership pin, listing in JCF’s “Facets of Hope Journal,” recognition on JCF’s Web site, and JCF badge ribbons for trade show usage.

For more information about JCF and membership, contact Pattie Light, executive director, Jewelers Charity Fund for Children, 2141 Alternate A1A South, Suite 440, Jupiter, FL 33477; (561) 744-3222, fax (561) 744-3235.