As so many individuals and families struggle to meet their basic needs during the COVID-19 pandemic, Catholic Charities faces an increasing demand to assist people hit hardest by the crisis - those who are already disadvantaged. The Samuel H. and Maria Miller Foundation has responded to the great need in our community with a generous gift of $500,000 made to the Diocese of Cleveland Emergency Assistance Fund.
The late Sam Miller, a renowned Cleveland businessman and philanthropist, was a passionate leader who worked tirelessly to help others. He was known as a catalyst for cooperation between the Jewish and Christian communities, bringing people together and tackling tough issues. During the 1980s Sam developed a deep personal friendship with Bishop Anthony Pilla and became the driving force behind a $16 million campaign to keep inner-city Catholic schools afloat.
In October 2015, the Catholic Diocese of Cleveland presented Sam Miller with the Lifetime Achievement Award at the Alleluia Ball, a benefit that raises tuition assistance funds for Catholic school students. In an interview conducted just prior to the award, Sam said: “In my life, I just wanted people to be nice, and I wanted to do good with what I had.”
It has been just over a year since Mr. Miller’s passing, yet the Samuel H. and Maria Miller Foundation is carrying on Sam’s legacy of helping people in need in Northeast Ohio. “My father was not a follower, he preferred to lead,” says Abe Miller, Sam’s son. “He chose to support organizations that directly help the community. He didn’t always wait to be asked. He could see for himself where he could make a difference in other people’s lives.”
The Samuel H. and Maria Miller Foundation is led by Eleanor Fanslau, Brad Knapp, Kim Scott, Gaby Miller, and Abe Miller. “This is what Mr. Miller would have done,” says Eleanor Fanslau, who served as Sam’s secretary throughout his lifetime. “He would have seen this crisis and how important it was to do something for people who are in need of help.”
The Emergency Assistance Fund, which is managed by the Catholic Community Foundation, is being used to assist people impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, addressing immediate basic needs such as food, rent, and utilities. The Fund is providing resources to Catholic Charities, which is on the frontlines and is committed to the mission of helping people of all faiths, races, and creeds. Since the start of the pandemic, requests for Catholic Charities Emergency Assistance has risen dramatically. St. Augustine Hunger Center is now delivering over 500 meals a day to help feed people, many of whom have never before required assistance. At the peak of this crisis, St. Elizabeth Center in Lorain moved homeless men to two hotels in Amherst so that they could shelter in place and practice social distancing safely. Throughout the Catholic Charities system, new procedures and accommodations have been put in place to ensure the delivery of these much-needed social services.
Sam understood the needs of people throughout the community that he loved. As a dedicated servant leader, Sam gave his time, energy, counsel, and financial support to numerous nonprofit organizations in Northeast Ohio. Thankfully, this work carries on today through the generosity of the Samuel H. and Maria Miller Foundation, where Sam’s legacy is leading and supporting people in crisis.
To join the Samuel H. and Maria Miller Foundation in making a gift of any amount to the Emergency Assistance Fund, please contact Bob Hickey at 216-696-6525 x3310, firstname.lastname@example.org.