Anita Miller (urbanist)

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Anita Miller
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BornApril 20, 1931
Brooklyn, New York
CitizenshipUnited States of America
Alma mater
  • University of Michigan
  • Wheaton College (Massachusetts)

Anita Miller (born April 20, 1931) is an American urbanist working in the field of urban revitalization and policy areas such as Reverse mortgage, tenant management, anti-redlining initiatives and comprehensive community development. She is the first woman to have served as a senior program officer at the Ford Foundation and as a board member of a federal financial regulatory agency[1] (the Federal Home Loan Bank Board).

Early life

She was born in Brooklyn, New York and grew up in Mount Vernon, New York. She attended Wheaton College (Massachusetts) in 1948-49 and the University of Michigan from 1949-51. She married Martin Miller in 1952 and their three children include the journalist Alan Miller (journalist).


A longtime member of the American Civil Liberties Union[2], Miller began working on housing issues in 1956 while living in Providence, Rhode Island, where she played a leadership role in the state’s struggle for fair housing legislation, served on the city’s Minority Group Housing Problems committee and founded the Rhode Island Conference on Intergroup Relations.[3] She received the National Conference of Christians and Jews' National Brotherhood Award in 1964 for her work in Providence.[4]

In 1964 she became a staff consultant in urban affairs at the Union of American Hebrew Congregations (UAHC) in New York City, where she “stimulated and staffed”[2] the organization’s co-sponsorship of a large-scale community development project in East Harlem. She also headed the city’s Workable Housing Program Committee[1], establishing a program to relocate tenants living in areas slated for redevelopment.

She joined the Ford Foundation in 1972 as a consultant, winning promotions to program officer and senior program officer in the Department of Urban and Metropolitan Development. She assumed direct responsibility for a new area of interest — housing and neighborhood conservation — working with about 50 housing programs nationwide and about $15 million in grant funds. In 1976 she joined the board of the Federal Savings and Loan Advisory Council.[5]

On April 7, 1978, President Jimmy Carter nominated Miller as a member of the Federal Home Loan Bank Board,[3] the regulatory agency for the savings and loan industry. She was confirmed later that month[4] and was sworn in on May 4, 1978. She served as acting chairman of the board from July 7, 1979,[6] to September 7, 1979.[7]

She resigned from the board in November 1979[8], returning to the Ford Foundation to focus on revitalization projects in the South Bronx. In 1981 she was recruited by Mitchell Sviridoff, the former head of domestic programs at the Ford Foundation, to join the Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC), a nonprofit community development financial institution that the foundation had created two years previously. Her most prominent role in urban revitalization was the transformation of Charlotte Street[9], the rubble-strewn lot in the Crotona Park East, South Bronx that both President Carter and President Ronald Reagan visited to highlight urban blight[10].

Working with Edward J. Logue, the head of the South Bronx Development Corporation, and LISC, Miller was instrumental in the effort in 1983 to bring in 89 single-family, suburban-style homes — complete with white picket fences[11] — as an alternative to high-rise public housing. Charlotte Gardens received considerable attention and became a national model for stimulating the rejuvenation and economic integration of urban areas.[12] In 1997, President Bill Clinton visited the site as a symbol of urban rebirth;[13] 12 years later, CNN Money called it “one of the greatest real estate turnarounds ever.”[14]

Miller further refined and expanded this approach, working with the Surdna Foundation to create the Comprehensive Community Revitalization Program[15] (CCRP) in 1992. Centered in the South Bronx, it was the first urban renewal program to go beyond a focus on housing alone, bringing together local government, financial institutions and community development groups to integrate job creation and training, public safety, health services, recreation, open spaces and child care with affordable housing to rebuild distressed neighborhoods from the ground up. Genevieve “Jenny” Brooks of the Mid-Bronx Desperadoes, one of the Community development corporation|community development corporations (CDCs) that Miller funded, was instrumental in both Charlotte Gardens and this later effort.

Miller subsequently worked closely with Andy Mooney, the leader of LISC’s high-profile Chicago office, to replicate that approach. She detailed the CCRP model in Going Comprehensive: Anatomy of an Initiative that Worked,[16] a 2006 book written with Tom Burns of the OMG Center for Collaborative Development.

She also played a central role in the genesis of three major policy initiatives:

  • At the Ford Foundation, she worked with the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development to develop a national demonstration project in St. Louis, Missouri,[17] to showcase the first tenant management of public housing.
  • Working with a Ford Foundation grantee, she developed the reverse mortgage, which enables homeowners to borrow against the equity in their homes. She provided the funding for a demonstration project in San Francisco, California.
  • At the Federal Home Loan Bank Board, she led the fight among regulators to carry out the congressional mandate to end redlining, the lending practices that discriminated against individuals and communities.


  1. 1.0 1.1 Maturniak, Edward (1978-04-23). "Two firsts for villager". The Ridgewood News. p. 1.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs, United States Congress. Nomination of Anita Miller: Hearing Before the Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs, United States Senate, Ninety-fifth Congress, Second Session, April 20, 1978. Washington: U.S. Government Printing Office.
  3. 3.0 3.1 "Federal Home Loan Bank Board Nomination of Anita Miller To Be a Member". Retrieved 2022-03-11.
  4. 4.0 4.1 "Anita Miller Appointed to Bank Board". Federal Home Loan Bank Board Journal. 11, No. 5: 2. May 1978.
  5. Scroggin, Ben F., Jr. (September 1978). "The Federal Savings and Loan Advisory Council". Federal Home Loan Bank Board Journal. 11, No. 9: 21–23.{{cite journal}}: CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  6. "Anita Miller Named Acting Head of Bank Board". Federal Home Loan Bank Board Journal. 12, No. 7: 4. July 1979.
  7. "Janis Takes Office as New Bank Board Chairman". Federal Home Loan Bank Board Journal. 12, No. 10: 2–3. October 1979.
  8. "Anita Miller Resigns as Bank Board Member". Federal Home Loan Bank Board Journal. 12, No. 11: 6. November 1979.
  9. Rosen, Ira (1979-10-07). "The Glory That Was Charlotte". The New York Times. Retrieved 2022-03-11.
  10. Cruz, David (2020-12-16). "From Fiery Wasteland To City Suburbia: The Transformation Of Charlotte Street In The South Bronx". Gothamist. Retrieved 2022-03-11.
  11. Shenon, Philip (1983-03-19). "TASTE OF SUBURBIA ARRIVES IN THE SOUTH BRONX". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2022-03-11.
  12. Goldman, John J., and Elizabeth Shogren (1997-12-11). "Key Ingredient in Bronx Rebirth: The Picket Fence". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2022-03-11.{{cite news}}: CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  13. "President Clinton Visits the Bronx". Retrieved 2022-03-11.
  14. "Greatest real estate turnaround ever - the South Bronx - Nov. 9, 2009". Retrieved 2022-03-11.
  15. Spilka, Gerri, and Tom Burns (1998). "Final Assessment Report: The Comprehensive Community Revitalization Program in the South Bronx". Archived from the original on 2002-01-27. Retrieved 2022-03-11. {{cite web}}: |archive-date= / |archive-url= timestamp mismatch (help)CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  16. Miller, Anita, and Tom Burns (2006). Going Comprehensive: An Initiative that Worked / CCRP in the South Bronx (PDF). Philadelphia: OMG Center for Collaborative Learning.{{cite book}}: CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  17. Delaney, Paul (1975-06-01). "St. Louis Tests Housing Idea: The Tenants Are in Charge". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2022-03-11.

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