DIAMOND EMPOWERMENT FUND’S DIAMONDS DO GOOD AWARDS GALA SHINES LIGHT ON GIVING BACK
Nate Light, Dorothée Gizenga and Chow Tai Fook Receive Honors
Las Vegas, NV; June 3, 2016 – Three global industry leaders were honored for their outstanding leadership and service at the Diamond Empowerment Fund’s Diamonds Do Good Awards Gala, held last night. Nate Light, former CEO of Sterling Jewelers, Dorothée Gizenga, executive director of the Diamond Development Initiative, and Chow Tai Fook Jewellery Group were recognized for their actions, which have left a positive impact on communities from the United States to China to Africa.
An inspirational beat of African drummers kicked off the program that highlighted the Diamond Empowerment Fund’s mission of education empowerment for youth from diamond communities around the world and demonstrating how Diamonds Do Good.
Nate Light, who received the Diamonds Do Good Lifetime Achievement Award for his influence in spearheading the “Party With a Purpose” and inspiring what is now called Jewelers For Children said “This honor is truly a wonderful and symbolic highlight of my career. I want kids as they grow up not to have to suffer. We need to keep raising money to create a better life and a better world for them. I challenge you to use this as a call to action to do even more for kids and for your community”.
Accepting Chow Tai Fook’s Diamonds Do Good Community Development Award was Managing Director Kent Wong. “For 87 years we have been upholding our belief ‘From the Society, For the Society’ and have been devoted to supporting charitable activities and social services for the betterment of future generations”.
Dorothée Gizenga, who received the Diamonds Do Good Award for Sustainable Practices for her work with the Diamond Development Initiative, gave an impassioned speech on the need to keep encouraging these practices throughout the mining industry. “The very livelihood of millions of people in some of the poorest countries in the world, survive because of diamonds. We must maintain consumer confidence in the industry to keep the industry thriving. And to do so means the practices we all embrace must be sustainable and embody integrity”.
Six Diamond Empowerment Fund Student Scholars were on hand to give the awards to the recipients. Androulla Markus, graduate of the African Leadership Academy and recent graduate of Columbia University said “Diamonds have played a pivotal role in who I am today and who and where I will be in the future. My plan is to complete medical school, earn a degree in Public Health and return to Botswana and effect change both at the individual and public level.”
Board President and CEO of Mercury Ring, Phyllis Bergman summed up the evening “as colleagues in the industry we are all driven by a shared desire to do well and to do good. Tonight we raised over one million dollars that will go towards scholarships for deserving young people around the world. We need to share our good stories with others outside the diamond industry and raise even more money so that thousands more deserving young people will benefit from the Diamond Empowerment Fund’s global mission.
Premier Presenting Sponsors of the Diamonds Do Gala included Chow Tai Fook Jewellery Group, Inc., De Beers Group of Companies, Signet Jewelers Limited (Kay Jewelers, Jared the Galleria of Jewelry, Zales Jewelers) Patron Sponsors were JCK and Rosy Blue Group, and Partner Sponsors included ALROSA, Exelco and Le Vian Group.
About the Diamond Empowerment Fund:
The Diamond Empowerment Fund is a global non-profit based in New York City and co-founded by Russell Simmons and leaders in the diamond industry in 2007 to empower diamond communities around the world. Its beneficiaries include: the African Leadership Academy, a university preparatory school in Johannesburg, South Africa, founded on the belief that ethical leadership is the key to sustainable development on the continent and drawing students from all 54 countries in Africa, the Botswana Top Achievers program that provides the top high school students countrywide the opportunity to study at a university of their choice worldwide. Graduates then return to Botswana to contribute to its economic, social and political development; Veerayatan, a model for encouraging development of responsible citizens who are educated, have strong integrity and a motivation to give back to their community. D.E.F supports students attending its colleges of Pharmacy, Business Administration and Engineering. D.E.F also supports the Diamond Development Initiative’s mobile school program in the Democratic Republic of Congo and high school scholars in Tanzania through the Flaviana Matata Foundation.