Irene Diamond, who died recently at 92, was an innovative philanthropist, ever ready to bet on an unlikely cause. Perhaps her gambling streak came from her work in the movie industry as a story editor, taking chances on scripts, like the unproduced play that became Casablanca. During the McCarthy era she was a loyal friend and supporter of blacklisted writers. In the 1950s she and her husband, a wealthy developer, set up the Aaron Diamond Foundation, and before his death, in 1984, the couple agreed to pay out all the money in the trust. She gave away more than $200 million to public education, cultural institutions, AIDS research and human rights. She was also a generous supporter of this magazine and the Nation Institute. In the early 1980s she pledged $2 million annually over fifteen years to a new group called Human Rights Watch. Angered by prejudice against AIDS victims, she established the Aaron Diamond laboratory, hiring an unknown scientist, David Ho, to direct it; he would develop antiretroviral therapy. Aryeh Neier, former director of Human Rights Watch, praised the way she stayed personally involved and “gave her fortune to a handful of causes she was passionate about,” rather than, like many of the wealthy, setting up a foundation to give away her money after her death.