What is a Legacy?
A legacy is commonly defined as a bequest or an inheritance, a gift by will of money or other personal property. On a deeper level, a legacy is often built on a lifetime of relationships, values, and accomplishments – and it lives on forever in those whose lives it has touched.
Ed Miller’s relationship with the Main Street Community Foundation began in 2009 with the establishment of the Sid Bernard Memorial Art Scholarship Fund.
At the time, Ed was grieving after the death of his spouse, Sid Bernard, a beloved and highly esteemed teacher who worked with students in Bristol Public Schools from 1984 until his death in 2009. “Sid’s joy in living was infectious,” Ed recalled fondly. “He would just pull you in.” Ed’s loss would lead to a legacy that would honor the life that he and Sid shared for 22 years.
Ed and Sid valued education and the arts. Both disciplines provided the basis for their careers, life experiences, friendships, and community ties. Sid pursued his BFA in Ceramic Arts at Alfred University, his MFA from Claremont University, and completed a teacher certification program at Southern Connecticut State University.
Ed embraced a rigorous Jesuit education at the University of Scranton. “The Jesuits were demanding. They had high expectations for the attainment of a well rounded education,” explained Ed. “Students were required to study the arts and philosophy. The Jesuits stressed the importance of good character, a strong work ethic, and effective communication skills.”
After graduating from college, Ed joined the Peace Corps. He was sent to Sierra Leone to teach English. The experience led him to career opportunities in corporate training and higher education. Prior to his retirement, Ed served as the Director of the Health Professions Advisory Program at Yale University.
In 2013, Ed reflected on Sid’s devotion to teaching art to elementary school children. He decided that the time had come to focus his philanthropy on programs for younger students. During Sid’s teaching tenure, Ed was impressed by Bristol’s support of the arts programs in its schools.
“Sid loved teaching young children because they tend to be enthusiastic, curious learners who are still open to experimenting with a variety of artistic techniques. He celebrated students’ accomplishments by spending countless hours matting, laminating and setting up displays of student artwork for inclusion in Bristol’s annual elementary school art shows,” Ed reminisced.
The Sid Bernard & Ed Miller Children’s Fund for the Visual Arts, an endowed fund established in 2013 at the Main Street Community Foundation, will provide grants to nonprofit, nonreligious organizations that offer innovative or traditional visual arts education programs to primary and middle school aged students in Bristol.
Ed established the Fund with an outright gift. Dr. Ned Jacobson MD, a dear college friend of Sid, was aware of his devotion to elementary art education programs and continues to contribute to the fund. Through his estate plan, Ed will leave a bequest. In addition to his financial contributions, Ed has donated his knowledge and time to the Main Street Community Foundation as a volunteer.
“I am amazed by how easy and reasonable it was to open a fund at the Main Street Community Foundation,” stated Ed. “The staff listened to me and tailored fund agreements to meet my specific wishes.”
The Sid Bernard & Ed Miller Children’s Fund for the Visual Arts will award its first grant in 2016. Ed hopes the grants will inspire a new generation of artists. His thoughtful planning and generosity will continue to honor Sid’s memory and the legacy of their shared life.