The Jack Miller Center is a public charity founded by Jack Miller, the creator of Quill, an office-supply company since acquired by Staples. The Center supports high school and college teachers of civics and political science by creating curricula, sponsoring training workshops for students and teachers, and providing financial support for graduate students. In addition, the center acts as a pass-through organization for donors wanting to establish academic centers on campuses.
The Jack Miller Center was founded in 2004 by Jack Miller, the founder of Quill Corporation, an office supply company later acquired by Staples. The center was originally a division of the right-leaning Intercollegiate Studies Institute but became an independent organization in 2007. 1
The largest donor to the Jack Miller Center is the Jack Miller Family Foundation, which donated $1.7 million to the Jack Miller Center in 2019. 2 Other donors include the Charles G. Koch Charitable Foundation, 3 and the Rauner Family Foundation, run by former Illinois governor Bruce Rauner (R). 4 In 2018, Politico reported that Richard Uihlein, who gives through the Ed Uihlein Family Foundation, paid the salary of a Jack Miller Center employee who advised donors on giving to universities. 5
The Jack Miller Center acts as a pass-through organization for donors wanting to set up centers on campuses to assist scholar studying political science and civics. In 2014, the center was the middleman in a $1.7 million gift from the Kinder Foundation to establish the Kinder Institute on Constitutional Democracy at the University of Missouri. The Kinder Foundation then donated $25 million to the university in 2015 to fund and expand the Institute. 6 A 2015 report from the Pope Center for Education Policy (now the James G. Martin Center) calculated that the Jack Miller Center had acted as middleman in the creation of 55 centers on college campuses between 2007-14. 7
As of 2021, the Jack Miller Center said it had helped create 109 academic centers on college campuses and had formed affiliations with 1,014 professors who had, since 2004, taught 1,306, 400 students. 8
In 2021, Adam Kissel was told by the state of Connecticut that he could not raise funds for the Jack Miller Center in that state unless he told the Connecticut Department of Consumer Protection 20 days in advance of his fundraising activity, provide the department with the text of what he was going to tell potential donors, and report all donations to the department. Kissel, represented by the Pacific Legal Foundation, sued. In January 2022 federal District Judge Jeffrey Meyer declared the state regulations unconstitutional violations of the First Amendment, and ordered that the regulations be repealed and the state repeal the regulations, state on its website that the regulations are repealed, and pay $42,504 in Kissel’s court costs. 9
- Peter Panepento, “Think Tank Sues Donor and Three Ex-Workers,” Chronicle of Philanthropy, November 1, 2007.
- Jack Miller Family Foundation 2019 Form 990.
- Dave Levinthal, “How the Koch Brothers Are Targeting the Hearts and Minds of College Students,” Center for Public integrity, March 27, 2014. https://www.huffpost.com/entry/koch-brothers_n_5038281 (accessed April 28, 2022).
- John O’Connor, “Rauner Giving Veers Left and Right,” St. Louis Post-Dispatch, September 30, 2014.
- Maggie Severns, “The Biggest Republican Megadonor You’ve Never Heard Of,” Politico, March 19, 2018. Jack Miller told Politico that Uihlein was “a more thoughtful donor than a lot of people.”
- “MU Received $25 Million Gift from the Kinder Foundation,” press release from the University of Missouri, October 8, 2015.
- Jay Schalin, Renewal in the University: How Academic Centers Restore The Spirit of Inquiry (Raleigh, North Carolina: Pope Center, 2015), 19, https://www.jamesgmartin.center/wp-content/uploads/2015/01/Academic-Centers.pdf (accessed April 28, 2022)
- “2021 Year in Review, “https://jackmillercenter.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/02/2021-Year-in-Review-V.2.pdf (accessed April 28, 2022)
- Edmund H. Mahony, “Nonprofits Get a Win in Fundraising Court fight,” Hartford Courant, July 23, 2021. Kissel v. Saagull, https://casetext.com/case/kissel-v-seagull-1 (accessed April 28, 2022).