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. 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 600 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.
Lowell's focus on human potential is what drives the foundation’s groundbreaking initiatives to strengthen K-12 education. The Milken Educator Awards (MEA) were created by Lowell to recognize the importance of outstanding educators and encourage talented young people to enter teaching. First presented in 1987, the program has evolved as America’s preeminent teacher recognition program with a national network of more than 2,600 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 2.5 million students and 200,000 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.
As an international nonprofit education organization, 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 a unique project-based learning approach, LMC works with students and educators across diverse disciplines to develop history projects that highlight role models who demonstrate courage, compassion and respect. Founded in 2007, the Lowell Milken Center for Unsung Heroes has reached over one million students and 7,320 schools in all 50 states, with growing global reach.
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.
The Lowell Milken Institute for Business Law and Policy at UCLA School of Law extends greater opportunities to UCLA Law students, faculty, young law practitioners and alumni with a mission to ensure that students are prepared to not only assume leadership roles in the practice of law, but also in the areas of business, government and philanthropy. Building on UCLA School of Law's already outstanding programs, the Lowell Milken Institute provides expanded curriculum, clinical experience and scholarships for students; additional research opportunities and fellowships for faculty; respected business law conferences and a $100,000 Prize for New Entrepreneurs.
Most recently, Lowell established the Lowell Milken Fund for American Jewish Music at UCLA’s Herb Alpert School of Music to advance and advocate for the field of American Jewish music by contributing to research, scholarship and programs in the field at the undergraduate, graduate and faculty levels.
Recognition for Lowell's achievements in education has included awards from organizations such as the Education Commission of the States, 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.