OVERVIEW: The Herman and Frieda L. Miller Foundation is focused on civic engagement, advocacy, community organizing, and infrastructure improvements in Greater Boston and Eastern Massachusetts.
FUNDING AREAS: Civic engagement, advocacy, community organizing, infrastructure improvements
IP TAKE: Even though Miller grants address issues like employment, housing, healthcare, and education, this is not a place where direct service organizations should look for support.
PROFILE: Established in the late-1990s, the Herman and Frieda L. Miller Foundation supports philanthropic efforts related to the civic engagement and empowerment of local communities. Key elements of this funder’s grantmaking are “strong civic culture and community empowerment, neighborhood and citywide; development and maintenance of healthy physical settings that facilitate vigorous communities; and access by individuals of all income-levels and backgrounds to employment, housing, education, health care, transportation, and cultural activities.” Overall, funding is centered on civic engagement, advocacy, community organizing, and infrastructure improvements.
Unlike many other funding programs, this one does not have a strong preference for a certain type of organization size, form, or issue focus, as long as grantees promote social justice and civic engagement in some way. However, the fund does not provide start-up funding for new organizations. This is not a fund to turn to for direct service and day-to-day organizational needs.
Additionally, the Miller Foundation also established the Miller Innovation Fund in 2011. Through this program, the foundation supports short-duration, discrete projects providing social justice organizations with the resources they need to empower the public. Since 2016, the Miller Innovation Fund has focused on two issue areas: re-imagining service networks for vulnerable people (i.e. the homeless, elderly, refugees, domestic violence victims, former prisoners, etc.) and developing and proving new community-based economic models. In this latter category, the foundation funds projects related to local innovations in banking, newly seeded social enterprises, new asset development schemes, and changed markets for social good.
Most grants fall between $20,000 and $50,000 per year of project support, and multi-year support is often available. View a list of past grants here. This foundation has a strict focus on Greater Boston and Eastern Massachusetts.
Although phone and email inquiries to the foundation staff are welcome, the foundation only accepts proposals by invitation. The Miller Foundation employs the staff of Boston-based Grantmakers Managers Advisors (GMA) Foundations to handle operations. Contact the foundation administrator, Amy Shorey, with general questions at 617-391-3072 or via email at email@example.com.
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