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Diabetes Reasearch Institute Foundation Takes Lead Role in University of Miami Momentum2 Campaign

$100 Million Gift Kicks Off $1.6 Billion Drive

Robert A. Pearlman, President Donna Shalala, Dr. Camillo Ricordi, Steven Sonberg, and Philip Frost at the campaign launch event.  Mr. Sonberg, a DRIF National Board member and former chairman, enthusiastically made the announcement about the Foundation's contribution. 

Miami, FL, February 17, 2012 - Accelerating its longstanding commitment to cure diabetes, the Diabetes Research Institute Foundation is making the lead gift of $100 million to Momentum2: The Breakthrough Campaign for the University of Miami. The goal of the University’s Momentum2 Campaign, announced February 16, is to raise $1.6 billion by 2016. The campaign will build on the resounding success of Momentum: The Campaign for the University of Miami, which raised a historic $1.4 billion by the time it concluded in 2007.

“As one of the University’s longest supporters, the Foundation has had a unique partnership with the UM Miller School of Medicine,” says Robert A. Pearlman, president and chief executive officer of the Diabetes Research Institute Foundation. “We see Momentum2 as an opportunity to significantly increase our funding for the cure-focused research going on at the Diabetes Research Institute and put an end to this devastating disease that affects millions of children and adults across the globe.”

UM President Donna E. Shalala says, “The DRIF’s lead gift is momentous. The University demonstrated in our first campaign that we are committed to establishing a world-class institution. The Miller School of Medicine and the Diabetes Research Institute are key to that goal.”

The Diabetes Research Institute has become a world leader in cure-focused research, achieving groundbreaking strides that have been made possible in great part by the DRIF’s leadership and countless contributors. Supported by private philanthropy, the Foundation is the single largest donor in the University’s history, having provided more than $225 million to date for translational research at the DRI.

“It is impossible to overstate just how critical the DRIF’s support has been to us,” says Pascal J. Goldschmidt, M.D., senior vice president for Medical Affairs and dean of the Miller School. “Because of their consistent funding, we have been able to make extraordinary discoveries toward a cure for type 1 diabetes and translate our findings in the lab to patients in the safest and most efficient way possible.”

The Miller School of Medicine’s focus on research has been dramatic, helping it climb 12 spots in the past five years to No. 39 in National Institutes of Health funding. 

UM Trustee Stuart Miller, chairman of the Miller School’s Momentum2 campaign, says he’s proud that the lead gift for the University is coming from the DRIF. “This speaks to the impact the Diabetes Research Institute Foundation and the Miller School of Medicine have when it comes to improving and saving human lives. Momentum2 will enable us to make that difference.” 

The Momentum2 campaign seeks to advance learning and enhance the lives of UM students who come from all corners of the world to study, conduct research and improve their community. Funding is especially critical and life-changing at the University’s Miller School of Medicine. That’s where the campaign will work toward recruiting top-notch faculty, driving collaborative research and then propelling those discoveries to patients in South Florida and beyond.

The vision to create a multidisciplinary center focused on curing diabetes was conceived by Daniel H. Mintz, M.D., DRI’s founding scientific director, who bridged the unique partnership between the University and the Foundation. Building upon this early vision, the DRI’s extraordinary discoveries over the past two decades have come under the leadership of Camillo Ricordi, M.D., scientific director of the Diabetes Research Institute and a pioneer in islet cell transplantation, a cell-replacement therapy which has restored natural insulin production in study patients, some of whom have been living insulin-free for more than a decade.

“The steadfast and dedicated support of the DRIF has allowed our researchers to pursue innovative cell-based therapies aimed at curing this disease,” Ricordi says. “This latest gift is nothing short of extraordinary and inspires all of us to work harder to reach our common goal in the shortest time and most efficient way possible.”

The Diabetes Research Institute Foundation is one of the world’s most respected diabetes organizations and attracts the support of those who are serious, passionate and committed to curing this disease. The DRIF was founded in 1971 by a small group of parents who shared a dedication to finding a cure for their children with diabetes.  That one goal – a cure – has been and will continue to be its singular focus until that goal is reached.

Pearlman says the lead gift will ensure that Momentum2 is a success and serves as a challenge to other donors to join them in saving lives through the medical research going on at the Miller School of Medicine.

About the Diabetes Research Institute Foundation

The Diabetes Research Institute Foundation (DRIF) is the organization of choice for those who are serious, passionate and committed to curing diabetes. Its mission – to provide the Diabetes Research Institute with the funding necessary to cure diabetes now – is a testament to the belief that tomorrow is not soon enough to cure those living with diabetes. 

A 501(c)(3) not-for-profit corporation, the Diabetes Research Institute Foundation was created for one reason – to cure diabetes – which is and will continue to be its singular focus until that goal is reached. For the millions of individuals and families affected by diabetes, the Diabetes Research Institute Foundation is the best hope for a cure.   

For more information, call the Diabetes Research Institute Foundation at 1-800-321-3437 or visit DiabetesResearch.org. 

About Momentum2: The Breakthrough Campaign for the University of Miami

Momentum2: The Breakthrough Campaign for the University of Miami seeks to advance learning, elevate scholarship, and make bold strides in healthcare in the community, across the country, and around the world. Momentum2 comes on the heels of the institution’s record-breaking Momentum campaign, which concluded at the end of 2007 and raised more than $1.4 billion for endowed chairs and professorships, scholarships, facilities, academic and medical programs, and other initiatives. www.miami.edu/momentum2

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Media Contacts:
Lauren Schreier
Diabetes Research Institute Foundation

Lisa Worley
University of Miami Miller School of Medicine
305-243-5184 / 305-458-9654

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