NYC’s Real Estate Industry Aims to Raise $1.4M at the Empire Ball on for DRI

14thAnnual Event Held on Memorable 12-12-12 Date Slated to Draw the Industry’s Most Influential Members

Event Will Honor: Jason D. Pizer of Trinity Real Estate, Richard Wood of Plaza Construction, and Frank A. Freda of Cushman & Wakefield

New York, NY (October 16, 2012) — The Real Estate Division of the Diabetes Research Institute (DRI) will host its 14th annual Empire Ball at the Grand Hyatt in New York City on Wednesday, December 12, 2012. The fundraiser, supported by the New York real estate community and its affiliates, aims to raise $1.4 million in support of the DRI’s cure-focused research. Located at the University of Miami’s Miller School of Medicine, the DRI is aggressively working to shrink the timeline toward the discovery of a biological cure for the disease. 

This year’s event will honor Jason D. Pizer, President and CEO of Trinity Real Estate, a division of the landmark Trinity Church of New York City, who will be presented with the Leadership Award. It is under Mr. Pizer’s direction that Trinity Real Estate has continued to bring innovation to the Hudson Square district. He is being honored for his commitment to philanthropic efforts as well as his leadership within the New York City community and commercial real estate industry. 

“It is a privilege to be recognized by so distinguished a group engaged in so important a mission,” said Mr. Pizer. “I had the opportunity to visit the impressive DRI campus in Miami and learn firsthand about the pathways for cross-border research being pursued, as well as the outstanding care being provided.  The pioneering sharing of knowledge can only benefit all and accelerate the discovery of a cure.”  

Additionally, Richard Wood, President of Plaza Construction, will receive the Camillo Ricordi Humanitarian Award for his dedication to the betterment of New York City. He’s played a key role in shaping and developing the city’s skyline over the past 30 years and led the company to take an active role in the clean-up effort of Ground Zero post-9/11. 

Finally, Frank A. Freda, Executive Managing Director of Cushman & Wakefield, will accept the Distinguished Service Award for his accomplishments in New York City’s commercial management industry, his contributions to the real estate industry, and his support of local charities and initiatives. 

“I am so proud and honored to see the continuous outpour of support by New York City’s real estate community in helping to find a cure for diabetes,” said Peter L. DiCapua, Chief Operating Officer for Atco Properties & Management, Inc. and Chairman of the DRI Real Estate Division. “Whether it is a child, a friend, a sibling, a parent, or even a coworker, every one of us in one way or another has been touched by diabetes, a disease that affects millions of people around the globe. Our goal this year, as it is every year, is to make the Empire Ball the most successful fundraising event to date, which will hopefully bring us that much closer to a cure.”

There are nearly 26 million Americans living with diabetes, including as many as seven million who do not even know they have it – making the disease one of the biggest health concerns in the U.S. today. The World Health Organization estimates that there are more than 346 million people worldwide who have diabetes, a number that is likely to more than double by 2030. The disease kills more people than AIDS and breast cancer combined, which is why the DRI is so focused on finding a cure now.  

Since 1983, the New York real estate community and its affiliates have raised more than $30 million for diabetes research. The idea for the annual fundraiser was initiated by Charles Rizzo, Principal of The Rizzo Group, after learning of his daughter’s diagnosis with type 1 diabetes. Mr. Rizzo and Mr. DiCapua along with 10 other members founded the event. For 15 years, the annual fundraiser was called the Pyramid Ball. In 1998, the event was renamed the Empire Ball and began supporting the DRI. Each year, the event is attended by more than 1,000 people affiliated with New York’s real estate industry. 

Over the past 29 years, the event has become the New York City real estate industry’s social and fundraising event of the season. Past honorees include: Alton Marshall, Former Secretary of State under Governor Rockefeller; Businessman William “Bill” Shea, for which Shea Stadium is named; Charles Urstadt; David Baldwin; Jody Durst; William S. Macklowe; Gerald D. Schein; Lizanne Gaibreath; Edward S. Gordon; John Catsimatidis; Joseph “Dee” Dussich; Ted Moudis; Frank Sciame; and Michele Medaglia – all heads of corporations and leaders in their respective industries.

Tickets to the event are now available for purchase. The black-tie affair will begin at 6:30 p.m. at the Grand Hyatt (109 East 42nd Street) in New York City with a cocktail reception, followed by dinner and dancing. For more information on tickets, advertising opportunities and other ways to support DRI, please visit:  

To follow the NY Real Estate Division of the Diabetes Research Institute on social media, visit:

For more information on the Empire Ball, please contact:

Consumer Press:
Agnes Hansdorfer, DRI PR/Advertising Committee Co-Chair 

Real Estate Trade Press:
Michele Medaglia, ACC Construction Corporation 
DRI PR/Advertising Committee Co-Chair 
Lucy Carter, Ted Moudis Associates
DRI PR/Advertising Committee Co-Chair 

For more information on the DRI, please contact:
Lauren Schreier, Director of Marketing and Communications
Diabetes Research Institute Foundation
(954) 964-4040,

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