2020 Negev Gala
“If you see something…say something.If you say something…do something.”
Diane Colley-Urquhart, a 20 year veteran of Calgary City Council, lives by these words. Diane has time and again been a voice for Jewish Calgary in City Council. Most recently, she has put her words into action by bringing forth a motion to Council to adopt International Holocaust Remembrance Day, observed on January 27th. As well, she is working on the adoption of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition of antisemitism. In light of her history of support for Jewish causes, Jewish National Fund of Calgary has chosen Diane Colley-Urquhart as their 2020 Negev Gala Honouree.
Prior to her work on Council, Diane was deeply impacted by her extensive nursing career, spanning areas such as emergency, intensive trauma, and cardiac care.
“My 50 years of nursing experience brings a strong sense of compassion, fairness and helping to do what is right and do all I can to improve the quality of life of our citizens.”
Befitting her history in nursing, Diane will be honoured at the Negev Gala in order to raise funds for the Trauma Resilience Centre, in Sderot, Israel, just 8 kilometres from Gaza.
“When Elliott Steinberg, the Executive Director of JNF Calgary, told me about the Trauma Resilience Centre that provides therapy for children and adults suffering from PTSD – I was all in. Having run the Trauma Unit at Foothills, and having a deep understanding and insight into how traumatic incidents on youth and children can impact mental health for a lifetime, this was a perfect fit to make a tangible difference. Thousands of families in Israel are affected every day by the terror of living in emergency mode, and with little notice.”
The current Resilience Centre is located in a building that is neither reinforced for rocket attacks, nor accessible to those with disabilities, and is too small to accommodate the growing number of clients. Elliott was in Sderot last December and is delighted about this new partnership.
“JNF Calgary is very pleased to be honouring Diane Colley-Urquhart at our annual Negev Gala. Diane has proven to be a stalwart friend and supporter of Calgary’s Jewish community for more than two decades. The Trauma Resilience Centre will benefit tremendously from our collective philanthropy, in honour of Diane.”
Negev Committee co-chair, Gayla Rogers, who is the former Dean of Social Work and professor emerita at the University of Calgary, agrees.
“It’s not just Diane’s support for the Jewish community that I find compelling. Her commitment to human rights and the well-being of those who are vulnerable resonates with my values as a social worker. Her project will contribute to the mental health of many.”
Gayla’s husband, Brian, a Calgary lawyer and Negev Committee co-chair, concurs.
“Our relationship with Diane spans three decades, both as colleagues working together on fundraising initiatives and as close friends. I know her to be an honorable and trusted friend to the Jewish community, exemplified by her various actions on behalf of the people and causes she cares about deeply.”
Diane’s relationship with the Jewish Community dates back to her early nursing days at the Foothills Hospital, where she worked with a number of notable Jewish doctors. During this time, she joined the JCC, where she met many new faces and utilized the fitness facility and other amenities.
Diane’s son Bruce was enrolled in both ‘Jean’s’ Daycare at the JCC and the Calgary Jewish Academy, where she developed many friendships. At about the same time, she was hired by the Martin Family at the Beverly Nursing Home, where she helped arrange for the JCC Daycare children to come over every Friday to celebrate Shabbat.
Diane recently worked with Calgary Jewish Federation to advance a change in zoning for the Calgary Jewish Centre land, at both the provincial and municipal levels. Bruce Libin, past president of Calgary Jewish Federation, describes the collaboration with Colley-Urquhart.
“In each case, Diane was advisor, supporter and friend for our efforts with the City – quiet, behind the scenes, and of significant value.”
When asked about her motivation for the motion to recognize an International Holocaust Day in Calgary, and the working definition of antisemitism, Diane reflected on her interactions with Jewish community members over the years.
“I became more intimately aware of the impact and devastation of the Holocaust. I’m left speechless and breathless every time I meet survivors. I brought forward the Charter to Council which received unanimous support.”
Diane gained significant insight into antisemitism as a Police Commissioner for 13 years, and feels very strongly about educating youth so they understand antisemitism as it manifests itself today, in acts and words of hatred toward Jews.
Trauma Resilience Centre in Sderot
JNF Canada will help build a New Trauma Resilience Centre in Sderot that will provide therapy for children and adults suffering from PTSD.
The current facility is located in a building that is not reinforced for rocket attacks, is not accessible to those with disabilities, and is too small to accommodate the growing number of clients.
Thanks to your generosity, JNF Canada will provide the final $250,000 needed to help construct the building necessary to double the number of patients treated. The local authorities expect a dramatic increase in the number of individuals referred to the Resilience Centre.
The thousands of children and families residing in Israel along the Gaza border are resilient and they won’t be intimidated by terror.
As one resident said,
“These days are challenging for us. Yet the hardest part is going from totally living life to emergency mode in less than one minute, without notice. I want to thank all of you for caring. Knowing we are not alone helps keep our spirit strong and allows us to move on. Am Israel Chai!”
Negev Dinner Committee
Ron and Myrna Ghitter
Brian and Gayla Rogers
CEO JNF CANADA
JNF NATIONAL PRESIDENT
WENDY EIDINGER SPATZNER
EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR JNF CALGARY
TOBY BARRON LIBIN
Online reservations are now open for the Negev Gala, or contact us at
When & Where
Thursday, May 7, 2020
Beth Tzedec Synagogue
1325 Glenmore Trail SW, Calgary AB
Cocktail Reception: 5:30 Pm Program & Dinner: 6:30 Pm
AB Kosher Dietary Laws Observed
Jewish National Fund of Calgary
1607-90th Avenue S. W.