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D.C.'s JDRF Real Estate Games Breaks Fundraising Record With Over $800K, Looks To Hit $1M

The D.C.-area real estate industry’s largest charity affair of the year, the Mid-Atlantic JDRF Real Estate Games, broke its fundraising record in its 34th year, garnering $824,571 for Type 1 diabetes research.

This year’s Mid-Atlantic JDRF Real Estate Games raised $824,571 for Type 1 diabetes research.

Just over 2,400 registered participants, making up 98 company teams, and nearly 300 volunteers gathered at American University’s gymnasium on June 1, for an eight-hour day of friendly competition. 

The annual daylong sporting event raises money for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, with dozens of real estate companies — from development to construction to architecture firms — across the D.C. metro area competing in games like tennis, swimming, basketball, cornhole and relay races. New York and Chicago began hosting annual JDRF Real Estate Games in 2017. The games have raised a cumulative $14M over their lifetime.

The fundraiser was founded in 1989 by Savills Vice Chairman Adam Singer, who was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes 45 years ago.

“It’s just this weird thing that we all came up with at the same time 34 years ago — let’s all get together and make a difference,” Singer said.

Collective DC faces off against Clark Construction in a volleyball matchup.

This year's honorary chair was American Real Estate Partners Chief Operating Officer Paul Schulman, who spoke about the commitment from the industry amid today's difficult market.

“This year the support from the real estate community was amazing, especially at a time like we’re in now where things are very challenging,” he said.  

Schulman partook in a dunk tank event, and recalled being dunked 10 times in 15 minutes. AREP’s team shirts included a QR code to “dunk Paul.”

JDRF Real Estate Games founder Adam Singer speaks at the closing ceremony.

Whiting-Turner Contracting won the games in with the most overall points, followed by Clark Construction and HITT Contracting. That same trio made up the top three teams at last year's games, with Clark taking home last year's trophy.

The prize for the climactic challenge, tug of war, went to Harvey-Cleary, which beat HITT in the final round. Singer told Bisnow it’s almost always a construction company that wins the game of strength as companies take workers off construction sites for the day.

This year added soccer, sponsored by D.C. United, and a scavenger hunt to the dozens of usual challenges.

For future event expansions, Singer says that every year he pushes for a “broker boxing” event, which Chicago has done, but year after year he gets outvoted. He also pitched karaoke for this year but was voted down. 

He’d also like to up the ante on the scavenger hunt next year, something like “complete a lease by 4:00, which can’t be done,” he said.

Harvey Cleary defeated last year’s tug-of-war champion HITT in the final challenge of the day.

Singer tells Bisnow that expansions to the Detroit and Nashville markets are in the early planning stages for 2024, and says he’s been in discussions with “six or seven” other JDRF chapters about hosting the games.

As for future fundraising goals: “Now we can look at a million-dollar event,” Singer said.

But in addition to the money raised, he hopes the event encourages the community to reach out for support.

"I got three people come up to me today," he said. "Peer support is one-on-one, and it's great to [raise] money, you can have fun, but when someone needs help, they know to call me or someone at JDRF and and say 'hey can you help me with it' and that's the most wonderful thing after the event."