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Sunday, May 25, 2014

JCK Announces 2014 Industry Fund Recipients

JCK announced today the eight recipients of its 16th annual Industry Fund for 2014. The grants, which are awarded to individuals, groups, or associations whose work results in the betterment of the overall jewelry industry, topped over the $290,000 mark this year.
The 2014 Industry Fund recipients are: American Gem Society (AGS), Diamond Development Initiative (DDI), Diamond Empowerment Fund (D.E.F.), Jewelers of America (JA), Jewelers Security Alliance (JSA), Jewelers Vigilance Committee (JVC), Manufacturing Jewelers and Suppliers of America (MJSA), and Women’s Jewelry Association (WJA).
“Upgrading and developing new technology that will enable effective, tangible changes in our industry was the central theme addressed by the majority of this year’s fund recipients,” explained Yancy Weinrich, Group Vice President, JCK. “From creating new online education and marketing platforms to enhancing information access and dissemination, the recipients are on the forefront of evolving how the jewelry industry communicates.”
The fund award grants annually to projects that: (1) improve the image of the jewelry industry in the eyes of the consumer, and/or (2) aids jewelry industry organizations in addressing serious problems faced within the industry, and/or (3) assists internal organizations and associations in developing training materials. 

American Gem Society and AGS Laboratory CEO, Ruth Batson, believes that the JCK Industry Fund grant will extend benefits beyond its members to the entire jewelry industry through a newly revised education program, ‘Conclave On Demand.’ Batson explains, “This grant has enabled us to deliver the one-of-a-kind education available at Conclave through our online education center, which provides videos of our speakers. In turn, we make these video sessions available, free-of-charge to the industry.”

“WJA applied for the JCK Industry Fund grant in order to increase the reach of our annual In the Know Conference. While the event is held in New York City, the funding from the grant enabled us to tape much of the day’s presentations and provide it online to those unable to attend in person,” explained WJA’s Executive Director, Teresa Stohs. “This is a huge step for WJA and builds on our commitment to be stronger nationally and internationally. We could not have accomplished this without the JCK Industry Fund support.”

Elaborating on the high-tech enhancements that will assist jewelers in avoiding crime and helping police identify and apprehend criminals that attack the diamond, jewelry and watch industry, JSA President, John Kennedy says, “The Jewelers’ Security Alliance is grateful to the JCK Industry Fund for the generous support it has received for so many years in order to support innovative projects. JSA is excited that this year’s grant will allow JSA to enhance its information dissemination by means of mobile devices, additional crime search features and emergency text messages.”

"Through our ‘Diamonds Do Good’ mission, the Diamond Empowerment Fund (D.E.F.) serves as an advocate for the good works of the industry. D.E.F. sees an opportunity to connect this message directly with consumers, especially the socially-minded millennial consumer. D.E.F. applied for a grant to the JCK Industry Fund to help us develop an online platform that speaks directly to consumers with these intertwined messages,” explained D.E.F.’s Vice President and Executive Director, Nancy Orem Lyman. She continued, “We think this is a really big idea, and are very thankful to the JCK Industry Fund for agreeing and supporting our vision.”

Jewelers of America President & CEO, David Bonaparte, said, "Jewelers of America provides jewelers with a voice on matters of public policy and issues that can impact consumer confidence.” He continued, “Thanks to the generosity of the JCK Industry Fund grant, our initiatives will enhance the cooperative work that our industry is doing and greatly increase our efforts to protect the interests of jewelry businesses."

“The JCK Industry Fund support allows JVC to fund its work on behalf of the industry to promote integrity through legal compliance,” noted Cecilia L. Gardner, President and CEO, Jewelers Vigilance Committee. “JVC represents the industry before government regulators and educates its members and the industry on the requirements of the complex laws that apply to the manufacturing, marketing and labeling of jewelry. Without JCK’s support, JVC would not be as effective in meeting its goals.” 

Due in part to price increases, mass-production, and changing consumer behaviors, David W. Cochran, MJSA President and CEO, speaks on the challenges of an evolving industry marketplace, “Part of MJSA's mission is to help professional jewelry makers and designers navigate all of these sea changes—and thanks to the JCK Industry Fund, we'll be able to do just that, by investing in a Strategic and Practical Business Tools program that provides the insights and guidance needed.” He continues, “The JCK grants play a vital role in ensuring the jewelry industry remains vital and healthy in the 21st century."

"The JCK Industry Fund grant is a classic example of what a huge difference small investments can make in the lives of those that have so little. The 2014 grant is geared towards funding some of our important education initiatives regarding responsible diamond sourcing in Africa," explained Dorothée Gizenga, Executive Director of the Diamond Development Initiative. "Artisanal miners can and are willing to be responsible miners. Previous grants from the JCK Industry Fund have assisted us in building the miners’ capacity to meet the market and consumers’ ethical demands and expectations. The present grant allows us to share this achievement with various industry members.”
An Industry Fund Advisory Committee, consisting of representatives from JCK, in addition to retailers and manufacturers, selects fund recipients. Submissions of applications for the 2015 grants will begin in October. For more information on the JCK Industry Fund, click here.

ABOUT THE JCK INDUSTRY FUND:

The JCK Industry Fund, now in its sixteenth year, was established to enhance the image of the jewelry industry and to foster development and research of programs that would benefit the industry. Each year, grants are distributed from the JCK Industry Fund to individuals, groups or associations who work towards the betterment of the overall industry. To date, this fund has awarded over $5 million in grants to those organizations or individuals who have created programs that improve the industry's image. The JCK Industry Fund is underwritten by JCK.
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