NET WORTH: Unknown
SOURCE OF WEALTH: Quill Corporation
JEWISH FUNDING AREAS: Israel, Jewish Identity, Social Welfare, Other
OVERVIEW: Jack Miller, his wife Goldie and family move their philanthropy through the Jack Miller Family Foundation (JMFF), which has a strong web presence, though does not currently accept unsolicited proposals. JMFF runs several program areas, one of which focuses on the Jewish community. JMFF's Jewish philanthropy focuses on Israel, Jewish identity, and social welfare, among other things.
BACKGROUND: Jack Miller graduated with a degree in journalism from the University of Illinois. At 27, he founded Quill Office Products, which evolved into the first mail-order office supply dealer in the country. The company was purchased by Staples in the late 1990s for $685 million. The Millers are based in the Chicago area.
FUNDING PROFILE: Jack Miller has said that "philanthropy should be run as a business [and that the] problem with a lot of philanthropy is that people write a lot of checks, and they feel good that they've done so, but how that check is used might not be very effective. You could just be wasting money." The Jack Miller Family Foundation focuses on a limited number of priority areas. The family is based in the Chicago area and the region serves as an important site of philanthropy.
One of the foundation's select program areas is Jewish Intiatives. Miller recalls that on family trips before World War II, he saw signs on resorts that read "No Jews or dogs allowed." Recognizing this history and ensuring continued progress is important for this family.
The foundation's Jewish grantmaking focuses on Israel, "the perpetuation of Jewish 'peoplehood,'" social welfare, as well as miscellaneous work. Some of this work has involved Holocaust education, as well as religious institutions that have ties to the family. Unfortunately for grantseekers, the foundation does not currently accept unsolicited proposals, though fundraisers should keep apprised of policy changes on this page. In a recent fiscal year, a little more than 25 percent of JMFF's grants went to Jewish causes, the second largest funding area that year.
Grantees have included Aitz Hayim Center for Jewish Living in Glencoe, Illinois; American Israel Education Foundation; Birthright Israel Foundation; Congregation Beth Shalom in Northbrook, Illinois; Foundation for Jewish Camp; Friends of the Israel Defense Forces; Holocaust Memorial Foundation of Illinois; Jewish Federation Of Greater Philadelphia; and Jewish United Fund of Metropolitan Chicago, which has received particularly strong support.
LOOKING FORWARD: Miller is in his 80s and has strongly focused on philanthropy in recent years. The family has other causes that are very important to them as well (including a personal health cause), but expect their steady support of the Jewish community to hold.