By  on July 29, 2013

The Women's Jewelry Association’s grant and scholarship program was born from humble beginnings.

“It started off very small in the late Eighties, early Nineties,” said Phyllis Bergman, the former president of WJA, now the vice president of the Scholarship Committee for the International Board of Directors and president of the Scholarship Fund Board of Trustees.

“We gave out prizes for design competitions,” she continued. “And then we decided that our role was to help women grow in this industry. So we thought, well, why don’t we start at the school level? We started to get a lot of applications and we realized that there are a lot of people out there that really wanted to participate. We knew that we had to raise more money.”

Fast forward to 2013 and the organization is about to honor its 30th anniversary with $30,000 in scholarships and an additional $16,000 in grants, totaling $46,000 — the highest amount awarded in the program’s history. “It started as this baby program and really became more formalized,” Bergman said. The award ceremony will take place at the organization’s annual Awards for Excellence Gala tonight at Pier 60.


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