From One Generation To The Next, The Crystal Ball Shines With The Support Of Several Local Individuals And Families

Annual black-tie benefit raises funds for the cure-focused Diabetes Research Institute

Jericho, NY (April 21, 2014)- The Crystal Ball, which attracts Long Island’s most generous business and philanthropic leaders, is shining a spotlight this year on two prominent businessmen and a local family whose legacy has helped propel the organization it supports to the forefront of its field – the Diabetes Research Institute.  The black-tie affair, featuring dinner, dancing and live and silent auctions, will be held on Saturday, May 3 at the Garden City Hotel, beginning at 7:00 p.m.

Formerly referred to as the Crystal Ball Honoree, this year the coveted award has been renamed the Rowland and Sylvia Schaefer Award, in honor and memory of a couple who made several million-dollar gifts to the DRI in an effort to find a cure for their granddaughter, Dara Kriss-Melnick.  Dara’s parents, Roberta and Bruce Waller of Upper Brookville have held fast to the Schaefers’ vision and continue to support the organization they believe will end type 1 diabetes for the millions living with it.  The inaugural recipient of the award is the scientist leading the charge, Dr. Camillo Ricordi, director of the Diabetes Research Institute.

“I am honored to serve as the Rowland and Sylvia Schaefer Honoree, especially since it pays tribute to Roberta’s parents, two of our most generous donors who had a profound impact on our ability to advance research,” stated Dr. Ricordi.  “Their support played a pivotal role in advancing our work in islet cell transplantation to clinical trials.”

Mr. Schaefer will long be remembered as an innovative entrepreneur who developed many businesses, most notably Claire’s Stores, Inc., a worldwide fashion accessory powerhouse.  He served on the National Board of the Diabetes Research Institute Foundation for several years.  In recognition of the couple’s generosity and leadership, the building that houses the Institute’s laboratories bears their name.
 “Dr. Ricordi’s achievements are far too many to mention.  Perhaps what matters most is that he has applied his brilliance and passion to curing this disease for our daughter and everyone living with diabetes,” said Mr. Waller, who serves as co-chair of the event, along with his sister, Wendy Waller, who is also a member of the DRIF Northeast Board of Directors.

Also being recognized that evening are Allan L. Pashcow (of Upper Brookville), the 2014 Gillen Family Humanitarian Award recipient, and Frank Pusinelli (of Nassau County), who will receive the Distinguished Service Award. 

Mr. Pashcow is managing partner of Town Realty Co., LLC, a Long Island-based property management firm that develops and manages apartment complexes.  He is also managing partner of Town Equities LLC, a real estate and equities investment company.  He was instrumental in the growth of the DRI Foundation’s Northeast Region in the Long Island area and has been involved with the organization since 1995.  He serves on the National Board of Directors and was chairman of the regional board for five years. He is committed to finding a cure for his wife, Louise Pashcow. 

Mr. Pusinelli is executive vice president of operations, property management and construction for RXR Realty.  He joined the company in 1999 and, during his tenure, has overseen the execution of $600 million in construction projects, ranging from ground-up development and value creation to customized tenant interiors.  He is dedicated to supporting the DRI’s research for a cure and has been a tremendous support to the success of this year’s Crystal Ball.
Top sponsors include: Presenting Sponsors Roberta and Bruce Waller & Family; Platinum Sponsors DiFazio, Power & Electric, LLC, Mr. & Mrs. Alan L. Pashcow, and Mr. & Mrs. Bruce A. Siegel. Additional sponsorship opportunities are still available. 

To view sponsor packages or register for the event online, visit  Tickets are $375 per person.  For more information, call the Diabetes Research Institute Foundation at 516.822.1700.

The mission of the Diabetes Research Institute Foundation is to provide the Diabetes Research Institute with the funding necessary to cure diabetes now.  The Diabetes Research Institute at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine leads the world in cure-focused research. As the largest and most comprehensive research center dedicated to curing diabetes, the DRI is aggressively working to develop a biological cure by restoring natural insulin production and normalizing blood sugar levels without imposing other risks. The Institute is now developing the DRI BioHub, an integrated “mini organ” that mimics the native pancreas and restores natural insulin production. Created for one reason – to cure diabetes, the Diabetes Research Institute is the best hope for a cure.  For more information, please visit or call 800-321-3437. 

Media Contact:
Lauren Schreier

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