Science With Soul: Real Estate Developers Turn Out To Honor Equity Office's Eli Khouri With The Spirit of Life Award
Equity Office’s Eli Khouri (right with Jay Paul’s Matt Lituchy) was awarded the City of Hope Spirit of Life Award in recognition of his philanthropy and business leadership on May 18. The Northern California Real Estate & Construction Council (NCREC) gala also raised $960k for lifesaving medical research.
Upon receiving his award, Khouri told Bisnow: "City of Hope not only helps families who have been affected by potentially devastating illnesses by keeping them whole, but more deeply, demonstrates the capacity of love to inspire all of us to reach for our full potential in making contributions to the well-being of our fellow man."
The night began with an inspirational story from Erik Hansen of Nibbi Brothers. He described his cancer diagnosis and treatment, including multiple bone marrow transplants and heavy medical treatment. Despite his sickness, the state-of-the-art care he received at the City of Hope saw him through his battle with cancer. Erik pointed to the honest and compassionate way he and his family were treated by the City of Hope. “My life is whole again,” he tearfully concluded, noting he now can see his daughters through college. He urged the crowd to register with the National Marrow Donor Program.
Dr. Saul Priceman described the importance of a standalone institute such as the City of Hope since it doesn’t have to compete for funding from other departments like a university research hospital. City of Hope’s model is more efficient as it reduces the time it takes for a revolutionary therapy to go from the lab bench to the patient’s bedside. Saul appealed to the real estate community to contribute to research since the National Institutes of Health (NIH) gives less than 2% of grants to researchers under 36.
Eli Khouri was honored with the Spirit of Life Award for his philanthropy. He began by thanking his mentors who taught him the importance of service and dedication to the community. After meeting with doctors at the City of Hope, he appreciated the work researchers were doing to expand the boundaries of human knowledge. Eli praised the researchers, saying their work takes amazing talent and character.
He told the audience to consider one historical fact: during his tour of the facility he learned the City of Hope started as tuberculosis hospital. During the early 1900s, TB was the leading cause of death but has since become an afterthought. He asked the audience to consider a future where their contributions and the work of researchers could lead to a day where people at the City of Hope would say, “Remember when we were a cancer hospital?”