JCK Industry Fund Opens 2021 Grant Submissions and Announces 2020 Recipients

Norwalk, CT (October 15, 2020) - JCK has opened submissions for the 2021 JCK Industry Fund application process and announced the 2020 recipients who received  more than $400,000 in grant funding. Since 1997, the fund has awarded over $7 million towards program grants to benefit the jewelry industry at large.

In addition to its traditional fund submissions, in August, the JCK Industry Fund Committee announced a new Diversity & Inclusivity grant, which came out of a greater awareness that the industry can and should do more to support inclusion. The new grant received supplemental support by De Beers Group, who raised additional funds during JCK Virtual in August. Organizations that would like to create or enhance existing programs that support increased inclusion within the U.S. jewelry industry are encouraged to develop their ideas and apply for funds.

“In a year with unprecedented challenges, we feel the JCK Industry Fund is more needed than ever. Now is the time to support organizations and industry initiatives that will generate significant impact to our industry’s growth and development,” says Yancy Weinrich, Chief Growth Officer, Reed Exhibitions. “It’s also why we developed a new grant specific to Diversity & Inclusivity that is dedicated to supporting greater inclusivity within the fine jewelry and watch industries by supporting BIPOC initiatives.”

To apply for the 2021 JCK Industry Fund or the Diversity & Inclusivity Grant, visit www.jckonline.com/industryfund. Applications must be received by November 20, 2020.

2020 Recipients

The 2020 recipients comprised of eight organizations that serve the jewelry and watch industries and that will apply their JCK Industry Funds to initiatives that range from gender equality to ethical sourcing and consumer confidence. The 2020 grant recipients include:

  • Diamond Empowerment Fund
  • International Colored Gemstone Association
  • Jewelers of America
  • Jewelers Security Alliance
  • Jewelers Vigilance Committee
  • Mercury Free Mining
  • Responsible Jewellery Council

Women's Jewelry AssociationEach of these organizations received grant monies in the first quarter of 2020 to advance specific projects that will benefit the industry as a whole.

The JCK Industry Fund Committee chooses recipients based upon their synergy with the overall core goals of the Fund. Goals include: improving commerce and the image within the jewelry industry in the eyes of the consumer, aiding in addressing serious problems faced within the jewelry industry and assisting in developing educational content that can make a profound impact on addressing jewelry industry and consumer concerns.

2020 Grant Recipients & The Projects Funded

The 2020 recipients received a grand total of $409,000 – over 50% more funding than the previous year. Each are using the JCK Industry Fund grants to better the industry. Below, their projects are detailed in their own words.

Diamond Empowerment Fund, whose "Diamonds Do Good" positive messaging campaign continues to build consumer confidence, reaching over 3 million millennials to date:

The JCK Industry Fund’s grant has enabled Diamonds Do Good to be a continuous and affirmative voice championing, through real and meaningful stories, the positive impact natural diamonds have on communities around the world. This has been especially relevant during these unparalleled times brought on by the global pandemic which saw industry members throughout the United States and the World reach out to communities particularly affected by COVID-19. The Diamonds Do Good message lines up with consumers’ need to give meaningful gifts that express their real emotions. The JCK Industry Fund grant has ensured consumers are hearing this message.”

-          Nancy Orem Lyman, V.P. Executive Director, Diamonds Do Good

International Colored Gemstone Association (ICA), in support of the artisanal mining sector, helping to improve lives, protect the environment and promote communities:

As the world’s leader in supporting the natural colored gemstone industry, it is ICA’s commitment to give aid to the artisanal miners and their families, to help the mining communities prosper and grow in a safe environment, improving their lives. The generous donation gifted by the JCK Industry Fund to ICA’s Gems Keep Giving initiative will truly make an important difference to the lives and communities of some of the less fortunate people in our gemstone community. We should all play our part, whether through donations, or an endowment, a fund-raising effort, the identification of a community project, or by providing hands-on aid and assistance, it is all very much appreciated.”

-          Clement Sabbagh, President, International Colored Gemstone Association

Jewelers of America, whose efforts are focused on the industry’s support by implementing a sustainable, ongoing national advertising campaign for the jewelry industry on behalf of the fine jewelry industry:

 

Receiving the JCK Industry Fund Grant enables grant recipients to stretch our efforts in creating positive impact for the jewelry industry. Jewelers of America is working together with the industry, for the industry to enhance consumer awareness and drive jewelry sales. We look forward to continuing our promotions to consumers in early 2021.”

-          David J. Bonaparte, President & CEO, Jewelers of America

Jewelers Security Alliance (JSA), in support of Cybercrime Prevention Training and Information for the diamond, jewelry and watch industry:

Coincidentally, the JCK Industry Fund 2020 grant to Jewelers’ Security Alliance provided JSA with the perfect preparation for the pandemic. The grant focused on JSA implementing a “Real-Time Crime System” allowing JSA to upgrade its hardware, software, database and communication tools. The purpose was to permit JSA’s small staff to function outside its Midtown Manhattan office, 24/7, from anywhere in the world. The JCK grant has allowed JSA to effectively carry on its crime prevention mission of informing jewelers and working with the FBI and local police seamlessly and without interruption, despite staff working from home during the pandemic.”

-          John Kennedy, President, Jewelers Security Alliance

Jewelers Vigilance Committee (JVC), in support of its advancements in consumer-facing projects to ensure the reputation of the jewelry industry remains high in the mind of the consumer:

The JCK Industry Fund has played an integral part in supporting JVC’s mission to serve the jewelry industry and the consumer by actively encouraging the highest levels of integrity in business. This year, JVC was honored to receive funds to support new projects such as our digital Understanding the FTC Guides book, released in June and supported by many educational webinars in our new digital environment, and our work with advocacy and education on increasingly important AML compliance for the trade. JVC continues to offer guidance and education through the development of new resources, presentations and one-on-one chats to address the needs of the diverse jewelry business community.”

-          Tiffany Stevens, President & CEO, Jewelers Vigilance Committee

Mercury Free Mining (MFM), who aims to create industry-wide awareness of the human and environmental health issues related to the use of mercury in artisanal and small-scale gold mining (ASGM) by promoting the discovery and implementation of a safe and effective alternative to mercury use:

We are deeply grateful to the JCK Industry Fund for their generous grant that has enabled Mercury Free Mining to launch a vital project for importing gold ore-concentrates from South America. Samples are presently being tested using new technologies with a goal of finding methods for use by small-scale gold miners so they can mine more profitably while eliminating the use of toxic mercury. In addition, funds from the JCK grant are making possible communication programs with the jewelry industry, describing the damaging conditions related to mercury use and information on how to obtain responsibly mined gold.”

-          Toby Pomeroy, Director,  Mercury Free Mining

Responsible Jewellery Council (RJC), in support of helping companies of all sizes throughout the jewelry supply chain meet the rising ethical demands of peers, consumers, financial institutions and civil society by providing a clear set of standards – the RJC Code of Practices – which are verified through a third-party, independent, certification process:

We are an industry built on trust and beauty. In this decade of action towards the 17 Sustainable Development Goals, we have a shared responsibility to integrate sustainability throughout the global supply chain from mining to retail. We believe that together we can create positive impact on the livelihoods of communities around the world. We thank the JCK Industry Fund for this important contribution to support RJC in encouraging responsible business practices and fostering consumer confidence.”

-          Iris Van der Veken, Executive Director, Responsible Jewellery Council

Women's Jewelry Association (WJA), in support of educational resources and professional development opportunities for its Gender Equality Project:

The Women’s Jewelry Association believes that focusing on women’s engagement and collaboration across the industry will positively impact all industry stakeholders. The JCK Industry Grant Fund is integral in helping WJA further these types of activities. With its support, we are able to convene our Women’s Executive Leadership Forum and prepare for the future of jewelry retail by focusing on mentorship, connection and training to uplift the next generation of jewelry leaders.”

-          Jennifer Markas, Executive Director, Women’s Jewelry Association

The JCK Industry Fund Committee consists of: Yancy Weinrich (Chief Growth Officer, Reed Exhibitions USA); John Green (President & CEO, Lux Bond & Green); Eddie Le Vian (CEO, Le Vian); Michael Lerche (President, Goldstar Jewellery LLC); Sam Sandberg (Chairman, A. Jaffe); and Sarin Bachmann (Group Vice President, Reed Jewelry Group).

The grants are funded by JCK with support from the industry at-large and donations from JCK customers: its exhibitors and attendees. Donations are collected year-round and allocated annually.

For more information, visit www.jckonline.com/industryfund

About the JCK Industry Fund

The JCK Industry Fund was established in 1997 to enhance the image of the jewelry industry and to foster development and research of programs that would benefit the industry. To date, this fund has awarded over $6 million in grants to those organizations or individuals who have created programs that will have the most sustainable impact to improve growth and health for the industry at large.

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