Preserving the Past, Building the Future: Debby Miller

From the moment she first heard about JDC, Debby Miller knew it was for her. In the years since, Miller has honed a special interest in JDC Archives and JDC Entwine. Now she’s giving back to JDC to ensure the next 100 years of Jewish life.

By JDC Staff | August 26, 2021

Debby Miller (left) with her husband on a JDC global trip

From the moment Debby Miller heard about JDC, she knew the organization was for her.

“I remember it as clear as day. I said to myself, ‘I’ve got to do this, too,’” said Miller, now a longtime JDC Board Member. “I had the sense that JDC was just exactly what I wanted to spend my time and my money and my energy doing. And I’ve never looked back.”

Miller is passionate about building a bridge between JDC’s past and its future. Traveling the globe with JDC, she’s honed a special interest in the work of JDC Archives — its artifacts, documents, and modern Jewish historical treasures — and JDC Entwine — the young leaders catalyzed by its innovative trips and service opportunities.

It’s on visits to the field, she said, that JDC’s impact has been most tangible.

“You meet people on these home visits that you’ll never forget — every single one, whether it’s been in Poland or in Bulgaria or Russia,” she said. “We’re the 9-1-1 of the Jewish people. You meet people whose lives are just so diametrically different from yours and you know that we’re making a difference.”

Debby Miller (center) in China

That passion for the people at the heart of JDC’s work is what propelled Miller and her husband to make a standout $5 million gift to the Second Century Campaign (SCC), the endowment focused on guaranteeing JDC has the resources it needs to respond nimbly to emerging crises for generations to come.

Giving to JDC is among the great joys of Miller’s life, she said.

“There’s nothing like it … nothing,” she said. “I would encourage my fellow Board Members and other JDC supporters not to leave the task to their children or their grandchildren, but to make sure to make an SCC commitment in their lifetime, because it makes you feel better than just about anything you could ever do.”

“We’re the 9-1-1 of the Jewish people. You meet people whose lives are just so diametrically different from yours and you know that we’re making a difference.”

For an organization that’s given Miller so much — lifelong friends, signature travel experience, and the sure knowledge that she’s making the world better for her fellow Jews — giving back to JDC and ensuring its next 100 years will be just as impactful as its first was a no-brainer, she said.

“In life, you always get more than you give, and I would say that applies to my time with JDC, too,” she said. “I can never say enough positive things about everything I’ve experienced thanks to my years with this organization, and if there’s anything that I can give back, I’m right on board doing that.”


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