Victory Gardens announces largest individual gift in its 38-year history from Board President Steven N. Miller

image003Victory Gardens Theater announces a generous $350,000 gift from Steven and Diane Miller. President of the Victory Gardens Board since July 2012, Steven Miller has been involved with the organization since the late 1990s, joining as a board member in 2008. His gift marks the single largest individual contribution in the Theater’s thirty-eight year history.

Steven Miller, Principal and Co-founder of Origin Ventures, has structured his gift as a match to encourage and inspire long-time and new supporters to make philanthropic gifts to  Victory Gardens.

Steve Miller comments, “Victory Gardens Theater is one of the most important companies in Chicago.  Our focus on new works, new voices, and telling the stories of all Chicagoans resonates with Diane and me. We want others that feel as we do to join us in supporting this theater that means so much to Chicago. ”

Artistic Director Chay Yew is delighted with the news of this magnificent gift, “Since becoming board president, Steve has been the most perfect partner. He not only understands the administrative and financial aspects of running a theater but he firmly believes we are building an institution that is committed to artistic excellence, cultural diversity and social dialogue. At our core, Victory Gardens champions exciting theatre work that reflects and represents the communities which inhabit this great city.  Steve and Diane’s gift underscores their passionate commitment to our theater.  As we continue the artistic conversation with our audiences, we are incredibly grateful to have the leadership and generosity of Steve Miller.

Prior to co-founding Origin, Mr. Miller spent 10 years at Quill Corporation, the largest mail-order office supply firm in the country.   When the company was sold to Staples in the 1998, he formed Origin Ventures.  Origin Ventures is an early-stage venture capital firm that invests in e-commerce, digital media, and software companies.  In addition to serving on Victory Gardens’ board, Mr. Miller serves on many non-profit boards and chairs the major gift committee of the Jewish United Fund/Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Chicago.  Mr. Miller received a B.S. in Business Administration/Marketing from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 1987, where he now serves on the Dean’s Business Council and the board of the Hillel Foundation. He also provides the funding for the Steven N. Miller Entrepreneurial Scholarships and the Diane & Steven N. Miller Endowed Professorship in Business at the University of Illinois.

About Victory Gardens Theater

Under the leadership of Artistic Director Chay Yew, Victory Gardens is dedicated to artistic excellence while creating a vital, contemporary American Theater that is accessible and relevant to all people through productions of challenging new plays and musicals.  With Victory Gardens’ first new Artistic Director in 34 years, the company remains committed to the development, production and support of new plays that has been the mission of the theater since its founding, continuing the vision set forth by Dennis Zacek, Marcelle McVay, and the original founders of Victory Gardens Theater.

Victory Gardens Theater is a leader in developing and producing new theatre work and cultivating an inclusive Chicago theater community. Victory Gardens’ core strengths are nurturing and producing dynamic and inspiring new plays, reflecting the diversity of our city’s and nation’s culture through engaging diverse communities, and in partnership with Chicago Public Schools, bringing art and culture to our city’s active student population.

Since its founding in 1974, the company has produced more world premieres than any other Chicago theater, a commitment recognized nationally when Victory Gardens received the 2001 Tony Award for Outstanding Regional Theatre. Located in the Lincoln Park neighborhood, Victory Gardens Biograph Theater includes the Zacek-McVay Theater, a state-of-the-art 299-seat mainstage and the 109-seat studio theater on the second floor, named the Richard Christiansen Theater.

In 2012, Victory Gardens Victory Gardens appointed new Ensemble Playwrights Philip Dawkins, Marcus Gardley, Samuel D. Hunter and Tanya Saracho for seven-year residencies. The Playwrights Ensemble Alumni includes Claudia Allen, Lonnie Carter, Steve Carter, Gloria Bond Clunie, Dean Corrin, Nilo Cruz, Joel Drake Johnson, John Logan, Nicholas Patricca, Douglas Post, James Sherman, Charles Smith, Jeffrey Sweet and Kristine Thatcher.

For more information about Victory Gardens,  Follow Victory Gardens on Facebook and Twitter @VictoryGardens.

Victory Gardens Theater receives

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major funding from Alphawood Foundation, The Shubert Foundation, Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, The Joyce Foundation, John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, The Boeing Company, Allstate Insurance, Polk Bros. Foundation, Crown Family Philanthropies, Leo S. Guthman Fund, National Endowment for the Arts and REAM Foundation. Additional funding is provided by: Illinois Arts Council (a state agency), The Edgerton Foundation, Charles & M.R. Shapiro Foundation, Venturous Theater Fund, McVay Foundation, The Seabury Foundation, Wrightwood Neighbors Conservation Association, The Charles H. and Bertha L. Boothroyd Foundation, John R. Halligan Charitable Fund, Illinois Tool Works, Elizabeth F. Cheney Foundation, a City Arts Grant from the City of Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events, and The Saints.