International businessman and education reform pioneer Lowell Milken has dedicated time, energy and resources to a wide range of innovative programs and organizations. An active and ardent supporter of the Jewish community in the U.S. and Israel, Lowell established the Jewish Educator Awards in 1990 to honor the most exceptional teachers, principals and specialists in BJE-affiliated day schools across Greater Los Angeles. Nearly 200 JEA recipients have been honored at a unique annual luncheon that draws representation from the most Orthodox to the most secular Jews, all united in appreciation for the role of educators in the Jewish future.
In 1982, Lowell co-founded the Milken Family Foundation (MFF), which he leads as chairman with a mission to lead advances in education. Among MFF's signature initiatives is the nation's preeminent teacher recognition program, the Milken Educator Awards, which was the model for JEA.
With the goal of an effective teacher for every classroom in America, Lowell Milken developed TAP: The System for Teacher and Student Advancement in 1999, designed to create a 21st-century teaching profession with powerful, sustained opportunities for career advancement, professional growth, teacher accountability and competitive compensation. Exponential demand for TAP compelled Lowell to launch the National Institute for Excellence in Teaching (NIET) in 2005 to operate TAP and partner with states, districts and schools to implement related educator effectiveness best practices. NIET's proven reforms impact more than 250,000 teachers and 2.5 million students nationwide.
The Lowell Milken Center for Unsung Heroes 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 engage in tikkun olam, actions that "repair the world" by improving the lives of others. Founded in 2007, the Lowell Milken Center has reached over one million students in all 50 states, with growing global reach. The new Hall of Unsung Heroes opened in 2016 at the Lowell Milken Center's Fort Scott, Kansas, headquarters, as a state-of-the-art museum and hub of research and discovery.
In 1990, Lowell created the Milken Archive of Jewish Music: The American Experience to explore the vast panorama of sacred and secular works reflecting 360 years of Jewish life in America. This historic, award-winning recording project has grown to encompass 700 newly recorded works—500 of them world-premiere recordings—and more than 800 hours of oral history videos. The Milken Archive's "virtual museum" website makes this content accessible to people of all faiths and cultures. A recent partnership with the UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music produced the Lowell Milken Fund for American Jewish Music.
The Lowell Milken Institute for Business Law and Policy (LMI) at UCLA School of Law prepares students to assume leadership roles not only in the practice of law, but also in business, government and philanthropy. Building on UCLA School of Law's already outstanding programs, LMI provides expanded studies in business law and policy, clinical experience and additional research opportunities for faculty, along with faculty fellowships, student scholarships, awards and business law conferences. The Lowell Milken Institute-Sandler Prize for New Entrepreneurs is a business plan competition offering a $100,000 prize, the largest offered to students in any discipline at UCLA.
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 and a legendary professor for two decades. At a time of rapidly changing visual communication methods and devices, HMCT is setting the global standard of excellence in typography and design education
Lowell Milken’s historic efforts to strengthen education were recognized by the Education Commission of the States with the 2017 James Bryant Conant Award for significant individual contributions to American education. Additional awards have been presented by organizations including 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 in the field of education, and UCLA School of Law. Chapman University and Hebrew Union College have each presented Lowell with an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters. A summa cum laude graduate of UC Berkeley, Lowell received the undergraduate Business School's Most Outstanding Student Award. At UCLA School of Law, he earned distinctions of the Order of the Coif and Law Review.