(Courtesy of ICRF) The Israel Cancer Research Fund (ICRF), a nonprofit organization dedicated solely to supporting cancer research in Israel, is honoring Stuart Berni at the Fourth Annual Heroes for Hope Gala, November 17, 6 p.m., at the Hilton Stamford. David Martin, Mayor of Stamford, is the evening’s honorary chairman. Dr. Tali Lando Aronoff , a pediatric otolaryngology surgeon is the guest speaker. Jerry Silber is the event chair.
Berni is currently managing partner and CEO of the Greenwich-based real estate company The Berni Companies. In addition, he owns and manages residential and commercial properties in Connecticut and New York. He helped initiate the Greenwich Point Conservatory and served as a board and advisory member. He was a founding family and a board member of the Greenwich Teen Center. Berni’s community outreach is extensive and includes support of Kids in Crisis, Yale-New Haven Greenwich Hospital, Cambodian Children’s Fund, Clothes to Kids, several homeless shelters in Stamford and mentoring four underserved children in Stamford for more than 20 years.
He is involved in the Israel Bonds Organization and is active in the Greenwich UJA and JCC. For the past decade he has served as a board member and advisor to the international board of the ICRF, helping the organization to raise funds to support the world-class research of Israeli scientists in their search to find new treatments and cures for cancer.
“To talk to Stuart for five minutes about his philanthropy, and especially about ICRF, is to be immediately struck by his passion for giving back, and ICRF is a cause closest to his heart,” said Dr. Leslie Freedman, ICRF Connecticut Chapter chairman. “And when Stuart is committed to a cause like ICRF, he is tireless in his efforts on its behalf.”
Guest speaker Dr. Tali Lando Aronoff practices in Ardsley, New York, and is affiliated with multiple hospitals, including Phelps Memorial Hospital Center and St. Francis Hospital-Roslyn. She is the author of the book, “Hell and Back: Wife & Mother, Doctor & Patient, Dragon Slayer,’’ which chronicles her journey with breast cancer and helps survivors and their families navigate the complex issues of breast cancer diagnosis and treatment.
Elected mayor of Stamford in 2013, Mayor Martin has written laws/ordinances that have changed Stamford, including the senior tax abatement program and the creation of the Downtown Special Services District. Mayor Martin and his late wife established the Starfish Connection, a nonprofit organization that provides mentoring and enrichment services to low-income students in Stamford.
The Israel Cancer Research Fund is the largest single source of private funds for cancer research in Israel. With the 2019/2020 grants, ICRF funding has now reached more than $72 million since its founding in 1975. A total of 69 grants will be funded this year at 10 different institutions in Israel.
Among the areas of focus for ICRF funding this year are cancer genetics, targeted cancer therapies and immunotherapy. Three grants to study immunotherapy were funded as part of a collaboration between ICRF and the Cancer Research Institute, which is a preeminent funder of immunotherapy research in the U.S. ICRF has a long history of supporting fundamental laboratory science that provides the foundation for work with clinical impact. In addition, early-phase studies that seek to characterize the potential for clinical impact in the care of patients with specific tumor types have been funded as well. Three new awards for collaborative work between Israeli investigators and cancer scientists at the City of Hope National Medical Center in California were also announced.
“We are honored to support the work of Israel’s brilliant scientists to enable them to carry on their life- saving work,’’ said ICRF International Executive Director Dr. Mark Israel. “The rate of discovery in cancer research is accelerating and Israel has become a major source of innovation in the understanding and treatment of cancer. As a result of our rigorous scientific review and selection process, we have provided funding to propel the careers of some of the leading cancer researchers, including Professor Howard Cedar and Nobel Prize-winning scientists Drs. Avram Hershko and Aaron Ciechanover.”