June 17, 2005
JFC Creates Endowment Fund in Comment's Memory
Jewelers for Children has formed an endowment fund named for Jeffrey Comment, a former board member, past Facets of Hope honoree and CEO of Helzberg Diamonds. Comment died in late 2004.
The Jeffrey W. Comment Memorial Endowment Fund will be a funding vehicle to reach out beyond the core charities currently supported. The fund will support worthwhile causes on a one-time or on-going basis, as well as respond to emergency needs such as last year's tsunami relief effort.
"We initially allocated $100,000 to the endowment fund," said Laurence Grunstein of Citizen Watch Co. of America, vice chairman of JFC and chair of the charity programs committee. "Our goal is to continue to allocate money each year to allow us to form new relationships with deserving organizations beyond the four legacy charities. Our goal is to identify organizations that may someday become legacy charities and to increase the industry's support to children in need." The four core charities are St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation, the Make-A-Wish Foundation and the National CASA Association.
The Charity Programs Committee of JFC will administer disbursements from the endowment fund. Any member of the industry may recommend a charity that can then apply for funding. To qualify, an organization must be national or international in scope, and must have a primary mission to benefit children whose lives are threatened. All interested organizations will be required to complete the application process and submit their requests by September 1 of each year. The Charity Programs Committee will review each application and make their decision for grants prior to Feb. 1 of the following year.
"The Jeffrey W. Comment Memorial 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 Terry Burman, CEO of Sterling Jewelers and chairman of JFC. "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."
Formal announcement of the memorial was made during JFC's annual Facets of Hope Event June 5, 2005 at the Bellagio in Las Vegas, NV. Comment's wife Martha and daughter Kristin were there to acknowledge the honor.
Interested industry members can direct organizations to JFC's website, www.jewelersforchildren.org for a full application package or have them contact JFC's offices directly.
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. Since its inception, JFC has donated over $14 million to programs benefiting children whose lives have been affected by illness, abuse or neglect. This nationwide success is due to the continuing generosity of jewelry trade organizations, jewelry and watch manufacturers, jewelry retailers, individual jewelry professionals and jewelry consumers.