by Erin Lebar | Apr 01, 2020
It’s tough for John Diamond to put into words his attachment to the Jewish Foundation of Manitoba, an organization that has been intertwined into his family history for decades and one he is now at the helm of, as he began his role as the Foundation’s new Chief Executive Officer in February.  

“No, it’s not an obligation,” he corrects himself while explaining why he wanted to step into the position.  “It satisfies in me that sense of responsibility; plus the community has been good to us.” 

The “us” he is referring to is his family; his wife, Dr. Heather Diamond, and their three sons, Ben, 20, Alex, 16, and Jake, 10, who have gone through their fair share of difficulties in the past decade, and were supported in numerous ways by the Jewish community in Winnipeg. 

For Diamond, stepping into the role of CEO is a way he can give back; pay back the kindness of the meals that landed on his doorstep in a time of need and pay forward the skills and knowledge he has acquired as a trained lawyer and the many years he has spent working in asset management. 

“This is my way of really giving back and looking forward for the community. And it's an important aspect for me to teach to my kids as well, instill in them that sense of duty and commitment to community,” Diamond says. 

Though he’s only been officially on the job for a few weeks, as a born-and-bred Winnipegger Diamond has been actively involved in the local Jewish community for much of his life in various capacities and has a strong vision for how he’d like to see the community continue to evolve in the coming years.  

“I think it's a unique thing about the Prairies, about Winnipeg. We are an isolated community in the middle of nowhere that has this amazing cultural diversity… it's truly fantastic. It deserves our care to preserve it and to help it grow. Through the Jewish Foundation of Manitoba not only do we achieve that by continuing to sustain our own Jewish culture and services, but also through a commitment to the greater community, and that's part of the vision that I have for the Foundation." 

“Secondly, the rise in antisemitism scares me,” he continues. “I truly believe the majority of people are good, but in the words of Edmund Burke “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good people to do nothing”, and it's very important for the good to really express what's needed to happen and the Foundation can do so by shouting from the rooftops the things we do, not only for the Jewish community, but for the greater community as well.”