About the Foundation

The Miller Foundation believes that the arts keep Oregonians of all ages creative and connected, and that holistic educational approaches keep our children engaged and inspired.


The James F. and Marion L. Miller Foundation was founded with the mission to enhance the quality of life of Oregonians through the support of classroom education and the performing, visual, and literary arts.


A group of high school students standing on a lawn outside, holding diplomas

photo credit: Latino Network

The Foundation’s stated vision is of an Oregon where the arts thrive in supportive communities and educational systems support the effectiveness of teaching and learning in every classroom.

As our communities reckon with layered crises, we continue to listen to and trust the wisdom of our grantees working in Arts and Education. As a result, our funding priorities continue to evolve over time, both in our responsive grantmaking and in the work we initiate or collaborate on with other funders.


14 high school students standing with 2 adult leaders. Latin American flags in the background.

photo credit: Latino Network


The Foundation's funds are dedicated to service in the community. Directors and staff are stewards of these funds, seeking to direct resources with efficiency, equity, and wisdom.

When appropriate within our mission and circumstances, we will step forward in a leadership role. We prefer to remain out of the spotlight, and instead, illuminate the focus on our nonprofit partners and their work.


Shared planning and action expands and enriches aspects of our work and the work of others.

A group of actors and writers sitting in blue theater seats

photo credit: Red Door Project

A large group of young girls posing in a pyramid shape, smiling

photo credit: Adelante Mujeres


Foundation Directors and staff treat all persons and organizations with honesty, integrity, and fairness. We are accessible; we communicate clearly and promptly with applicants, grantees, peers, and the public; and we build constructive relationships based on mutual respect, candor, and confidentiality.


We value listening to and learning from others. Collegial relationships, discussion, debate, exchange of information, research findings, and openness to new ideas enhance our work.

A student and an adult mentor, sitting at a table, reading a book

photo credit: SMART Reading

A young child in a classroom holding a vinyl record of jazz musician Chick Corea.

photo credit: PDX Jazz

Curiosity and Flexibility

We aspire to be thoughtful and purposeful in our work and periodically review and evaluate our priorities and practices. We are more concerned with results than following conventions, and we value innovation.


In response to needs in the field, the Miller Foundation occasionally creates special funding initiatives and invites grantee organizations to participate. We know the community benefits when funders pool resources in support of great ideas, so we also collaborate with other funders on collective efforts they initiate. Below are examples of those funder collaborations as well as Miller-led initiatives over the past 15 years.

Since 2008, the five large arts organizations in the Portland Metro area (Oregon Ballet Theatre, Oregon Symphony, Portland Center Stage, Portland Art Museum and Portland Opera) have received unrestricted multi-year general operating support grants.

6 performers in costume in front of an audience of students

From 2015-2023, small and mid-sized arts organizations statewide have received unrestricted multi-year general operating support grants.

A large audience on blankets in front of an outdoor stage with an orchestra

A pooled grant fund in partnership with arts funders statewide to provide COVID aid for arts organizations.

2 women in dresses with matching hats, dancing on a stage

These partnerships with arts funders statewide provided two rounds of support to individual artists statewide during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Visual artist, seated, working on a print of a bird

Initiated by the Murdock Charitable Trust, this funder collaborative supported arts consulting to select arts organizations statewide.

A close up on a pair of hands working with gray clay at a pottery wheel.

Since 2004, Miller has partnered with regional funders to support policy and advocacy, data and research and convenings with community-based organizations to support equitable education statewide.

A logo of Foundations for a Better Oregon, in white font with a black background

This initiative supports the convening of up to 28 organizations providing services to Black students statewide.

Group of students and instructors, standing

Through the OHSU Center for Evidence Based Practice, this initiative supported a streamlined database combining statistical data from numerous public agencies for all children born in Oregon since 2001. Learn more

A metric chart with multiple data points

This four-year funder collaborative (2017-2021) supported creating new pathways for professional training and development for Pre-K educators statewide.

A young child, sitting in a preK classroom in front of a stack of blocks

BUILD Early Childhood Network
Since 2018, this collaborative has supported a statewide Early Learning System Plan, Raise Up Oregon, through the Early Learning Division at the Oregon Department of Education.

Logo the Build initiative: strong foundations for our youngest children

In 2018, we began a multi-year initiative with the Children’s Institute for creating pathways from Pre-K to the K-12 system.

Map of the state of Oregon, indicating several areas of the state with stars where the programs are.


The heart of the Miller Foundation's commitment to equity is our long-term commitment to providing flexible, reliable funding. We know that unrestricted, multi-year support is what our grantees need to be truly responsive to community needs and to center equity in their own work. Through our grantmaking, we prioritize:

  • Removing geographic, economic, and other barriers to accessing arts and arts education
  • Ensuring all Oregon students experience teaching and learning that unlock their potential
  • Supporting individual artists as the bedrock of a healthy arts ecosystem

Because Oregon’s historically and currently under-resourced communities experience disproportionate barriers to accessing the arts and educational opportunities, the Miller Foundation is particularly interested in supporting work in the communities listed below. However, our funding is not limited to activities serving these communities.

  • Native Americans, members of Oregon’s nine federally recognized tribes, American Indians, Alaska Natives
  • Black, Africans, African Americans
  • Latinx, Hispanic
  • Asian, Pacific Islanders
  • Immigrants, refugees, asylum seekers
  • Undocumented, DREAMers
  • Linguistically diverse
  • People with disabilities
  • Aging/older adults
  • Economically disadvantaged
  • Farmworkers, migrant workers
  • Residents in rural communities
  • Residents in wildfire-impacted communities

The list above is adapted from the State of Oregon's Equity Framework in Covid-19 Response & Recovery. For rural communities, we use the Oregon Office of Rural Health’s definition which defines rural as any geographic area ten or more miles from a population center of 40,000 people or more.