Brooke USA Foundation (Brooke USA) is proud to announce the honorees of the annual Crystal Awards, sponsored by South Florida PBS, which is bestowed upon outstanding champions of the organization who have gone above and beyond in support of its mission to significantly improve the welfare of working horses, donkeys, mules, and the people they serve in the developing world. Brooke USA confers the honor to Melissa and Gerrit Klaerner, Alexander “Alex” Hamer and Lugano Diamonds.
South Florida PBS (WPBT2 and WXEL) honors the recipients of the Brooke USA Crystal Awards in a 30-second public service announcement that will air on South Florida Public Television throughout the month of March. Jeneissy Azcuy, the Vice President of Marketing and Communications of South Florida PBS presented the awards on February 9 at a special gathering hosted by Lugano Diamonds at their Palm Beach Showroom.
Melissa and Gerrit Klaerner from Northern California’s San Francisco area are committed supporters of Brooke USA’s efforts. Melissa, an attorney, equestrian, and lifelong animal lover, was originally inspired by the work of Dorothy Brooke on behalf of the British warhorses left behind in Egypt after World War I. Gerrit, a Ph.D. chemist and founder of three successful biotechnology companies, was intrigued by the direct correlation between the health of working horses, donkeys, and mules and the wellbeing of humans in developing countries. For the past three years, Melissa has served as Chair of Brooke USA’s Northern California Regional Advisory Council, which has raised more than $30,000 at horse shows for the nonprofit. Melissa and Gerrit strive to support charitable work that catalyzes permanent change.
Commuting between Bedford, NY and Wellington, FL, Alex is a leading show jumper who runs and owns Buxton Farms Show Stables. His circle of friends includes a veritable who’s who of equestrian young riders. He has been a sponsor of Brooke USA’s signature event since it was founded in 2016. Alex serves on a multitude of boards and event committees both in Florida and New York. For Brooke USA, Alex is a founding member of the Young Leaders Initiative, a group of young riders who support the organization’s events and programs while serving as ambassadors and advocates for the mission. Alex certainly sets the example as a dedicated and committed spokesperson for Brooke USA.
Lugano Diamonds, headquartered in Newport Beach, CA, is a true corporate partner of Brooke USA, going above and beyond by serving as the naming sponsor of Brooke USA’s annual signature event in Wellington and hosting introductory receptions for Brooke USA all over the country. Known for the design of the most exquisite, one-of-a-kind jewelry; each piece is a true work of art made with the world’s rarest and most precious gems. The architect behind each piece is Moti Ferder who serves as the company’s CEO and Design Director. Under Moti’s leadership, Lugano Diamonds opened its Grand Salon in Newport Beach, California and salons in Aspen, Colorado, Palm Beach, Florida and the newest location in Ocala, Florida at the World Equestrian Center. Moti and Lugano Diamonds are deeply involved in the philanthropic community, supporting a myriad of causes and organizations.
“The Crystal Awards allow us to pay tribute to those individuals across the country who have made an enormous difference in advancing our mission. Our partnership with South Florida PBS grants us the opportunity to thank them publicly. Melissa and Gerrit, Alex, and Lugano Diamonds have been instrumental to our organizational growth,” said Brooke USA’s Board Chair Katherine Kaneb.
They join Margaret Hamilton Duprey, Katherine Kaneb, Claudine and Fritz Kundrun, Antonia Ax:son Johnson, Jennifer and Richard Schechter, Hazel and Michael Schultz and Talmadge and Ian Silversides who received the award in 2019, 2020 and 2021. The efforts of all these outstanding people help make a difference alleviating the suffering of some of the 100 million equines working in the developing world to support the livelihoods of 600 million people.
To support Brooke USA in its effort to fund projects around the world, go to www.BrookeUSA.org.
About Brooke USA Foundation (Brooke USA): The mission of Brooke USA is to significantly improve the health, welfare and productivity of working horses, donkeys and mules and the people who depend on them for survival worldwide. We are committed to sustainable economic development by reducing poverty, increasing food security, ensuring access to water, providing a means to education, and raising basic standards of living through improved equine health and welfare. We accomplish this by raising funds and responsibly directing them to the areas of greatest need.
Brooke USA strives to alleviate the suffering and vulnerability of developing communities by funding and implementing programs that improve the quality of life and health of working equines and thereby positively impacting their economic sustainability, protecting the planet, ensuring gender equality, and guaranteeing life on land resilience. We want to see healthy, happy people and equines that work in partnership to achieve sustainable local economies.
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