Lowell Milken is an international businessman and philanthropist. He has earned a reputation as a visionary leader in education for the creation of major philanthropic initiatives in education, music and design. In 2000, Worth Magazine named Lowell Milken one of America’s most generous philanthropists. He has served as chairman of two global corporations and created major philanthropic foundations, such as the National Institute for Excellence in Teaching and the Milken Family Foundation. The Milken Educator Awards, which he founded in 1985 to publicly honor K-12 talented educators, is considered the nation's preeminent teacher recognition program. In 2016, the Los Angeles Business Journal ranked Milken’s net worth in excess of $1.5 billion.
1. EARLY LIFE AND EDUCATION
Milken was born in Los Angeles, CA, and raised in the suburb of Encino in the San Fernando Valley. The son of Bernard Milken, a Certified Public Accountant and business advisor, and his wife Ferne, a full-time mother, lived modestly in a middle class neighborhood with their three children.
Milken showed great potential as a child. Raymond Sandler (a prominent lawyer and philanthropist), and his wife sponsored a summer camp at their home for 15 boys, which Milken attended and where he met Raymond's son Richard, who became Lowell's lifelong friend. “Lowell was already very ambitious as a boy; he always wanted to be the best…,” Sandler recalls. “I could have predicted that he would be a success, but I didn’t imagine that he would be THAT successful.”
Milken attended schools in the Los Angeles Unified Public School System: Hesby Elementary School in Encino; Portola Junior High School in Tarzana and Birmingham High School in Van Nuys. At Birmingham, Lowell graduated with highest honors and was awarded the Bank of America award for achievement in the liberal arts. Milken was active in student government serving as Speaker of the House of Representatives and Head Yell leader.
Milken attended the University of California: Berkeley, majoring in accounting and finance with a minor in economics and graduating summa cum laude. Milken also earned numerous other academic distinctions including the undergraduate Business School’s Most Outstanding Student, Phi Beta Kappa, and Beta Gamma Sigma.
Lowell returned to Los Angeles in 1970 to attend the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) School of Law. There Milken served on the UCLA Law Review and graduated with the academic distinction of Order of the Coif.
2. CAREER IN PHILANTHROPY
Non-profit leaders who have worked with Milken cite a characteristic that is often not found among philanthropists. “Milken doesn’t just write a check, but is a hands-on activist, who gets, and stays deeply involved in the projects he supports. Equally notable, they say, is his keen judgment of people’s human potentials, whether they are employees or beneficiaries."
In a ceremony awarding Lowell an honorary doctorate in 2015 from the Argyros school of Business and Economics and Chapman University, Dean Reginald Gilyard expressed that he was "honored to recognize Lowell Milken’s extraordinary contributions as a philanthropist, innovator and visionary. His leadership and dedication to the community embodies the values we strive to instill in all of our students, to live inquiring, ethical and productive lives as global citizens."
2.1 Milken Family Foundation (MFF)
Lowell co-founded the Milken Family Foundation in 1982, created its mission and has served as its Chairman and President ever since. MFF strives to discover and advance inventive, effective ways of helping people help themselves and those around them lead productive and satisfying lives. MFF has pursued this mission through its work in education, medical research and public health, including one of MFF’s signature initiatives The Milken Educator Awards (MEA). MFF has dispensed over $500 million, with an equal amount given through other Milken family foundations and personal initiatives.
2.2 The Lowell Milken Family Foundation (LMFF)
Founded in 1986 and formerly the L & S Milken Foundation, the Lowell Milken Family Foundation (LMFF) creates and supports initiatives that cultivate human capital—that is, the knowledge, skills and experience essential to lead productive and satisfying lives. The LMFF pursues this mission through education programs that are both groundbreaking and comprehensive. By fostering and inspiring excellence, creativity and responsibility within the formal education environment and beyond, LMFF seeks to equip people to pursue and attain lives that have value to themselves as well as to others.
2.3 Milken Educator Awards (MEA)
The Milken Educator Awards (MEA) was conceived by Lowell Milken in 1985 to celebrate, activate and elevate excellence in education and today is the nation’s preeminent teacher recognition program. Recipients are heralded early to mid-career for what they have achieved in advancing students and teachers—and for the promise of what they will accomplish in the future. Louisiana State Superintendent of Education John White said that the Milken Educator Awards are "a chance to celebrate the profession of teaching, a chance to recommit to the effort of ensuring our teachers have what they need to do their job well . . . and inspire their students through meaningful and effective learning experiences."
Honorees join the national Milken Educator Network, a group whose expertise is a valuable resource to those shaping the future of education. The Awards program has no application process. Known as the “Oscars of teaching” the MEA initiative has surprised more than 2,700 educators with individual financial awards of $25,000 since 1987. The Milken Family Foundation has awarded more than $68 million dollars in total to award recipients and expended $138 million in support of the Milken Educator Awards program.
2.4 The Lowell Milken Center for Unsung Heroes (LMC)
The Lowell Milken Center for Unsung Heroes (LMC) works with K-12 students and educators to discover and share the stories of ordinary people who have had a profound and positive impact on the course of history. LMC was established by Lowell Milken in 2007 in partnership with award-winning educator Norman Conard. By championing the stories of individuals who changed the course of history by heroic actions to improve the lives of others, students, educators and communities discover their own power and responsibility to effect positive change in the world. By means of project-based learning, LMC supports students in their discovery, development, and communication of the stories of unsung heroes. Projects include student performances, websites, and documentaries. LMC’s Hall of Unsung Heroes, located in Fort Scott, Kansas, houses a multi-media exhibition space that brings to life some of the most powerful Unsung Hero projects.
Today, the Center has reached more than 1 million students with its projects in the U.S. and in Europe. The Center presents the Discovery Awards that provides students a unique opportunity to research primary sources and develop outstanding projects that feature Unsung Heroes who can serve as role models and inspire others to create change. The Center also created the ArtEffect Project which gives students grades 6-12 the opportunity to generate unique, creative interpretations both literal and abstract that honor the legacies of unsung heroes in history through an array of artistic mediums. The project aims to teach students the power they have to create positive change in the world through visual storytelling.
2.5 The National Institute for Excellence in Teaching (NIET)
In 2005, Lowell founded The National Institute for Excellence in Teaching, an independent public charity to support and manage the TAP System for Teacher and Student Advancement, and has since served as NIET’s Chairman. NIET is committed to ensuring a highly skilled, strongly motivated and competitively compensated teacher for every classroom in America. Partnering with states, universities, districts and schools nationwide, NIET works to attract, develop, support and retain high-quality human capital in order to raise achievement levels for all students. NIET pursues this mission through two primary initiatives: TAP™: The System for Teacher and Student Advancement and the Educator Effectiveness Best Practices Center (BPC). The BPC provides innovative solutions to schools, districts and states to improve educator effectiveness, offering a network of expert trainers and access to a range of web-based resources and education tools.
2.6 The TAP System for Teacher and Student Advancement (TAP)
Lowell established The TAP System for Teacher and Student Advancement (TAP), an integrated system of teacher evaluations, mentoring, and teacher leadership roles, in 1999 as a comprehensive educator effectiveness model to provide educators with powerful opportunities for career advancement, ongoing professional growth and competitive compensation. Former U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan credited TAP as a groundbreaking initiative, and President Barack Obama, cited the South Carolina TAP network in a major education speech as a coordinated approach to improving teaching. "High-quality teachers are critical to accelerating student achievement . . .TAP provides teachers and principals with the resources to grow individually and collectively as a school, ultimately benefiting our students."
Today, TAP is active in hundreds of public schools in 12 states. The TAP Founder's Award is given annually to one school for exceptional efforts to implement and represent the principles of the TAP System—resulting in significant and sustained increases in student achievement, among other goals.
"Our educators have pioneered groundbreaking new ways of supporting improvement in classroom instruction by implementing NIET's TAP System for Teacher and Student Advancement," Cross County Superintendent Carolyn Wilson said in reaction to a $4 million grant in 2016 through the federal Teacher Incentive Fund to expand and TAP programs in the district.
2.7 The Hoffmitz Milken Center for Typography (HMCT)
The Hoffmitz Milken Center for Typography (HMCT) at ArtCenter College of Design honors the memory and contribution to the field of visual communication by letterform designer and educator Leah Hoffmitz Milken. “Leah left us not only with a deep and abiding past but with a promise for a future of continued discovery, creativity, and research excellence—the newly established Hoffmitz Milken Center for Typography. Leah, and who she was as a teacher and as a professional, made a world come to light,” said Lorne Buchman, President of ArtCenter. Strategically aligned with the leadership and values of ArtCenter, HMCT aims to set the global standard in the field of visual communication and, in particular, to advance the art of typography.
HMCT provides curricular opportunities for students, supports faculty research, and helps form alliances with educational and professional organizations worldwide. HMCT offers fellowships, residencies and symposia that reflect the centrality of design and typographic education to the development of technologies, media and social constructs. The Center also houses a unique a typographic archive.
The mission of the HMCT is to set the global standard of excellence in typography and design education; provide a valuable service to the educational and professional communities as well as the public, reinforce the meaning and value of typography; elevate and advance the teaching and understanding of both letterform design and typographic practice; and honor the past while also anticipate the future of typography in print, digital, and emerging media.
2.8 The Lowell Milken Institute for Business Law and Policy (LMI)
The Lowell Milken Institute for Business Law and Policy (LMI) expands the boundaries of traditional business law education by equipping students to contribute to and succeed in the dynamic global economy and to become leaders in business and in law. Building on UCLA School of Law’s scholarly and pedagogic foundation, LMI offers students innovative curricular and co-curricular opportunities, practical skills development and experiential learning. LMI also engages and connects law students, lawyers, investors, corporate managers, regulators, policy makers and academics at conferences and colloquia where essential and current issues in business law are debated and advanced.
In 2011, UCLA School of Law received a transformative $10 million gift—the largest single gift in the school’s history—from Lowell Milken, UCLA School of Law’s 2009 Public Service Alumnus of the Year to establish the Lowell Milken Institute for Business Law and Policy (LMI). LMI prepares students for outstanding careers and leadership in business, the non-profit sector and philanthropy.LMI also fosters research and strategy for practitioners, scholars and experts across a variety of disciplines. LMI focuses on the intersection of law and business with widely recognized business law faculty, a unique blend of policy and practice courses designed to prepare students for careers and leadership in business, non-profit, philanthropy and law.
At the time of the grant by Lowell Milken, former UCLA School of Law Dean Rachel Moran commented: “The Lowell Milken Institute for Business Law and Policy is a landmark investment in our law school and our community. Lowell Milken’s love of humankind, his philanthropy, has been shining bright for decades, and we look forward to the many ways in which his generosity will bring similar luster and lasting influence to our law school.”
The Lowell Milken Institute for Business Law and Policy established the Sandler Prize for New Entrepreneurs in 2015 as a business plan competition designed to recognize student innovation and leadership and support the real-world launch of promising new business ventures. Teams of UCLA students have the opportunity to win a total of $100,000 in prizes by developing a robust business strategy into a unique entrepreneurial venture.
2.9 The Milken Archive of Jewish Music
The award-winning Milken Archive of Jewish Music reveals the universality of the Jewish experience through music to people of all faiths and backgrounds. Lowell Milken founded the Milken Archive of American Jewish Music in 1990 to record, preserve, and distribute these works. The Milken Archive comprises the largest collection of American Jewish music ever recorded. The Milken Archive’s “virtual museum” is an interactive guide to music, videos, oral histories, photos and essays chronicling over 350 years of Jewish music and culture in the land of freedom.
The Milken Archive is considered the “the guardian angel of American Jewish music” according to Gad Nashon of the Jewish Post. “Lowell Milken has dedicated himself to the preservation and promotion of the best of the Jewish music in America."
The Milken Archive is a collection of roughly 600 recorded musical works, 800 hours of oral histories, 50,000 photographs and historical documents, an extensive collection of program notes and essays, and thousands of hours of video footage documenting recording sessions, interviews, and live performances.
Lowell “created the Milken Archive of American Jewish Music to explore the vast panorama of sacred and secular works reflecting 350 years of Jewish life in America. His combination of business acumen and personal commitment has made him a singular voice in the nation’s largest teacher recognition program,” said Rabbi David Ellenson, Ph.D., President of the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion.
Lowell was honored on the 65th eve of Kristallnacht, a period marked by the destruction of Jewish culture. Jewish Theological Seminar Chancellor Rabbi Ismar Schorsch honored Lowell Milken onstage at Lincoln Center for his historic efforts to preserve Jewish Heritage and culture through his work at the Milken Archive.
Internationally-acclaimed vocal and instrumental soloists, conductors, orchestras, choruses, and chamber ensembles have lent their talents to the project and recorded at some of the most prestigious venues across the United States and in Europe.
2.10 Other Initiatives
High Tech Los Angeles (HT-LA)
Named California’s “#1 charter high school in 2013,” Lowell Milken provided the lead gift and his active support in the founding of High Tech Los Angeles (HTLA) is an innovative public charter school that engages students with a rigorous curriculum rich in technology and complemented by real world internships. HT-LA's diverse student population achieved California Distinguished School status in record time. The school’s initial lead grant was from the Lowell Milken Family Foundation.
The Jewish Educator Awards
Created by Lowell Milken in 1990, The Jewish Educator Awards bestow public recognition and a significant financial prize on K-12 teachers, administrators and other education professionals who are making outstanding contributions to the Jewish and secular education of students in BJE (Builders of Jewish Education)-affiliated day schools across Greater Los Angeles. These awards call upon others in the profession to emulate the high standards of those honored for their intelligence, scholarship, creativity and compassion. Lowell’s commitment to advancing Jewish educational excellence and opportunity manifests in his varied support of the arts, students, teachers and cultural institutions. “The visionary leadership that [Lowell] and the Milken Family Foundation have provided over the decades has made a profound difference in the lives of thousands of children and families—and the impact of that leadership extends to our entire community,” said Dr. Gil Graff, executive director of the Bureau of Jewish Education.
Milken Community Schools
Lowell Milken was one of the founders of Milken Community Schools (MCS) and serves on its Board of Directors. More than 750 students benefit from a college preparatory education designed to develop students intellectually, spiritually, artistically and physically at Milken Community Schools, a Jewish day school nationally respected for its rigorous curriculum that challenges students to achieve their individual best. Four unique MCS programs include the Guerin Family Institute for Advanced Sciences, which engages students through research and discovery; the Architecture + Design Institute, which offers college-level training; the Beit Midrash Fellowship, which focuses on Jewish values and texts; and the Tiferet Israel Fellowship, which forges a lifelong bond with Israel. On September 18, 2016, UCLA Chancellor Gene Block gave the keynote address at the dedication of the Guerin Family Institute for Advanced Sciences at MCS and said of Lowell that his “leadership and vision for the future of education is inspiring to all of us who are committed to providing every student with a chance to succeed."
3. CAREER IN BUSINESS
Investment Activities (1966-present)
Lowell began investing in the stock and bond markets at age 16 when he established his first investment partnership. Over the ensuing 40 years, Lowell has established and led hundreds of investments in a wide range of business enterprises, including residential, commercial and industrial real estate development and investment and high-yield securities.
Legal Practice (1973-1978)
After graduating from UCLA School of Law, Lowell joined the law firm of Irell & Manella in the fall of 1973 as an associate and specialized in business and tax law in the Los Angeles-based office. As reported by the Los Angeles Times, "Lowell's primary area of practice was tax law, and I remember him as being exceptionally smart," said Edmund M. Kaufman, a senior partner at Irell & Manella. “He was very imaginative and creative, and he was extremely smart and a very hard worker." At its upper levels, where Milken appeared to be headed, tax law is intellectually challenging in addition to requiring enormous attention to detail.” Lowell left the law practice in 1978 to join Drexel Burnham Lambert as Senior Vice President of the High Yield Bond Department.
Drexel Burnham Lambert (1978-1989)
Lowell worked in the High Yield Bond Department (HYBD) at Drexel Burnham Lambert from November 1978 until March 1989. His specific activities on behalf of the firm included: research in the area of distressed and bankrupt companies and REITS; evaluating, structuring and managing firm and employee-related investments; administrative supervision of high yield convertible bond operations not involving trading or sales; and tax planning. Lowell used his academic background in business law to provide financial analysis of companies.
From the period 1978 to 1988, Lowell helped establish and structure more than two hundred investment vehicles for Drexel and members of the HYBD and Corporate Finance Department.
In November 1986, the government commenced an intensive and lengthy investigation into possible securities law violations, with respect to the firm of Drexel Burnham Lambert and Michael Milken. After almost four years of intense investigation, unrelenting press leaks and other unconventional pressure tactics, Lowell’s brother agreed to resolve all matters by pleading to certain crimes. The activities that Michael Milken pled to had never before and have never since been prosecuted as crimes. Lowell had no involvement in any of the activities that were the subject of the plea. Lawyers who were intimately involved in the defense of Michael Milken and the lawyers who represented Lowell Milken attested to the fact that, from the beginning of the investigation, it was clear that Lowell was additionally targeted solely due to his last name. This was further proven when, in a highly unusual move, all charges against Lowell were dismissed voluntarily by the government.
When Michael Milken decided to settle all his matters with the government, the SEC insisted that Lowell Milken also settle claims made by the SEC. Lowell was prepared to continue to contest all charges and refused to admit any wrongdoing. At the same time, Lowell did not want to stand in the way of his brother. Therefore, when the SEC offered a settlement whereby Lowell could enter into a Consent Decree in which he did not admit any wrongdoing whatsoever and did not have to pay any fines, he agreed to the settlement terms without any finding of wrongdoing. 
The Wall Street Journal, asserted in an editorial in 1989 that the “prosecutions of Drexel Burnham Lambert, Michael Milken and Princeton/Newport violated notions of fundamental fairness . . . After all the prosecutorial hoopla no one has established what, if anything, Drexel did wrong.”
Heron International (1995-Present)
Lowell Milken is Chairman of the Board of Directors and a major shareholder of Heron International Limited (Heron). Heron is a leading property investment and development company in Western Europe and the U.K. Since its inception, Heron has owned more than 160 buildings in nine cities. Heron has developed more than110,000,000 square feet of commercial and retail property, and 15,000 residential units in the UK, Continental Europe and the U.S.
In 2011, Heron completed construction of the Salesforce Tower, a 46-story office and restaurant building in the City of London. In 2013, Heron completed the development of a residential property containing 285 luxury apartments called The Heron, which also houses new facilities for the Guildhall School of Music and Drama on its lower floors.
Heron is also developing a major residential property in Yate, England, of more than 2400 homes as well as commercial, schools and other amenities.
Knowledge Universe (1996-Present)
After years in the planning stages, in 1996 Lowell co-founded Knowledge Universe. In 2003, he and his brother became the sole owners of its successor Knowledge Universe Education (KUE). By 2005, KUE had become the largest early childhood education company in the U.S., operating under KinderCare Learning Centers, Knowledge Beginnings, CCLC, Champions and Cambridge Schools. Internationally, by 2010 KUE became the leading early childhood education company in the United Kingdom through its ownership of Busy Bees and the largest early childhood education company in Singapore and Malaysia. KUE also owned Canadian International School (CIS), a leading international baccalaureate school with a student body of over 3,000 from 70 countries.
KUE sold all of its international operations by 2015. In August 2015, KUE also sold its U.S. early childhood education business to a Swiss private Equity firm.
National Realty Trust, Inc. (2015-present)
Lowell is the Chairman and a major shareholder of National Realty Trust, Inc.(NRT), formerly known as Knowledge Universe Education, Inc. NRT is presently the largest property owner of early childhood centers in the U.S., and holds ownership in a number of office buildings in the U.S.
4 – HONORS
4.1 Academic Honors
A - Phi Beta Kappa
Lowell graduated from UC Berkeley in June 1970 with the academic distinction of Phi Beta Kappa, the longest standing honor society in the U.S.
B - Summa Cum Laude
Lowell graduated from UC Berkeley in June 1970, having achieved a grade-point average meriting the highest academic level, that of summa cum laude.
C - Beta Gamma Sigma
In recognition of outstanding achievement in the study of business Lowell graduated from UC Berkeley in June 1970 honored by Beta Gamma Sigma.
D- Most Distinguished Business School Graduate
Lowell was awarded by UC Berkeley upon graduation in June 1970, with the undergraduate Business School's Most Outstanding Student award.
E - Order of the Coif
Lowell graduated from UCLA School of Law in June 1973, with the academic distinction of Order of the Coif.
4.2 Professional Honors
A - National Association of State Boards of Education
In 1997, Lowell was recognized with the Friends of Education Award by the National Association of State Boards of Education.
B - Horace Mann League
In 1999, Lowell and the Milken Family Foundation was honored by the Horace Mann League with the "Outstanding Friends of Education" award.
C - National Association of Secondary School Principals
In 2000, Lowell was honored with the Distinguished Service Award by the National Association of Secondary School Principals.
D - Jewish Theological Seminary of America
In 2003, Lowell was honored by the Jewish Theological Seminary of America for his contributions to the preservation of Jewish culture with the creation of the Milken Archive.
E - UCLA School of Law
In 2009, Lowell was honored as UCLA Public Service School of Law Alumnus of the Year for his extraordinary accomplishments in public and community service, particularly in the area of education and school reform.
F - Hebrew Union College
In 2009, Hebrew Union College presented Lowell with a Doctor of Humane Letters, honoris causa.
G - Chapman University Argyros School of Business and Economics
In 2015, Lowell was awarded an honorary doctorate of Humane Letters from the Argyros School of Business and Economics at Chapman University. Dean Reginald Gilyard expressed that Chapman University was "honored to recognize Lowell Milken’s extraordinary contributions as a philanthropist, innovator and visionary."
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 "National Award Recognizes Pair of Exceptional Hawaii Teachers" Hawaii News Now: http://www.hawaiinewsnow.com/story/34415674/prestigious-national-award-and-25-thousand-dollars-to-two-oahu-public-school-teachers
 “New Kansas Museum Highlights History’s Unsung Heroes,” Eric Althoff, The Washington Times, http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2016/may/18/lowell-milken-center-unsung-heroes-open-may-24-kan/
 “Northlake Christian student finishes second in international art contest,” Times Picayune Website, Justin Boudoin:
 “Phoenix teacher recognized at White House teacher appreciation ceremony,” KTAR.com: http://ktar.com/story/1055646/phoenix-teacher-recognized-at-white-house-teacher-appreciation-ceremony/
 The Lowell Milken Family Foundation website: http://www.lowellmilken.org/initiatives/best-practices-center
 “Seasoned teachers mentor colleagues through ‘TAP’ evaluation program”, Shaina Cavazos, Chalkbeat Website: http://www.chalkbeat.org/posts/in/2016/04/07/seasoned-teachers-mentor-colleagues-through-tap-evaluation-program/
 “TAP: More Than Performance Pay, ”Steven Sawchuck, Education Week, April, 2009
 “Greer Middle College in running for $50,000 prize, ” Michele Burns, GreenvilleOnline.com (USA Today Affiliate): http://www.greenvilleonline.com/story/news/2016/03/07/greer-middle-college-running-50000-prize/81442574/
 “School District Receives $4 Million Grant,” Region 8 News Website (ABC Affiliate): http://www.kait8.com/story/33395929/school-district-receives-4-million-grant
 “Remarks on Leah’s Legacy” by Lorne Buchman, Remembrances of Leah Hoffmitz Milken, page 9
 “Why Typography Still Matters in the Digital Age,” Larry Wilson, Los Angeles Daily News Website: http://www.dailynews.com/opinion/20150306/why-typography-still-matters-in-a-digital-age-larry-wilson
 UCLA School of Law website: http://newsroom.ucla.edu/releases/joel-a-feuer-named-executive-director-247867
 “UCLA Law School Competition Encourages Student Entrepreneurship,” Evolet Chiu and Emi Nakahara, The Daily Bruin, http://dailybruin.com/2016/10/18/ucla-law-school-encourages-student-entrepreneurship-in-competition/
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 High Tech Los Angeles Website: http://www.ht-la.org/news/htla-named-1-charter-high-school-california
 Milken Family Foundation Website: http://www.mff.org/initiatives/affiliated-organizations/high-tech-la/
 Milken Family Foundation Website: http://www.mff.org/initiatives/signature-initiatives/jewish-educator-awards/
 Milken Community High School Website: http://www.milkenschool.org/page/about-us/board-of-trustees
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 Jewish Educator Awards Website: http://www.jewisheducatorawards.org/jea.taf?page=lowell-milken
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 Milken Family Foundation Website: http://www.mff.org/newsroom/press-releases/view/lowell-milken-awarded-honorary-doctorate-by-chapman-university
June 11, 2017
Philanthropy News Digest