Russell Simmons: Diamond Empowerment Fund Beginnings: 

In 2006, Russell Simmons, mentor and colleague Dr. Benjamin Chavis and other leaders in the diamond and jewelry industry visited diamond producing nations in Africa on a fact finding mission.  The delegation witnessed concrete examples of how the diamond industry directly enhances sustainable economic development and contributes to the overall self-empowerment of people and communities. They first chose those places in Africa where there are stable democratic governments and the kind of government-private sector joint ventures that have a factual and transparent track record of improving the quality of life. While on the mission both Russell and Dr. Ben  met with Nelson Mandela. Mr. Mandela urged them to ‘tell the story of the positive impact diamonds are having on the socio-economic development of Africa’. When they returned to New York, the Diamond Empowerment Fund (D.E.F) was formed.

D.E.F recently expanded its mission to include all areas of the world where diamonds are a natural resource and where the diamond industry does business with the belief that sustainable development and access to higher education is essential to empower both individuals and society to reach their fullest potential.  D.E.F envisions a future for these countries to be strong, stable, economically prosperous and socially empowered.

Today, over two thousand college age students in diamond communities have received financial assistance or have been awarded scholarships as a result of the generous support D.E.F. has received. Those students who have since graduated have returned home to support their families and create opportunity in their communities.

This is what is referred to as a ‘Diamonds Do Good’ impact.

 

RussellwithCIDA.ALAStudents

Russell Simmons with Students from the African Leadership Academy and CIDA City Campus, Two of D.E.F’s Beneficiaries

Russell Simmons: Author

In 2007, Simmons released the wildly successful book entitled “Do You! 12 Laws to Access the Power in You to Achieve Happiness and Success,” which combined effective business practices with a spiritual foundation to be the best you can be. The book was a New York Times Best Seller, and was featured on The Oprah Winfrey Show.  This was followed up in 2011 with a second New York Times best seller, “Super Rich: Inside and Out” about the power of inward strength and reflection as a means of achieving human aspiration.

Russell Simmons: Business Entrepreneur

Russell Simmons has been the leader in bringing the powerful influence of hip-hop culture to every facet of business, media and fashion since its inception in the late 1970s through current day in which its integration into mainstream American Culture has created an entirely new, post-racial, progressive new America.

Simmons’ businesses have always been rooted in giving a powerful voice to emergent new creative and social movements, and integrating them into the American psyche.    His business successes have spanned music, film, television, fashion, video games, online and financial services; his activism has encompassed all of the areas touched by his businesses, including poverty, education, social justice and inclusion.