Jewelers for Children announced that it raised $4.5 million to support charities caring for children during the past year, bringing the total raised to about $18 million since the charity’s founding in 1999. JFC has also set up an endowment fund named for Jeffrey W. Comment, the former Helzberg Diamonds chairman and JFC board member who died suddenly last year.
These announcements were made at JFC’s annual Facets of Hope Dinner, held June 5 at the Bellagio Hotel grand ballroom during the The JCK Show ~ Las Vegas 2005.
JFC chairman Terry Burman discussed the charity’s new Jeffrey W. Comment Memorial Endowment Fund. Through it, JFC will reach out with funding to charities beyond those currently supported. The new endowment fund is “another step forward for JFC, as we continue to meet our mission of helping children around the world who are the victims of catastrophic illness or life-threatening abuse and neglect,” said Burman.
Allocating money annually will enable JFC to “form new relationships with deserving organizations beyond the four legacy charities,” Laurence Grunstein, president of Citizen Watch Co. of America and JFC vice president and chairman of its charity programs committee, later said. “Our goal is to identify organizations that may someday become legacy charities, and to increase the industry’s support to children in need.”
Comment’s wife, Martha, and his daughter, Kristin, attended the Facets of Hope dinner to acknowledge the honor. Martha’s remembrance of her husband and his charitable work touched many in the audience and earned a standing ovation when she concluded.
The JFC gala honored three other jewelry-trade leaders who actively support the industry’s charity efforts. They were Pattie Light, JFC’s former executive director from its start in 1999 through 2004; Susan Gove, executive vice president and chief operations officer of Zale Corp.; and jewelry and watch designers David and Sybil Yurman. Light, whom current JFC executive director David Rocha called “vital to the development of JFC,” was given a standing ovation following her brief thank-you speech.
JFC raises money to help seriously ill and abused or neglected children. It supports the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation; St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital; Make-A-Wish Foundation; and National Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) Association, which helps children involved in the juvenile court system.
The Facets of Hope event is the major fund-raising activity for JFC each year and attracts more than 2,000 industry professionals. Special guest speakers at the event included children and young people who were helped by the four charities. Jake Glaser, who was infected by AIDS while still in his mother’s womb, which led to her founding the organization bearing her name, was one of the four speakers.