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Mary Louise Miller Philanthropic Fund

Mary Louise Miller

Year Founded


Mary Louise Miller

Purpose of Fund
Mary Louise Miller established this donor advised endowment so she could recommend financial support for various charitable community projects and local charities as she wished over time. Upon her death, the endowment converted to an endowment supporting the Community Grants Program of the Putnam County Community Foundation.

History of Fund
Mary Louise Miller lived life to the fullest. Healthy, strong, independent, and intelligent, her accomplishments in the area of physical education and athletics were many. She traveled the world, summered at Lake Geneva in Wisconsin, and enjoyed spending time with the many friends, family members, and pets who loved her. And Mary Lou’s generous and adventurous spirit lives on through the Putnam County Community Foundation. Mary Lou’s visionary belief in the potential of a fledgling Community Foundation, blazed a trail for many others to follow. Through her generosity, she transformed the Foundation and all the community organizations supported by the Foundation.

Born June 6, 1909, in Rockford, Illinois, she was the daughter of M. Sumner and Harriet Miller. 

A 1930 graduate of Rockford College, she received her Master’s Degree at the University of Wisconsin in 1935. She taught physical education and chemistry at Heidelberg College from 1935 to 1942. Leaving Heidelberg, she came to DePauw University where she remained until her retirement in 1974. At DePauw Mary Lou headed the women’s physical education department from 1960 to 1974 and held the rank of full professor from 1965 to 1974.

Mary Lou was nationally known in the area of aquatics and held offices in the Women’s National Aquatic Forum. She served on the executive committee of the Association of Synchronized Swimming from 1956 to 1960. Mary Lou authored several articles related to athletics which appeared in The American Journal of Physiology, The Soccer Guide, and the Aquatic Guide. In 1972 Life Honorary Membership was bestowed on Mary Lou by the Women’s National Aquatics Forum. She also was a recipient of the Rockford College Annual Alumni Award of Distinction in 1990. In 1993 Mary Lou was inducted into the prestigious DePauw University Athletic Hall of Fame. In 1996 she was awarded the Putnam County Community Foundation’s Spirit of Philanthropy Award. Mary Lou was dedicated to the Community Foundation which will continue to execute her philanthropic wishes in perpetuity.  She was a major donor and active member of its Board of Directors.

Grant / Payout History
First Grant Awarded

2001: $6,300.00
Most Recent Grant Award

2017: $15,720.49

Total Grant Awards:



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