Baltimore, MD

The Baltimore man giving away millions of dollars

Ash Jurberg

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We all need to read a good news story, so today, I thought I would share with readers the story of the Baltimore man who is putting his million-dollar fortune to good use.

The Baltimore man giving away millions of dollars

Bill Miller was born in 1950 in North Carolina.

He earned a degree in economics from Washington and Lee University before working as an overseas military intelligence officer. Upon returning to the United States, he moved to Baltimore, where he studied philosophy in the Ph.D. program at John Hopkins University.

Miller worked for the Baltimore-based investment management giant Legg Mason Capital for 35 years, where he built his reputation as a shrewd investor. He outperformed the S&P 500 every year from 1991 to 2005.

Miller was a very wealthy man.

The fall of the billionaire

In 2008, Bill Miller made a big mistake by placing large leveraged bets on Bear Stearns, Freddie Mac, and other stocks hit by the Global Financial Crisis. The bad decision led to most of his investors abandoning him, and the assets that Miller managed fell from $77 billion to $800 million.

His personal wealth shrunk by around 90% in just a few months.

But Miller rebounded. He was an early investor in both Amazon and Bitcoin, which saw his net worth return to its previous heights. Miller left Legg Mason Capital in 2016 and is now the chairman of Miller Value Partners, with 16 employees and $3.6 billion in assets under management.

Now that Miller has his million-dollar fortune back, he is keen to support local organizations.

Philanthropy

What am I going to do with this money, which I obviously can’t take with me?” Bill Miller

Miller is considered one of Baltimore's biggest philanthropists, and he was ranked the 24th most charitable person in the United States in 2021.

In particular, he is a big supporter of his alma mater.

In 2018 he donated $75 million to the Johns Hopkins University philosophy department, the largest ever to any of the university's humanities departments. He followed this up with another $50 million in December 2021 to support Johns Hopkins University's Department of Physics and Astronomy.

Last year Miller also pledged $50 million to the Santa Fe Institute – the largest single donation in the 38-year history of the nonprofit theoretical-research center.

Readers, what do you think of Bill Miller's story? And what Baltimore organizations would you like to see him support?

Please leave your comments below.

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