Have You Met?

If diamonds are a girl’s best friend, then Felicia Diamond is a gift to the nonprofits she has so diligently and generously supported. Helping to transform lives and make positive changes keeps Felicia Diamond “good to go” and inspired.

With over 25 years of experience in all aspects of the nonprofit sector, Felicia is a determined crusader, who has helped many nonprofit organizations succeed - such as the Diana Price Fish Cancer Foundation, the Howard Dental Center for HIV/AIDS Oral Health, the Denver Chamber Orchestra, the Jewish Community Center & the Mizel Arts Center, and the Senior Citizen Law Center Program with the Legal Aid Society of Metro Denver.

Felicia says, “I understand how important the little things in life can be.” Ms. Diamond is bright, genuine – and a rare gem in the charitable world. With strength, perseverance, and compassion, Felicia Diamond makes things happen.

What fundraising activities are you involved in at this time? Professionally, I am Executive Director of Howard Dental Center for HIV/AIDS Oral Health. Personally, I am President of the Board of Directors of the Diana Price Fish Cancer Foundation. Our big event will be a collaborative effort with the MaxFund Animal Adoption Center called the “Bow Wow Benefit” on May 5 and 7th, 2006. I’m co-chairing it with my pals Catherine Saks and Wendy Bergen.

How do you decide which charitable organization you want to get involved with? In other words, what motivates and inspires you about a cause? Empowerment, community and joyful living. At Howard, I hope we help empower people through better health. When I was involved with the JCRS Isaac Solomon Synagogue Foundation, I did so because it honored my great grandfather, Benjamin Diamond, a founder of JCRS and because it contributed to the Jewish community. At the Denver Chamber Orchestra, it was simply about the love of music. Other organizations that have attracted my attention were about the love of animals, concern about child abuse, the love of the environment. At DPFCF, it is, of course, about joyful living.

Tell us about your work at Howard Dental? This is a great place to work. At the time, the clinic was still responding to the immediate life threatening nature of HIV/AIDS. Comprehensive oral health care was not something seriously needed. But as the anti-retrovirals have kicked in, HIV/AIDS has changed significantly. Now, people can expect to live rather than die. It means that the health care system has to alter its perceptions and for us, that includes an understanding of the relationship of oral health to the immune system. This is an exciting time to be working in oral health simply because so much research is now linking a variety of disease processes with oral health. It’s doubly wonderful because we have such an amazing staff.

What moved you to create the Diana Price Fish Foundation? My friend, the late Diana Price Fish died of ovarian cancer and she taught me a good lesson: remember why we fight to live. I thought about Diana’s death for a very long time and then began looking around to see how adult cancer patients were coping with their illnesses. I noticed that not only is cancer frightening and painful, it can be boring! Diana always wanted to take time to enjoy what was important to her. So, I wanted to establish a testament to her spirit.

What is a moment in your life you will never forget? Sort of an “ahah, I get it now!” moment? There have been a number of those, but the most recent one was in Yellowstone Park. I once served on a Sierra Club committee that studied the reintroduction of wolves in Colorado. I have always loved wolves but have never seen one in the wild. So, I watched with great apprehension when wolves were reintroduced to Yellowstone.

When the fires raged, I worried about these wolves that I had never seen and pretty much figured I never would. So, a few weeks ago my husband and I celebrated our 30th anniversary in Yellowstone. We spent our last day searching for wolf packs. We hiked for hours. We drove from valley to valley. Nothing. Finally at dusk we saw some people by the side of the road. We asked what they were seeing and they said, “Wolves.” They had high-powered scopes and we watched a pack of three, two gray and white and one black, romp, play, roll around. We could just discern a howl if the wind was right.

As we were about to freeze, we left. My husband and I got into the car and I began crying. I couldn’t believe how overwhelmed I was by the site of wolves living freely. I had wanted to see wolves in the wild for most of my life. Each time I think about it, I tear up. The “ahah” was simply the understanding of what a habitat can produce . . .the importance of keeping places wild . . .at least wild enough so that wolves can live free.

As citizens and members of a world society, what really needs our time and attention right now? What can each one of us do to make a difference? I can’t even begin to answer that question. It’s huge! But on a personal level, I think many people spend far too much time thinking about themselves. I think the level of self-absorption in our culture is way out of control. I think people ought to start thinking about something other than themselves. Volunteer. Mentor. Foster a child or a dog. Clean up a river or a walkway. My gosh. There’s so much to do. Why are we waiting for someone else to do it?

What do you consider your proudest achievement? I don’t think I’ve achieved it yet.

What is your most treasured possession? Nothing. I love things and certainly collect them, but don’t really care about them. I only treasure the living creatures within my home: my husband, dogs and cats.

Can you share one of your favorite childhood memories with us? I had a blessed childhood. I grew up in Denver and had a wonderful extended family. I was able to see my grandparents weekly, play outside with my friends, and ride my horse. For some reason, I just flashed on my weekly ballet lessons at Lillian Cushing School of Dance. My father would pick me up. I used to just love it when he’d come in after a long day of work to pick me up at ballet school. That memory is very vivid.

What one thing can’t you live without? Dogs.

What do you believe is the key to a successful marriage? Arguing.

What makes you laugh? I’m easy.

What makes you cry? Any movie about an animal. I also get very emotional when I see people doing the right thing.

What one word would people use to describe you? My mother says I’m outrageous.

What one word would you use to describe yourself? Irrepressible.

What are your favorite hobbies or leisure time activities? Companion animals, gardening, writing for Gabby Gourmet, fretting about not walking, running, biking or skiing enough.

Describe your idea of a perfect day? Every so often my husband and I celebrate Shabbat (the Sabbath). We don’t answer the phones, we don’t go anywhere, we don’t drive our cars. No shopping, no television. No errands. Just peace and quiet. I love those days because they are so completely rejuvenating. We read, nap, listen to music, take walks and just enjoy the moments as they come.

What’s in the future for Felicia Diamond? I haven’t the slightest idea. I am enjoying my new “job” as a reviewer for the Gabby Gourmet. I love going to restaurants and writing reviews.

How would you like to be remembered? As someone who contributed to the quality of the life of our community.

What do you hope the world will be like, let’s say, ten years from now? Quieter. It’s very noisy.

Your home is very inviting and warm, what do you love most about living in it? It’s peaceful, quiet and private. The gardens are gorgeous. I love sitting at the windows and seeing beauty everywhere I look. I love the dogs, the cats, the raccoons, the squirrels and the foxes. I’m really such a lucky person to live in a home that becomes more beautiful each year simply because of the nature that surrounds it.

Felicia’s Community Involvement and Honors: Recipient “Outstanding NonProfit Organization” for the Colorado Business Council 2004, Recipient of "Outstanding Contribution to Dental Advocacy" award from the Metropolitan Denver Dental Society, Spring 2004. President, Board of Directors, JCRS Isaac Solomon Synagogue Foundation, March, 2001 – present, Present Member, Board of Directors, Community Health Agencies of Colorado, Honored at the 10th Anniversary Celebration of the Diana Price Fish Foundation, September, 1999, Recipient of the 1996 Cherry Creek Sertoma Club “Service to Mankind Award,” Founder, Diana Price Fish Foundation, 1989, Member, Board of Directors, Diana Price Fish Foundation, 1996 – present, Volunteer, Harrison Animal Hospital - 1999-2000, Volunteer, The Conflict Center - 1999-2000, Member, “Small Organizations Task Force”, Public Accountability Project - CANPO – 1996, Member, Board of Directors, Colorado Cancer Research Project, 1990-1993, Vice President, Board of Trustees, Denver Chamber Orchestra, 1988 – 1993, Member, Junior Symphony Guild, Founding Member of the Denver Chamber Orchestra Guild, 1988, Member, Board of Directors, Colorado Humane Society, 1982-84, Member, Board of Directors, Colorado Christian Home, 1975-77, Awarded Woman of Distinction, YWCA, 1991, Founder and Chair, “Indulge Yourself” - Annual Silent Auction for Denver Chamber Orchestra, Chair: Wolf Reintroduction Study, Sierra Club, 1974-1975, Committee member: “Black and White Ball”, 1985-1990, Committee member: “Do at the Zoo” 1990, Tutor - Denver Public Schools, 1993-94, Host Family - Cultural Home Stay Corp - 1993 – 1996.