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Best of the Best: Find a Passionate Cause

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[h3]Trapper’s Diamonds[/h3]

[dropcap cap=A]s Tapper’s Diamonds and Fine Jewelry prepared for its 30th anniversary last year, the Tappers wanted to balance celebration with philanthropy. Upon finding out that 12 percent of platinum-mine workers in South Africa die of AIDS each year, they decided to take on AIDS awareness and prevention. “How can we not feel a responsibility to the community that works to provide the raw materials used in the jewelry we sell to our customers?” Steven Tapper asks. — EILEEN MCCLELLAND[/dropcap]

[componentheading]THE IDEA[/componentheading]

[contentheading]Localizing a Global Issue[/contentheading]

Best of the Best: Find a Passionate Cause

Tapper’s launched Precious Lives, Precious Metals, a charitable campaign based on a global issue that also addresses local concerns. Owners Steven and Howard Tapper tied the fund-raising campaign to the business’s 30th anniversary and the opening of their second retail location in the Detroit metropolitan area.

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[componentheading]THE EXECUTION[/componentheading]

[contentheading]Match Donations with Gift Certificates[/contentheading]

The Tappers chose two nonprofit organizations as the beneficiaries of their fund-raising efforts, the Midwest AIDS Prevention Project, which provides HIV/AIDS education programs in Michigan; and YouthAIDS, an education and prevention initiative operating under the umbrella of Population Services International. Patrons spent between $130 and $2,000 for tax-deductible tickets to the Precious Lives, Precious Metals Gala on World AIDS Day (Dec. 1, 2007) at Tapper’s West Bloomfield mall location. Highlights included entertainment, food booths and an auction, for which Roberto Coin donated a trip to Italy. After the gala, the effort continued with the company’s “Give $30, Get $30” program. Customers who donated at least $30 to the charity received a $30 gift certificate in return. The Tappers received the support of jewelry designers, vendors, and local companies as sponsors. Some of the high-profile sponsors included David Yurman, DiModolo, EGT Group, Emerald City Designs, John Hardy, Hearts on Fire, Judith Ripka, Kwiat, Mikimoto, Penny Preville, Raymond Weil, Roberto Coin, Scott Kay and Tag Heuer.

[componentheading]THE REWARD[/componentheading]

[contentheading]$175,000 in donations[/contentheading]

Tapper’s raised more than $175,000, which was disbursed in June 2008. “I’m really proud to work for a company where one of our core values is community involvement,” communications manager Karynne Naftolin says. Tapper’s gala received follow-up coverage in newspapers, online, on local radio and TV stations and in Crain’s Detroit Business. “We have received some very kind media attention from this,” Naftolin says, “but the greatest benefit is we raised money that is going to go directly to save people’s lives.” Howard Tapper says his reward has been the opportunity to draw attention to AIDS prevention locally and in South Africa. “As for our own business,” Tapper says, “our major core value is giving back to society. That definitely has its financial rewards, but to be honest I try not to use that as a focus.”

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[componentheading]TRY IT YOURSELF[/componentheading]

Start with a great idea: Make sure the charitable organization you choose to work with is legitimate and that a high percentage of the money it receives goes directly to the cause.  

Think locally: Don’t attempt to raise money for an international cause if you haven’t yet raised money for a local one. “I think you should start locally and go one step at a time,” Howard Tapper says.  

Choose a worthy prize: Launch the effort with a party. Ask neighboring businesses and vendors for donations to an auction.  

Alert the media.

[span class=note]This story is from the October 2008 edition of INSTORE[/span]

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