Last updateTue, 02 Jun 2020 11pm

Retailer Roundtable: What are your favorite charities?

RR Doug“My local church gets a lot of our charity budget and time. Second to that would be Life School International, a group that trains pastors to work in developing nations. In addition to contributing funds, we also donate our time by helping with charitable events such as dinner and golf outings. For me and my business, my faith is important. The Bible says to take care of the orphans and the widows. I’ve adopted an orphan so now I’m helping the widows. I’m currently working with organizations dedicated to helping widows and continue this outreach effort with local groups. In our store database I’ve identified as many widows as possible and send them gifts. One Valentine’s Day we sent each widow flowers. Another year we sent them Kool-Aid and bubble gum. The message there was to find a friend, make some Kool-Aid, and have a bubble blowing contest. And, another year I sent the widows a music CD from my nephew’s band, a Christian lite rock group.”

Doug Meadows, owner
David Douglas Diamonds & Jewelry
Marietta, GA


RR Rex“We give to a lot of charities but the American Cancer Society Victory is the one that receives the most time and money from us. Each year, this group hosts the Cattle Baron’s Ball & the Holiday Shopping Card which raises about $3 million for the American Cancer Society each year. Although there are similar such charity functions in the Houston area and Texas, this one in my opinion is the most successful because it’s completely operated by volunteers. The other events have paid staff, which takes away from the dollars ultimately contributed to the cause. The volunteer group is all women, supported by the Gentlemen’s Committee. Tickets for the event are $500 each, and each supporting member purchases a number of tickets that are sold. There’s also an auction for a quilt made by cancer survivors. The auction prices for these quilts ranges from $50,000 to $200,000 and more. Many times people buy the quilts and immediately turn around and donate them back to the Society to be auctioned again the same night! It’s an incredibly fun event for all. And, it raises a lot of money for cancer research and awareness as well as the construction and operation of the Richard M. Schulze Family Foundation American Cancer Society Hope Lodge©, Houston, TX.”

Rex Solomon, owner
Houston Jewelry
Houston, TX


RR Jim“I don’t have a single charity that I contribute to. I typically contribute to charities and non-profits my customers recommend. Like most jewelers, I get a number of donation requests literally every day. I have my own vetting process for each request, which determines if I do in fact donate or how much. As a business owner, if I have a relationship with the customer or person asking for a donation, we almost always give. One charity we’ve had a 20-year relationship with and counting is a family that are customers of ours. Years ago their son Justin used to do assembly projects at his home for a local factory to raise extra money. When he was a teenager, he liked nice watches. Citizen was a favorite brand. One day a friend of Justin’s offered to let him drive his new motorcycle. Justin crashed his friend’s motorcycle into a tree and died from the impact. His parents, great people and terrific customers, started a number of scholarships for high school students in need of college financial assistance. We’ve been giving generously to this family effort for 20 years and counting. I knew Justin. He was a great kid with a bright future. And, I know his family. No matter the event, we support it, to give young teens the opportunity to go college. Something Justin didn’t have the chance to do, sadly.”

Jim Langolf, owner
Alexander Fine Jewelers
Fort Gratiot, MI


RR Vic“Hardly a day goes by in a small community where someone doesn’t ask for a donation. It’s difficult to say no in a small town. We always try to give local, so we can see the evidence of how our donations are used. Personally, our family has been impacted by cancer, so we give to the cancer society. A good friend runs a Hollywood night sort of event where everyone gets dressed up in tuxedos and long dresses. We make donations to the live auction at this event. I’m a veteran, so we contribute to the American Legion every year to keep it strong to serve the community. Other favorite local charities are supporting police and fire fighters. With additional local support it allows them to purchase new updated equipment to improve and expand services in town.”

Vic Hellberg, owner
Hellberg’s Jewelers
Marshalltown, IA


RR Charlie“Interesting timing. This was a topic jewelers spoke about at the recent Centurion Show. Jewelers don’t like to constantly be asked to give donations. But we have to remember, without the community we’d have no jewelry business. So it’s important to give back to the community a jeweler serves. We’re fortunate enough to have a number of charities and non-profits to give to in our area. At Christmas we held a $1,000 drawing. The winner could donate the $1,000 to a favorite charity and they were given a $1,000 necklace from designer John Atencio. Many staffers chair boards or work with local charities. I’m the incoming president of the Johnson County Community Foundation, while Beth from our store volunteers at the local library and Marcia has been working with Big Brothers, Big Sisters for 18 years. My wife had an idea to create baskets full of auction-friendly items, chief among them high-end brands of alcohol and other desirable items. We make baskets with retail values of $250, $500 and $750. In some of these baskets we do include jewelry. But in the past we’ve found jewelry items don’t always bring in the desired amounts at charity auctions. These baskets have really worked well for us and the charities. The important thing is to sit down and learn about those asking for donations. It’s really an eye opener when looking for ways to give back to your community in ways you didn’t know.” 

Charlie Nusser, general manager
Hands Jewelers
Iowa City, IA