Irene Diamond was president of The Irene Diamond Fund, Inc., and was the president of the Aaron Diamond Foundation until its close in December, 1996. The Aaron Diamond Foundation’s emphasis on medical research programs made it the United States’ largest private supporter of AIDS research. In 1991, the foundation established the Aaron Diamond AIDS Research Center for the City of New York, directed by David D. Ho, M.D., professor at The Rockefeller University.
A native of Pittsburgh, Diamond pursued a film industry career in New York City and Hollywood, becoming a senior story and talent editor for Warner Brothers, Samuel Goldwyn and Paramount Pictures. Among her credits, during many years of work with the producer Hal Wallis, are the purchase and development of the scripts Come Back Little Sheba, The Rose Tattoo and Casablanca.
Along with her husband, Aaron, a New York real estate developer, Irene established the Aaron Diamond Foundation in 1985. Later, the Diamonds determined that the foundation should exist for 10 years after its major funding was in place, which occurred in January 1987. The foundation spent $220 million over 10 years, mostly in New York City. In addition to the support of the Aaron Diamond AIDS Research Center, the foundation created a $20 million postdoctoral research fellowship program for young scientists in the AIDS and drug abuse fields and was a major supporter of new programs and the smaller "New Visions" schools in the public school system. It also was a supporter of the arts, human rights and civil liberties. The new Irene Diamond Fund will concentrate its efforts in AIDS and immunology research as well as in the performing arts.