Russell Simmons’ Diamond Empowerment Fund Announces Two New Board Co-Presidents

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New York, N.Y. – March 24, 2009 – The Diamond Empowerment Fund(TM) (D.E.F.), an independent organization founded in 2007 by Russell Simmons and members of the jewelry industry, is pleased to announce the election of two new board co-presidents in Zale Corp. CEO Neal Goldberg and Dr. Benjamin Chavis, President/CEO of the Hip-Hop Summit Action Network. The Diamond Empowerment Fund’s mission is to help Africans help Africa through funding educational programs in African nations where diamonds are a natural resource. The outgoing president of the Board is Sally Morrison, Director of the Diamond Information Center, New York.

Headed by Russell Simmons, Chairman of the Advisory Board, Chairman and CEO of Rush Communications and Co-Chairman of Simmons Jewelry Co., The Diamond Empowerment Fund Board currently consists of co-Presidents Neal Goldberg and Dr. Benjamin Chavis; Ellen Haddigan, Executive Director, D.E.F.; Edward Hrabak, Senior Vice President and general Merchandise Manager of Sterling Jewelers Inc.; Phyllis Bergman, President of Mercury Ring Corporation, New York/New Jersey; Linah Mohoholo, Governor, Bank of Botswana, Gaborone, Botswana; Scott H. Rauch, President of the Simmons Jewelry Co.; Jaci Wilson Reid, Managing Director of Westin Rinehart, Washington, D.C./New York and Varda Shine, Managing Director of the Diamond Trading Company, London and former Botswana President Festus Mogae. Hedda T. Schupak, Editor-in-Chief of JCK Magazine, is a member of the Advisory Board.

“I am excited about taking on this new role as the Diamond Empowerment Fund co-President of the Board and working with Dr. Ben Chavis,” declared Neal Goldberg. “These are challenging and exciting times and I look forward to helping to create innovative ways for D.E.F. to partner with others in the jewelry industry and to further D.E.F.’s fundraising capabilities so it can continue to do the good work it’s doing to help Africans help Africa.”

Emphasized Board President, Dr. Benjamin Chavis, “I’m pleased to be co-President of the Diamond Empowerment Fund serving with an industry leader, Neal Goldberg, CEO of Zale Corp. Together, Neal and I will help lead the Diamond Empowerment Fund forward to raise funding to help Africans empower themselves, in particular, in those nations on the African continent where diamonds are a natural resource. While we live in a global economy, it is important to contribute to the empowerment of Africa.”

The Diamond Empowerment Fund’s first beneficiary is the Community and Individual Development Association (CIDA City Campus) in Johannesburg, the only free college in South Africa. A substantial portion of the monies donated to CIDA came from an initial grant from DeBeers. CIDA is further supported from the sale of the Green Bracelet, the signature D.E.F. piece created by Simmons Jewelry Co. and worn by such celebrities as President Clinton, Jennifer Lopez, T.I., Snoop, Usher, Mary J. Blige, Forest Whittaker, Penelope Cruz, Tyra Banks, Mischa Barton, Nicky Hilton and LL Cool J, among others. .

About the Diamond Empowerment Fund:
Founded in 2007, The Diamond Empowerment Fund® (D.E.F.) is a non-profit international organization established by the individuals and businesses in the diamond and jewelry industry committed to the empowerment of communities and countries where diamonds are a natural resource. For more information about D.E.F., go to www.diamondempowerment.org.
(TM) (D.E.F.), an independent organization founded in 2007 by Russell Simmons and members of the jewelry industry, is pleased to announce the election of two new board co-presidents in Zale Corp. CEO Neal Goldberg and Dr. Benjamin Chavis, President/CEO of the Hip-Hop Summit Action Network. The Diamond Empowerment Fund’s mission is to help Africans help Africa through funding educational programs in African nations where diamonds are a natural resource. The outgoing president of the Board is Sally Morrison, Director of the Diamond Information Center, New York.

Headed by Russell Simmons, Chairman of the Advisory Board, Chairman and CEO of Rush Communications and Co-Chairman of Simmons Jewelry Co., The Diamond Empowerment Fund Board currently consists of co-Presidents Neal Goldberg and Dr. Benjamin Chavis; Ellen Haddigan, Executive Director, D.E.F.; Edward Hrabak, Senior Vice President and general Merchandise Manager of Sterling Jewelers Inc.; Phyllis Bergman, President of Mercury Ring Corporation, New York/New Jersey; Linah Mohoholo, Governor, Bank of Botswana, Gaborone, Botswana; Scott H. Rauch, President of the Simmons Jewelry Co.; Jaci Wilson Reid, Managing Director of Westin Rinehart, Washington, D.C./New York and Varda Shine, Managing Director of the Diamond Trading Company, London and former Botswana President Festus Mogae. Hedda T. Schupak, Editor-in-Chief of JCK Magazine, is a member of the Advisory Board.

“I am excited about taking on this new role as the Diamond Empowerment Fund co-President of the Board and working with Dr. Ben Chavis,” declared Neal Goldberg. “These are challenging and exciting times and I look forward to helping to create innovative ways for D.E.F. to partner with others in the jewelry industry and to further D.E.F.’s fundraising capabilities so it can continue to do the good work it’s doing to help Africans help Africa.”

Emphasized Board President, Dr. Benjamin Chavis, “I’m pleased to be co-President of the Diamond Empowerment Fund serving with an industry leader, Neal Goldberg, CEO of Zale Corp. Together, Neal and I will help lead the Diamond Empowerment Fund forward to raise funding to help Africans empower themselves, in particular, in those nations on the African continent where diamonds are a natural resource. While we live in a global economy, it is important to contribute to the empowerment of Africa.”

The Diamond Empowerment Fund’s first beneficiary is the Community and Individual Development Association (CIDA City Campus) in Johannesburg, the only free college in South Africa. A substantial portion of the monies donated to CIDA came from an initial grant from DeBeers. CIDA is further supported from the sale of the Green Bracelet, the signature D.E.F. piece created by Simmons Jewelry Co. and worn by such celebrities as President Clinton, Jennifer Lopez, T.I., Snoop, Usher, Mary J. Blige, Forest Whittaker, Penelope Cruz, Tyra Banks, Mischa Barton, Nicky Hilton and LL Cool J, among others. .

About the Diamond Empowerment Fund:
Founded in 2007, The Diamond Empowerment Fund® (D.E.F.) is a non-profit international organization established by the individuals and businesses in the diamond and jewelry industry committed to the empowerment of communities and countries where diamonds are a natural resource. For more information about D.E.F., go to www.diamondempowerment.org.