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The Milken Family Foundation


Last Updated: 2016-02-09

At A Glance

The Milken Family Foundation

1250 4th St.

Santa Monica, CA United States 90401-1353


Type of Grantmaker

Independent foundation

Additional Descriptor

  • Celebrity: Business
  • Family foundation

Financial Data

(yr. ended 2013-11-30)

Assets: $448,596,028

Total giving: $14,903,130






Established in 1982 in CA - Founded by Lowell and Michael Milken. Michael Milken was a legendary Wall St. financier who pioneered the use of the "high-yield" bond in the 1980s. Lowell Milken is Chair. of Heron International, a London-based property development company, and Knowledge Universe, Inc., a company that is involved in early childhood education and educational programs and services. Michael Milken and his wife Lori have committed to The Giving Pledge, and have pledged to give away at least half of their wealth to philanthropy.

Purpose and Activities

The purpose of the foundation is to discover and advance inventive and effective ways of helping people help themselves and those around them lead productive and satisfying lives. The foundation advances this mission primarily through its work in education and medical research. In education, the foundation is committed to strengthening the profession by recognizing and rewarding outstanding educators, and by expanding their professional leadership and policy influence; attracting, retaining and motivating the best talent to the teaching profession; stimulating creativity and productivity among educators and students of all ages; fostering the involvement of both family and the community in schools; and helping build vibrant communities, especially by involving young people who have special needs or who live in neighborhoods considered disadvantaged, in school-based programs that contribute to the revitalization of their community and to the well-being of its residents. In medical research, the foundation is committed to advancing and supporting basic and applied medical research, especially in the areas of prostate cancer and epilepsy, and recognizing and rewarding outstanding scientists in these areas; and supporting basic health care programs to assure the well-being of community members of all ages.

Program Area(s)

The grantmaker has identified the following area(s) of interest:

Grants to Individuals Program

Awards to educators, and scholarships and educational opportunities to high school seniors.

Jewish Educator Awards

The foundation, in cooperation with the Bureau of Jewish Education of Greater Los Angeles (BJE), established the program in 1990. The program annually offers four awards of $15,000 each to educators based upon their demonstrated excellence as teachers, administrators or other education professionals who work directly with students and other teachers in day schools affiliated with BJE. The award recipients are selected by a committee of educators, professional and lay leaders from the Jewish community who have a long-standing concern for and involvement with education in Jewish schools. To be eligible for consideration, educators must teach a minimum of 15 hours per week at the K–12 level and they must have been teaching for a minimum of seven years in a BJE-affiliated school. Applications are not accepted by the Milken Family Foundation.

Mikes Math Club

The club is a curriculum enrichment program that shows elementary school students that math can be useful and entertaining. The Math Club Team consists of full-time teacher-mentors who pay regular class-time visits to hundreds of children in public schools in California and correspond via mail with students in several states and countries.

Milken Archive of American Jewish Music

The archive was founded in 1990 to document, preserve, and disseminate the vast body of music that pertains to the American Jewish experience. Over two decades, the Milken Archive has become the largest collection of American Jewish music ever assembled more than 700 recorded works, including over 500 world premiere recordings. The collection consists of 800 hours of oral histories, 50,000 photographs and historical documents, and thousands of hours of video footage from recording sessions, interviews, and live performances, plus an extensive collection of program notes and essays.

Milken Family Foundation National Educator Award Program

Established in 1987, the goals of the program are: 1) to honor and reward outstanding K-12 educators for the quality of their teaching, their professional leadership, their engagement with families and the community, and their potential for even greater contribution to the healthy development of children; 2) to focus public attention on the importance of excellent educators; 3) to encourage able, caring and creative people to choose the challenge, service and adventure of teaching as a career; 4) to create national and state networks of Milken Educators; and 5) to engage corporate and foundation partners in support of Milken Educators and in advocacy of policies that advance education. There is no formal nomination or application process. Every participating states department of education appoints an independent blue ribbon committee to recommend candidates according to strict criteria, with final selections made by the Milken Family Foundation. .

Milken Scholars

The program offers Milken Scholars four years of financial assistance and access to a range of resources. These include career-related counseling and internships, community service activities, shadowing partnerships and a graduate fund to assist Scholars with preparatory courses for either graduate school or the world of work. Scholars are chosen in the spring semester of their senior year of high school through a nomination, review, and interview process that recruits candidates from high schools in Los Angeles, and New York City. Criteria for selection include distinguished academic performance, school and community service, demonstrated leadership, and financial need. Students interested in becoming a Milken Scholar should speak with their college advisor about the nomination process at their school.

Fields of Interest

  • Diseases and conditions
  • Health
  • Human services
  • Judaism
  • Nonprofits
Population Groups
  • Academics
  • Children and youth
  • Low-income and poor people
  • Students
  • Judaic institutions
  • Public charities

Financial Data

Year ended 2013-11-30

Assets: $448,596,028 (market value)

Gifts received: $39,350,500

Expenditures: $19,844,155

Total giving: $14,903,130

Qualifying distributions: $17,242,190

Giving activities include:

$13,170,950 for 216 grants (high: $2,500,000; low: $280)

$1,732,180 for 4 foundation-administered programs