Craig R. Miller

Since creating the world’s first AIDS Walk in Los Angeles in 1985, Craig R. Miller and his colleagues at MZA Events have raised more than $300 million for the fight against AIDS in cities throughout the United States.

In 2006 alone, the MZA-produced AIDS Walk New York, AIDS Walk San Francisco, and AIDS Walk Los Angeles generated more funds than at any point in each of their 20+ year histories. These record-breaking achievements stand in stark contrast to the virulent downward trend in fundraising for the domestic HIV epidemic. Craig has also organized many successful AIDS Walks in cities such as Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Denver, and Ft. Lauderdale.

Always pursuing new ways to be effective, Craig formed AIDS Community Action Foundation (ACAF) in 2004. The Foundation’s mission is to help further reinvigorate the sagging response to the U.S. AIDS epidemic by funding cutting-edge AIDS activism like that of New York – based Community HIV/AIDS Mobilization Project (CHAMP) and the Crystal MethWorking Group. Throughout his life, Craig has found ways to meld his work with his passion. In his early 20s, he was California’s youngest manager of progressive political campaigns, earning the respect of veteran members of the U.S. Congress, including Rep. Howard L. Berman and Rep. Anthony C. Beilenson, for his ability to guide long-shot campaigns to victory.

At the time the first AIDS cases were documented, Craig felt an urgent need to confront this public health crisis. He was outraged at how this emergency was being ignored, or worse, by most public officials. So, in 1984 he turned his attention to raising money for AIDS organizations in the hope of helping to fill the gap left by the government’s negligible response to the epidemic. Immediately following the inaugural AIDS Walk Los Angeles—which astonished observers and organizers alike with its size and results—GMHC and other AIDS organizations called on Craig to help in their cities. Within the next 2 years, he founded AIDS Walk New York and AIDS Walk San Francisco. As Rep. Berman recalled in a recent L.A. Daily News feature story on the AIDS Walk movement, “Craig put all his political skills to work on this cause and that’s what it needed. It needed a guy who understood mobilizing and organization to put the AIDS issue on the map.” In recent years, Craig has become a devoted student of Zen meditation. He is deeply thankful to his teachers at Santa Monica Zen Center, as well as to Village Zendo, where he practices when in New York City. “When one manages to quiet things down,” Craig says, “the next right action becomes all the more apparent.”