The Homer Foundation has appointed Michael “Mike” Miller, who formerly resided in Alaska, to succeed Joy Steward as its new executive director. Miller will assume responsibilities on July 1, the foundation announced in a press release.
“Homer is a unique community full of generous people,” Miller said in the press release. “I’m very excited to have the opportunity to build on the past successes of the board and staff of the Homer Foundation.”
Miller, 57, previously lived in Alaska for four years.
A Wisconsin native, Miller grew up in Racine and graduated from high school in Waterford. After high school he joined the U.S. Air Force, working in outside plant communications — telecommunications— in the U.S. and Europe. He retired from the Air Force in 1994 after 15 years. While in the Air Force, he attended college and graduate school, earning a bachelor’s degree in political science from Midwestern State University, Wichita, Kansas, and a masters of public administration from Shippensburg University, Pennsylvania.
After his military career, Miller pursued a career in public service, serving as city and county administrator for several communities in Wisconsin and Missouri. He started working for nonprofits in 2008 in Kansas City, Missouri. In a phone interview, Miller said later in his career he decided he wanted to move to Alaska. He had visited in 2002.
“Like so many people there’s the mystique,” he said of Alaska. “I just fell in love with the state. I was in love with the idea before I got there. When I got there I was in love with the state, the people. Alaska is unlike anyplace else.”
Miller fulfilled that dream in 2010 when he took a job as director of operations for Camp Fire Alaska in Anchorage. He also worked as executive director for the Food Bank of Alaska for four years before returning to Wisconsin to help care for his father.
After his father died, Miller and his wife, Robin Albright-Miller, started traveling in their fifth-wheel trailer and truck, and have been on the road for the past nine months, touring Washington, California and the Southwest.
The Millers have visited Homer before, Miller said.
“We’re super excited about being up there,” he said. “That’s the most beautiful place in the world.”
Homer has an interesting feel or vibe, Miller said. “It’s just a wonderful mixture that really seems to work for the community.”
According to the press release, “The Homer Foundation manages philanthropic assets for the benefit of the southern Kenai Peninsula, awards grants to our vital nonprofit sector, and provides flexible giving options and community knowledge for donors wishing to give back to their community.”
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