The Empire Ball, NYC’s Premier Real Estate Event, Builds up Support for Diabetes Cure

Oct. 26, 2016 – New York, NY –The Real Estate Division of the Diabetes Research Institute Foundation (DRIF) will honor three outstanding individuals for their professional and philanthropic efforts on Dec. 14 at the Grand Hyatt Hotel in New York City during the 33rd Annual Empire Ball, which raises needed funds for the Diabetes Research Institute (DRI) and its mission to find a biological cure for diabetes.

The real estate and construction industries join together for this annual fundraiser, which looks to raise more than $1.4 million to support the DRI, located at the University of Miami’s Miller School of Medicine. Now going into its 33rd year, this event draws more than 1,000 attendees and has become NYC real estate industry’s social and fundraising event of the season, where you can rub elbows with influential leaders. 

This year’s Empire Ball, hosted by Co-Chairs Stephen Rizzo of The Rizzo Group and James Halpin of Platinum Maintenance Services, will honor CBRE, Inc.’s Paul J. Amrich, Vice Chairman, with the Leadership Award; Turner Construction Company’s Bert Rahm, Vice President and General Manager, with the Camillo Ricordi Humanitarian Award; and JLL’s Lucy G. Carter, Senior Vice President of Project & Development Services group in NY, with the Peter L. DiCapua Distinguished Service Award. 

With more than 20 years of experience, Amrich combines both marketing intelligence and an incisive understanding of his clients’ goals to consistently achieve outstanding success in leasing and repositioning properties. He has completed more than 15 million square feet of leasing transactions, and currently represents more than 13 million square feet of Class A office space on behalf of New York’s premier landlords.  “I stand in admiration for the Diabetes Research Institute’s singleness of purpose in its work toward a cure—and, as a broker, I can say I understand tenacity,” said Amrich, who is the youngest Vice Chairman in CBRE Inc.’s history. “I look forward to the day when diabetes has become a thing of the past, thanks to the inspiring work of the DRI.”

Since its inception, the annual Empire Ball has raised more than $36 million for diabetes research.  More than 29 million Americans live with diabetes, including as many as 8 million who do not they have it, making this disease one of the biggest health concerns in the U.S. today. 

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. 

Like Amrich, Rahm and Carter are committed to supporting the DRI’s work toward a cure.  

“I am honored and privileged to be the recipient of the Camillo Ricordi Humanitarian Award and I look forward to meeting and understanding the great work Dr. Ricordi has achieved with diabetes research,” said Rahm, who prides himself on training the younger staff and developing their talents to meet the needs of today’s sophisticated clients. “Additionally, I am committed to working with friends, colleagues and co-chairs in making this year’s event a success, as well as working with the DRI Foundation to help raise awareness for the ultimate goal of a cure for diabetes.”

Rahm’s primary responsibilities include general management, field operations and business development for the company’s New York Interiors Division.  During his tenure, revenues for this division have increased by 18 percent and profitability has improved by 12 percent.

Carter will receive the newly named Peter L. DiCapua Distinguished Service Award, in honor of the Empire Ball’s Chairman Emeritus who led the event since inception and was presented with the Lifetime Achievement Award last year. 
As the Senior Vice President with JLL’s Project and Development Services (PDS), Carter oversees business development throughout the New York region and is responsible for identifying new partnership opportunities for PDS, promoting the firm’s competitive advantages, and positioning JLL as a premier provider of integrated real estate services. Carter has more than 20 years of new business consulting experience in architectural design, commercial real estate and professional services industries. 

“The Diabetes Research Institute is the driving force that allows scientists to advance a cure for diabetes through innovative discoveries,” said Carter, who serves on the board of governors for the DRIF’s Real Estate Division. “The dedication and commitment of the real estate community to boost awareness about the disease and to raise millions of dollars at the annual Empire Ball to support the DRIF over the years is truly remarkable. I am proud to be a part of that effort and honored to receive the Peter L. DiCapua Distinguished Service Award.”

To purchase tickets for the Empire Ball, which begins at 6 pm with a cocktail reception and networking followed by dinner and a night of dancing, please visit or call 212-888-2217. Sponsorship opportunities are still available. Follow us on social media using #EmpireBall on Facebook Tweet @Diabetes_DRI.

About the Diabetes Research Institute and Foundation

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. Researchers have already shown that transplanted islet cells allow patients to live without the need for insulin therapy. Some study participants have maintained insulin independence for more than 10 years. The DRI is now building upon these promising outcomes by developing a DRI BioHub, a bioengineered “mini organ” that mimics the native pancreas. While various BioHub platforms are being tested in preclinical and clinical studies, the DRI is also developing strategies to eliminate the need for anti-rejection drugs and reset the immune system to block autoimmunity. For more information, please visit, tweet @Diabetes_DRI or call 212-888-2217.

Media Contact:
Nicole Lesson

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