Article & photos by Jon Banister
When the organizers of the JDRF Real Estate Games kicked off fundraising for this year’s event in September, they saw the 30th anniversary as an opportunity to make the event bigger than ever. Thursday’s full day of games at American University proved they were right.
The 30th annual JDRF Real Estate Games in D.C. drew 3,000 people, 500 more than last year’s event. The event raised over $717K for Type 1 Diabetes, blowing away last year’s record of $528K. The organizers are continuing to accept donations through the end of the month.
With additional events in Chicago and New York, which will be held next week, the JDRF Real Estate Games have raised over $1.3M this year. Savills Executive Managing Director Adam Singer, the event’s founder, said it plans to launch the games in Nashville, Tampa, Indianapolis, Los Angeles, Toronto and London by 2021.
“Today, we celebrate community and commitment and hope,” Singer said. “Our D.C. commercial real estate group is a model of philanthropy to other industries in the region. Here we are, taking a day off to cure diabetes.”
In the 30 years since Singer founded the games, they have raised over $10M for Type 1 Diabetes research. Singer, who was diagnosed with diabetes in 1978, said advancements in research have added over 15 years to his life expectancy. He said he sees continued advancements taking place that could cure diabetes within the next decade.
“In seven, eight, nine years I want you [to] remember today when you see breaking news that a cure has been found for diabetes, remember that you were part of an industry that came together to do something great,” Singer said. “And know that you were part of that cure. That we all helped cure diabetes.”
The co-chairs of this year’s games were Grosvenor’s Zac Linsky, Cushman & Wakefield’s Kaleigh Jones and Stream Realty’s Charlie Smiroldo.
Clark Construction won first place at this years games, returning to the top after Turner Construction last year broke Clark’s streak of 10 consecutive victories. Turner came in second this year, and Donohoe finished third.
The first place fundraising award went to AREP, which raised $23K. Savills came in second with $12K, followed by Cushman & Wakefield with $6K. Four additional awards were given out to those who helped organize the games.
Singer and Cushman & Wakefield’s Sherry Cushman, who chaired the games for 20 years starting in 1994, received the legacy award.
The Sherry Cushman Award, honoring a committee member who displays passion, dedication and vision, was given to Jones. The Steve Lauble award, given for a committee member that displays dedication and hard work, was presented to DPR Construction’s Nicole Valentin and AREP’s Matthew Foust.
The Pete Wysocki Award, for a committee member with charm, sense of humor, care and generosity, was given to CBRE’s Ned Welbourn.
Kastle Systems defeated HITT in the final round of the tug of war tournament, the last event of the day that brings everyone together on the main gym floor to cheer on their teams.
Before dozens of real estate professionals used their last remaining strength tugging on the rope, participants competed in over 40 other sporting events.
The contests ranged from traditional sports like volleyball and basketball, to not-so-traditional contests like racing toy horses around a track and throwing a foam noodle like a javelin.
Inside, participants competed in volleyball, three-on-three basketball, weight lifting, wrestling, a spin competition on stationary bikes and a race to finish a puzzle.
The majority of the events took place outside, where attendees competed in running races, tennis, golf, cornhole, relay races with chairs and toy horses, a slapshot challenge, a football punt, a pass & kick contest, an obstacle course and a noodle javelin throwing contest.
The games also featured morning events in the pool, with swimmers competing in freestyle, backstroke and breaststroke races, plus a raft race and a noodle race. Below are more scenes from the 2019 JDRF Real Estate Games.