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Annual Real Estate Games Begins Weeklong, Virtual Event

Savills' Adam Singer, the founder of the JDRF Real Estate Games, kicking off the virtual event Monday.

The real estate industry in D.C. has been hosting the JDRF Real Estate Games for more than 30 years, but this year is the first that will not feature teams competing in person. 

The D.C., New York and Chicago markets are combining their annual games, which raise money to combat Type 1 diabetes, into a virtual event that is being held throughout this week, and it started Monday with the opening ceremony.

The JDRF Real Estate Games has raised over $10M in the 31 years since Savills executive Adam Singer founded the games. 

"This has been a year we could not have expected, any of us, and we've found a way to face our challenges, and that includes how to raise money for charities in a year like this, and we have found a way," Singer said. 

Newmark Knight Frank's Brendan Owen, the D.C. honorary chair of the JDRF Real Estate Games, during the opening ceremony.

This year's games will not feature the usual tug of war, basketball, obstacle course and other athletic competitions, instead it will have a series of contests that players can participate in from their homes.

The teams will compete in a trivia night Monday evening. Tuesday, it will feature an online team-building exercise and a mile run challenge. Wednesday will have a yoga class and a maze challenge. Thursday will have a Peloton ride for those with the stationary bike and a relay race with activities contestants can do at home. Friday will end with a head-of-office singing competition and the closing ceremony.

Monday's opening ceremony included remarks from the three honorary chairs of the Real Estate Games in each city: Newmark Knight Frank Chairman of Asset Services Brendan Owen in D.C., REBNY President Jim Whelan in New York and Pearlmark Managing Principal Doug Lyons in Chicago.

Owen said he has been attending the D.C. Real Estate Games for its entire 31-year history.  

"In Washington, I think we have a unique real estate community to a lot of other cities where we really do enjoy each other," Owen said. "Our community is really connected, I think it's incredibly charitably oriented, and most of the brokers really do get along and like and support each other, and I just miss being with my brothers and sisters in the industry."

The New York Real Estate Games first launched in 2016, with Whelan, who was an executive vice president at REBNY at the time, leading the effort.

"Admittedly, it's a bummer that this year's games will be virtual," Whelan said.
"The last few months have been among the most difficult in New York City's history, and we have a difficult road ahead of us. However, New Yorkers are demonstrating their toughness in flattening the curve regarding the COVID virus."

TheMART's Patti Jaglinski, the fundraising chair for the JDRF Illinois Real Estate Games, speaking at the opening ceremony.

The opening ceremony also featured representatives from recent winners of the games: Clark Construction in D.C. and JLL in Chicago. The points accrued during this year's virtual games will roll over to next year's competition.

Participation in the virtual games is free, but JDRF is asking contestants to donate to its cause of Type 1 diabetes research. 

“Even though there’s a global pandemic upon us, Type 1 diabetes does not take a day off and neither can we," said TheMART's Patti Jaglinski, fundraising chair for the Illinois Real Estate Games. "JDRF remains committed to its mission to treat, prevent and hopefully cure Type 1 diabetes, but they cannot do it without you."