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Lowell Milken

Milken Family Foundation Chairman and Co-Founder Lowell Milken has been a vital contributor to American and world culture, education reform, and medical research for three decades.  The Milken Archive of Jewish Music is a cultural and historic project of unprecedented scope, launched by Lowell in 1990 to preserve the diverse body of sacred and secular music inspired by 350 years of Jewish life in America.  The Archive has grown to encompass 700 recorded works—500 of them world-premiere recordings— more than 800 hours of oral history videos, and a database of approximately 50,000 photographs.  A new virtual museum website makes this content available to educate and inspire people of all faiths and cultures.

An international businessman and philanthropist with three decades of work in education research, policy and practice—as well as firsthand visits to thousands of U.S. classrooms—Lowell Milken has earned the reputation as a visionary education reform leader. His personal and professional philosophy is guided by the belief that in every endeavor, it is the human element that makes the defining difference.

Lowell’s focus on human potential is what drives the foundation’s groundbreaking initiatives to strengthen K-12 education. The Milken Educator Awards (MEA) recognize the importance of outstanding educators and encourage talented young people to enter teaching. The MEA initiative was created by Lowell in 1985 with the first formal awards presented in 1987.  The program has evolved as America’s preeminent teacher recognition program with a national network of more than 2,500 recipients.

Realizing that sufficient numbers of quality teachers would never result from current education practices, Lowell created the TAP System for Teacher and Student Advancement  (TAP)™ in 1999 as a comprehensive school reform to create powerful and sustained opportunities for career advancement, professional growth, teacher accountability and competitive compensation. TAP’s proven system now impacts more than 200,000 students and 20,000 teachers— and is growing exponentially.  Based on TAP's rapid growth, strong results and high demand, Lowell established the National Institute for Excellence in Teaching (NIET) in 2005 as an independent public charity to support and manage the TAP system nationally and to foster powerful teacher quality initiatives through the NIET Best Practices Center.

The Lowell Milken Center 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, people throughout America and the world learn that each of us has the responsibility and the power to take actions that “repair the world” by improving the lives of others. Founded in 2007, the LM Center has engaged more than 3,000 schools in all 50 states and many countries.

Further education efforts championed by Lowell include Lowell Milken HighTech-Los Angeles, a public charter school that engages students with a rigorous curriculum rich in technology and complemented by real-world internships. Officially dedicated in 2004, HT-LA achieved California Distinguished School status in record time. 

With the establishment of the Lowell Milken Institute for Business Law and Policy at UCLA School of Law, Lowell's work in education extends greater opportunities to UCLA law students, faculty, young law practitioners and alumni. Building on UCLA School of Law's already outstanding programs, the Lowell Milken Institute provides expanded studies on business law and policy, clinical experience and research opportunities for faculty, along with faculty fellowships, student scholarships and awards. The knowledge, skills and experience available through the Lowell Milken Institute will help ensure that UCLA Law students are prepared to assume leadership roles in the practice of law as well as strong leadership capacity in business, government and philanthropy.

Recognition for Lowell's achievements in education has included awards from organizations such as the National Association of State Boards of Education, the Horace Mann League, the National Association of Secondary School Principals, Jewish Theological Seminary, Hebrew Union College, Kappa Delti Pi International Honor Society and UCLA School of Law. Hebrew Union College presented him with an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters.

Named by Worth magazine as one of America's most generous philanthropists, Lowell is also an involved businessman who chairs London-based Heron International, a worldwide leader in property development, and co-founded Knowledge Universe, Inc., a leading company in early childhood education and educational programs and services.

Lowell Milken is a product of California's public school system, graduating Phi Beta Kappa and summa cum laude from the University of California at Berkeley, where he received the School of Business Administration's Most Outstanding Student Award. He earned his law degree from the University of California, Los Angeles, with the distinctions of Order of the Coif and UCLA Law Review. His four sons inspire and deepen his commitment to the Milken Family Foundation.