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Give Voice for Amberwing - 1


Miller-Dwan Foundation

The Miller-Dwan Foundation is firmly rooted in the tradition of noteworthy individual philanthropy. From a historical bequest given by A. M. Miller that created Miller Memorial Hospital to the longstanding and expansive interests of Mary C. Dwan, charitable, community-minded people have shaped the Miller-Dwan Foundation throughout the years.

The Foundation had its beginning in the early 1970's with gifts from Mrs. Dwan specifically designated for an endowment. It is from her vision and philanthropy that the Foundation was formed in October 1973. Mary C. Dwan's wishes continue to guide the Foundation and are reflected in the Foundation's activities and special projects. 

Since the Foundation's beginning more than $17 million has been distributed in grant and project support. The Foundation has led the community in creating Amberwing - Center for Youth & Family Well-Being, Solvay Hospice House and the Caring Ways Cancer Resource Center.

Foundation Timeline

1968 A gift of $2.4 million from Mary C. Dwan provides significant funding for an addition to Miller Memorial Hospital, including an auditorium and Burn Unit, completed at a cost of more than $7 million. 

1971 Upon completion of the expansion, the hospital is renamed Miller-Dwan Hospital and Medical Center, reflecting the Dwan gift and the transition of services to a specialized approach to medical care.

April 1973 In response to Mrs. Dwan's initiative, planning for a foundation is started, and a foundation committee is formed. The committee is composed of Jennings Johnson, Bob Karon, Don Shank and Jim Knoble, hospital CEO.

August 15, 1973 Mary C. Dwan dies.

1973 A gift from Mary C. Dwan, in the form of a charitable lead trust, provides for the establishment of an endowment to benefit the hospital.

October 1973 The hospital forms the first Foundation Board to carry out the philanthropic wishes of Mary C. Dwan and other donors. Initial members of the Foundation Board are Stella Mitchell, Dr. William Slack, Dr. Bill Jacott, Dr. Frank Budd, Dr. Robert Heller and Jim Knoble, hospital CEO. The total assets of the new foundation are $880,648.

1986 Josephine Wendorf makes a gift to the Foundation in her will. The Wendorf Trust starts providing funds to Miller-Dwan Foundation and the Van Gorden Foundation.

December 16, 1997 The Van Gorden Foundation merges with the Miller-Dwan Foundation and the Van Gorden Fund of the Miller-Dwan Foundation is established.  The Miller-Dwan Foundation becomes the charitable entity for Polinsky Medical Rehabilitation Center.

October 1998 Spiritual Center - this facility is the result of a development effort by the Foundation that raised $165,000. The project was designed with assistance from community religious leaders of all faiths to create the region's first multifaith spiritual space.

November 2000 The Foundation changes its 501(c)(3) nonprofit status from the IRS tax-exempt classification of a 509(a)(3) support organization to a 509(a)(1) independent public charity.

September 2003 The Foundation embarks on a $4,000,000 capital campaign to build Solvay Hospice House, the region's first and only residential hospice home.

July 2007 Solvay Hospice House celebrates its grand opening. By year end 2009, over 400 people at the end of life have received comfort, care and support at Solvay.

May 2009 The Foundation embarks on a $6,000,000 capital campaign to build Amberwing - Center for Youth & Family Well-Being, an innovative outpatient center that provides care for children, teens, young adults and families struggling to cope with mental health and substance use problems.

February 2011 With the 100% donated help of HTK Marketing Communications and its employees, the Miller-Dwan Foundation launched the Give Voice Now campaign to raise the last $1,000,000 to build Amberwing. The campaign included a press conference, thousands of TV spots donated by Northland's NewsCenter, newspaper ads donated by the Duluth News Tribune, and additional advertising through donated radio spots, billboards, bus, indoor and magazines.

September 2012 Amberwing - Center for Youth & Family Well-Being opens its doors.