The Real Estate Division of the Diabetes Research Institute Foundation hosted the 31st annual Empire Ball at the Grand Hyatt in New York City.
The fundraiser, supported by the New York real estate community and its affiliates, drew nearly 1,000 guests and raised more than $1.2 million in support of the Diabetes Research Institute (DRI).
A cocktail reception that filled the hotel’s ground floor was followed by dinner in the Empire State ballroom.
Empire Ball chairman Peter L. DiCapua, Chairman of CodeGreen Solutions, kicked off the program by thanking those in attendance for their support.
DiCapua announced that close to $34 million has been raised for diabetes research over the event’s 31-year history. He singled out for acclaim Charlie Rizzo, Principal of The Rizzo Group, a longtime friend and the man who brought the Empire Ball to fruition in 1983, when his own daughter was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes.
DiCapua then introduced the evening’s master of ceremonies, CBS2News Chief Weathercaster Lonnie Quinn.
Quinn discussed the groundbreaking work at the DRI and thanked the evening’s Grand Patron sponsor, Hudson Yards, a Related Oxford venture.
Quinn introduced DRI Foundation President and Chief Executive Officer Joshua Rednik. Rednik then introduced the DRI’s Director, Dr. Camillo Ricordi, who cited soaring statistics associated with diabetes.
There are more than 382 million people worldwide with diabetes and hundreds of millions more projected to contract the disease. Every seven seconds, one person dies from complications of diabetes. A biological cure is needed and the DRI could be the best hope for one.
Following longstanding tradition, last year’s honorees presented awards to their counterparts.
Frederick C. Horwood, Assistant General Counsel of Time Warner, Inc., was presented the Distinguished Service award by Joe “Dee” Dussich, CEO and President of JAD Corporation of America.
Stephen M. Soviero, Senior Managing Director of Cushman & Wakefield, Inc., received the Camillo Ricordi
Humanitarian award from Jay Badame, President and COO of NY/NJ/PA Tishman Construction, an AECOM Company.
Finally, the 2014 Leadership award was presented to L. Jay Cross, President, Hudson Yards, a Related Oxford venture by Andrew Cooke, Vice President Property Management with Hines aaf Morgan Stanley.
Each of the honorees lauded the work of the DRI. Of note, Soviero brought a hush to the room by expressing with heartfelt emotion the toll that diabetes has taken on his own family.