Sam Miller’s legacy of generosity continues to serve Greater Cleveland’s most vulnerable residents in their hour of need

Sam Miller stands in front of framed picture of Terminal Tower

The Greater Cleveland community is facing unprecedented challenges in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. Partners across the community have stepped up to create the Greater Cleveland COVID-19 Rapid Response Fund to support nonprofit organizations serving the region’s most vulnerable residents. The Samuel H. and Maria Miller Foundation made a generous contribution to the fund, honoring the legacy of its founder Sam Miller. In this guest blog, those close to Sam reflect on his generous spirit and continued impact nearly one year since his passing.

The late Sam Miller, a Cleveland businessman and philanthropist, was a passionate leader who worked tirelessly to help others throughout his life. The son of immigrant parents, Sam was born in Cleveland and had a deep love for the city and its people. Largely because of his roots, Sam had a passion to help those in need around him, especially those most vulnerable. “He saw things and people that otherwise would have been overlooked in life,” said Abe Miller, Sam’s son. “He didn’t have much growing up, so he had insight into people in similar situations. The rent has to get paid; food has to be on the table; kids need clothes – things that a lot of us take for granted.”

As a dedicated servant, Sam gave of his time, energy, counsel, and financial support to numerous nonprofit organizations throughout Northeast Ohio. Sam was extremely passionate about helping those most in need or in times of crisis. During his lifetime, he received the American Red Cross National Humanitarian Award for his dedication, as well as the Catholic Diocese of Cleveland’s Lifetime Achievement Award for his tireless efforts to serve others. For those in distress, Sam was there to lead and support.  

It’s been just over a year since Sam’s passing, and people across our community today are confronting unprecedented distress. The COVID-19 pandemic is an unparalleled healthcare and economic crisis for individuals and organizations throughout Greater Cleveland. Without question, one of the first responders on the scene to help would have been Sam Miller. As he is no longer with us, the Samuel H. and Maria Miller Foundation is here to carry on Sam’s legacy of helping those in true crisis.   

“He wouldn’t wait to be asked. If he saw someone who needed help, he would just come forward.”

After learning about the Greater Cleveland COVID-19 Rapid Response Fund – an emergency fund created by a coalition of partners across Northeast Ohio to deploy resources to local nonprofit organizations serving on the frontlines of the pandemic – the Samuel H. and Maria Miller Foundation stepped up to help, just as Sam would have done himself. “He wouldn’t wait to be asked,” said Abe Miller. “If he saw someone who needed help, he would just come forward.” The Foundation – led by Gabrielle Miller (President), Eleanor Fanslau (Vice President), Brad Knapp, Kim Scott and Abe Miller – proactively made a $500,000 gift to the Rapid Response Fund, joining other organizations, individuals and families across the region who have together contributed more than $8.5 million to relief efforts so far.  

If Sam was still with us, he would have been on the front lines helping organize relief efforts. He would be on the phone encouraging his friends, business associates and community leaders to step up with him. This effort is central to what he was most passionate about: helping Cleveland residents in their time of need. Thankfully, Sam’s legacy of generosity continues now when our community needs it most.

You can learn more, and join the Samuel H. and Maria Miller Foundation in making a gift of any amount to the Greater Cleveland COVID-19 Rapid Response Fund here.