Juan Elias Calles Secures Million Dollar Round Table Grant for DRI

Juan Elias Calles presents the Million Dollar Round Table Foundation grant to Dr. Camillo Ricordi, DRI scientific director.

(May 2011) Coral Gables resident Juan Elias Calles, CLU, ChFC, of Union Central Life Insurance Company secured a $10,000 grant recently from the Million Dollar Round Table (MDRT) Foundation on behalf of the Diabetes Research Institute (DRI), a center of excellence at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine.

A member of the MDRT for more than 30 years and an active supporter of the DRI for a quarter of a century, Calles nominated and endorsed the application for the grant, which will support a research program at the DRI, the best hope for a cure for Calles’ daughter, Ivette Marie Calles, and for millions of others living with diabetes.  Representing the MDRT Foundation, Calles presented the grant to DRI Scientific Director Camillo Ricordi, M.D.  It will be used to fund a research project entitled “Adult Stem Cells for Regeneration of Insulin Producing Cells” and spearheaded by DRI Director of Immunobiology of Islet Transplantation and Area Leader of Cell Products and Stem Cell Research Luca Inverardi, M.D.

Ever since his daughter was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in 1985 at age 9, Calles has been a dedicated activist in raising money and awareness for the DRI.  He was instrumental in initializing the Foundation’s planned giving program and has participated in grassroots street corner collections, known as the Hi-Way Holdup.  For the past two decades, he has been a member of the DRI Foundation’s National board of directors, serving as secretary and as vice president for multiple terms.  He has also served on the Foundation’s Florida board of directors and is currently a member of its Honorary board.

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, a center of excellence at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, is a recognized world leader in cure-focused research. Since its inception in the early 1970s, the DRI has made significant contributions to the field of diabetes research, pioneering many of the techniques used in islet transplantation. The DRI is now building upon these achievements by bridging cell-based therapies with emerging technologies to restore insulin production. For the millions of families already affected by diabetes, the Diabetes Research Institute is the best hope for a cure.  Visit or call 800-321-3437 for more information.

This year the MDRT Foundation will award more than $850,000 in grants to more than 100 charities.  The MDRT Foundation was created in 1959 to provide MDRT members with a means to give back to their communities.  Since its inception, the Foundation has donated more than $26 million in 80 countries around the world from all 50 U.S. states.  The majority of these funds were raised by MDRT members from MDRT members.

The MDRT Foundation is the philanthropic arm of the Million Dollar Round Table, The Premier Association of Financial Professionals®.  MDRT is an international, independent association of more than 30,000, or less than 1 percent, of the world’s best life insurance and financial services professionals from 465 companies and 78 nations and territories.  MDRT members demonstrate exceptional product knowledge, strict ethical conduct and outstanding client service.  MDRT membership is recognized internationally as the standard of sales excellence in the life insurance and financial services business.


Media Contact:
Natasha Norris

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