The Founder

Lowell Milken

An education reform pioneer and philanthropic leader for three decades, international businessman Lowell Milken has provided his expertise, guidance and resources to a diverse range of organizations and initiatives as chairman and founder of the Lowell Milken Family Foundation.

Realizing that sufficient numbers of quality teachers would never emerge from current education practices, Lowell Milken launched TAP™: The System for Teacher and Student Advancement in 1999 as a comprehensive research-based means to attract, develop, motivate and retain highly effective teachers for America's schools. Creating powerful and sustained opportunities for career advancement, professional growth, instructionally focused accountability and performance-based compensation, TAP's proven system impacts more than 200,000 teachers and 2.5 million students, and is growing each year. The Lowell Milken Family Foundation currently funds the Lowell Milken TAP Founder's Award, which is presented annually at the National TAP Conference to a TAP school that has fully implemented all of the elements of TAP with great distinction, a school that is achieving student and teacher advancement, and a campus that serves as a role model for TAP best practices and leadership in the region, state and the nation. The award carries a financial prize of $50,000.

Spurred by TAP's rapid growth, proven results and increasing demand, Lowell Milken established the National Institute for Excellence in Teaching (NIET) in 2005 as an independent public charity to support and manage TAP nationwide. NIET actively partners with states, districts and schools to ensure TAP's effectiveness and sustainability in a wide range of urban, rural and suburban schools across America. NIET brings innovative services, support and solutions to schools, districts and states to improve educator effectiveness. Based on over a decade of experience in teacher quality initiatives in schools across the country, NIET works with states, districts and schools to design powerful teacher evaluation systems, deliver job embedded professional development, implement performance based compensation systems based on multiple measures and train teacher leaders in schools.

In 2011, the Lowell Milken Institute for Business Law and Policy at UCLA School of Law, was established to extend 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, additional 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 students are prepared to not only assume leadership roles in the practice of law, but also in the areas of business, government, and philanthropy.

The Lowell Milken Center for Unsung Heroes (LMC) was founded in 2007 in partnership with award-winning history teacher and Milken Educator Norman Conard (KS '92). Committed to teaching respect and understanding towards people of all races, religions and creeds, LMC has impacted thousands of schools in all 50 states by facilitating educational projects researching unsung heroes. Through project-based learning, LMC assists students and teachers who develop plays, exhibits, essays and websites that discover and share the inspirational stories of historical figures who have made a profound impact on the world through their life and work. As of 2019, LMC has engaged more than one million students.

Officially dedicated in 2004, High Tech Los Angeles (HTLA) is a partnership among the Los Angeles Unified School District, corporations and foundations. This innovative public charter school engages students with a rigorous curriculum rich in technology complemented by real-world internships. HTLA's diverse student population, which draws from more than 30 different ZIP codes — with nearly half of its students receiving free and reduced lunch — was awarded California Distinguished School status in record time. The Lowell Milken Family Foundation provided HTLA's lead grant and it continues to be actively involved with the school.

In 1990, Lowell Milken created the Milken Archive of Jewish Music to explore the offerings of sacred and secular works that reflect 350 years of Jewish life in America. The Milken Archive encompasses 700 newly recorded works — 500 of them world-premiere recordings — and over 800 hours of oral history videos. Naxos American Classics has released 50 CDs available in over 50 countries. The Milken Archive Virtual Museum website where visitors have access to rare photos, videos and oral histories from Milken Archive artists. As an academic partner to the Archive, the Herb Alpert School of Music at UCLA established the Lowell Milken Fund for American Jewish Music. The fund amplifies the prestigious music school's efforts 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, while presenting concerts and symposia to engage and educate the community.

In addition to his work with the Lowell Milken Family Foundation, Lowell Milken is the co-founder and chairman of the Milken Family Foundation, one of the nation's most innovative private foundations, which develops groundbreaking programs in K-12 education. One of several signature endeavors, the Milken Educator Awards were first presented by Lowell Milken in 1987 to recognize the importance of exceptional educators and to inspire talented young people to choose teaching as a career. With a network of over 2,500 recipients across the United States, the Milken Educator Awards is considered preeminent teacher-recognition program in the U.S.

Recognition of Lowell Milken's accomplishments includes awards from such organizations 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 and UCLA School of Law.

Lowell Milken is also an involved businessman who chairs London-based Heron International, a worldwide leader in property development, and Knowledge Universe, Inc., the largest early childhood education company in the world. Worth magazine named Lowell Milken one of America's most generous philanthropists.

After attending public elementary, secondary and high school in California, Lowell Milken graduated Phi Beta Kappa and summa cum laude from the University of California at Berkeley, where he was given the School of Business Administration's Most Outstanding Student Award. He earned his law degree from the University of California, Los Angeles, graduating in the top 10% of his class and serving on the UCLA Law Review.

The Lowell Milken Family Foundation will continue to serve its founder's mission to foster improved opportunities for people of all ages to reach their full potential.



"In every endeavor, people make the difference, and just one person has the power to make a profound difference in the lives of so many people.”

Founder, Lowell Milken