Under Lowell Milken’s leadership since its establishment in 1982, the Milken Family Foundation is regarded as one of the nation’s most innovative private foundations with groundbreaking initiatives in K-12 education, medical research and public health. In particular, Lowell’s reputation as a visionary leader of education reform has been honed by more than three decades of education research, policy and practices; complemented by firsthand visits to thousands of classrooms across the U.S. and abroad.
Lowell created the Milken Educator Awards—now celebrating its 30th anniversary—to honor and inspire excellence in the teaching profession while encouraging talented young people to choose teaching as a profession. And with a goal to develop greater numbers of effective educators, Lowell launched the National Institute for Excellence in Teaching (NIET) in 205. NIET operates the Best Practices Center and TAP: The System for Teacher and Student Advancement, designed to create a 21st-century teaching profession with powerful, sustained opportunities for career advancement, professional growth, teacher accountability and competitive compensation. NIET’s proven reforms now impact more than 200,000 teachers and 2.5 million students on a daily basis.
As an active and ardent supporter of the Jewish community in the U.S. and Israel, Lowell has been instrumental in the mission and development of Milken Community Schools since their inception in 1990. The Milken Archive of Jewish Music, founded in 1990, combines Lowell’s passion for Judaism, education and music in a historic body of work that includes more than 600 recordings, 200 composers and 800 hours of oral histories.
The following initiatives are under the auspices of the Lowell Milken Family Foundation, which is dedicated to strengthening communities through innovation and education.
- The Lowell Milken Center for Unsung Heroes (LMC) discovers, develops and communicates the stories of Unsung Heroes who have made a profound and positive difference on the course of history. Through student-driven, project-based learning, students and entire communities learn that each of us has the responsibility and the power to take actions that “repair the world” by improving the lives of others. Since 2007, LMC has reached more than 1,200,000 students and 9,000 schools in all 50 states and several countries. The new Hall of Unsung Heroes opened in 2016 at LMC’s Fort Scott, Kansas, headquarters as a state-of-the-art museum and hub of research and discovery.
- By setting new standards in business law education, the Lowell Milken Institute for Business Law and Policy at UCLA School of Law prepares students for outstanding careers and leadership in business, the non-profit sector and philanthropy. The Institute simultaneously serves as a dynamic hub of research and strategy for practitioners, scholars and experts across a variety of disciplines. The Lowell Milken Institute-Sandler Prize for New Entrepreneurs supports the launch of promising new business ventures with $100,000 in competitive funding to student teams that include at least one UCLA Law student.
- The Hoffmitz Milken Center for Typography (HMCT) at Art Center College of Design in Pasadena honors the legacy of Leah Hoffmitz Milken, a letterform expert known for unique logotypes and typefaces and a legendary professor for two decades. HMCT is dedicated to setting the global standard of excellence in typography and design education at a time of rapidly changing visual communication methods and devices.
Recognition for Lowell’s achievements in education include the National Association of State Boards of Education, Horace Mann League, National Association of Secondary School Principals, Jewish Theological Seminary, Kappa Delta Pi international honor society and UCLA School of Law. Hebrew Union College and Chapman University have each presented Lowell with an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters.
Named by Worth magazine as one of America’s most generous philanthropists, Lowell is also an international businessman who chairs Knowledge Universe Education as well as London-based Heron International, a worldwide leader in property development. His experience in business at the global level informs his strategic vision for the high-caliber educational opportunities vital to equip future generations to compete on the world stage and to secure America’s heritage as a democracy.
Lowell Milken is a product of California’s public school system, graduating Phi Beta Kappa and summa cum laude from the University of California, Berkeley, where he received the School of Business Administration’s Most Outstanding Student Award. He earned a law degree from the University of California, Los Angeles, with academic honors of Order of the Coif and the distinction of UCLA Law Review.