Hollywood, FL – May 15, 2019 – In an immense gesture of philanthropy – and gratitude – the Caroline and Alitza Weiss Family Foundation has committed $1 million to the Diabetes Research Institute Foundation (DRIF). Their generous gift will support the pioneering work being conducted by the Diabetes Research Institute (DRI) at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, a world leader in research focused on curing this life-threatening disease.

The Weisses have been benevolent contributors to many charitable organizations throughout the community, but their decision to support the Diabetes Research Institute is a personal one. Caroline suffers with diabetes and they would love nothing more than to see a cure for the disease. Not only do they hold the research being done by the DRI and its director, Camillo Ricordi, M.D., in the highest regard, they also credit him with saving Caroline’s life.

“I have known Dr. Ricordi for many years and greatly respect his work, but the search for a cure became personal when my mom was diagnosed. He saved her life when she experienced challenges with her diabetes,” said Alitza. “We are committed to giving back, as we consider this a duty and an obligation to make a difference in the lives of so many touched by diabetes.”

Beyond their desire to help advance the DRI’s research closer to a cure, they also hope to inspire others to donate to the DRI as well. They are challenging others to match their $1 million donation, providing the DRI a total of $2 million through this effort.

“We know that the scientists at the DRI will find a cure for diabetes. We humbly ask caring individuals to join us and provide them with the funds they need to get us closer to that goal for our loved ones,” said Alitza, who has announced the match challenge publicly at several DRIF fundraising events.

“We are deeply grateful to the Caroline and Alitza Weiss Family Foundation for their generous $1 million donation and for providing us with an extraordinary matching opportunity to raise double that amount in support of the DRI’s cure-focused research initiatives,” said Alice Rodd O’Rourke, CEO of the Diabetes Research Institute Foundation.

Caroline Weiss is chief executive officer of the Weiss Group of Companies, LLC, a Miami-based real estate company founded by her late husband, Jack Weiss, in the 1970s. Her daughter, Alitza Weiss, serves as senior vice president of marketing.

About the Diabetes Research Institute and Foundation The mission of the Diabetes Research Institute Foundation is to provide the Diabetes Research Institute with the funding necessary to cure diabetes now. The Diabetes Research Institute at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine leads the world in cure-focused research. As one of the largest and most comprehensive research centers dedicated to curing diabetes, the DRI is aggressively working to develop a biological cure by restoring natural insulin production and normalizing blood sugar levels without imposing other risks. Researchers have already shown that transplanted islet cells allow patients to live without the need for insulin therapy. Some study participants have maintained insulin independence for more than 10 years. The DRI is now building upon these promising outcomes through its BioHub strategy, a multidisciplinary, three-pronged approach for addressing the major challenges that stand in the way of a cure: eliminate the need for anti-rejection drugs, reset the immune system to block autoimmunity, and develop an unlimited supply of insulin-producing cells. For more information, please visit DiabetesResearch.org or call 800-321-3437.