Michael Milken

Chair, The Milken Institute

Named one of the '75 Most Influential People of the 21st Century' by Esquire magazine, Michael Milken* is well into his fifth decade of driving social change with a consistent focus on disrupting - and improving - the status quo. Lifestyles magazine says he has played an "outsized role in American society." He is recognized as an innovator in access to capital, medical research, education and public health.

His philanthropy, which began in the 1970s and paralleled his business career, expanded in 1982 with the establishment of the Milken Family Foundation. The Foundation’s coveted Milken Educator Awards, known as the “Oscars of Teaching,” is the largest such program in the U.S. and since 1985 has honored more than 2,700 K-12 teachers and principals across America.  Each educator receives $25,000 and participates in annual professional forums.

Milken is chairman of the Milken Institute, an economic think tank whose annual Global Conference brings nearly 4,000 leaders from 50 nations to Los Angeles each spring. Other annual conferences are held in New York, London, Washington and Singapore. The Milken Institute School of Public Health at George Washington University was renamed in recognition of a gift from the Institute.

Milken is also chairman of FasterCures, a Washington-based think tank dedicated to removing barriers to progress in medical research. He had earlier founded the Prostate Cancer Foundation, and in 2007 he joined with leading physicians in launching the Melanoma Research Alliance to accelerate research progress against fatal skin cancers. Since the end of 2016, the Melanoma Research Alliance has awarded more than $79 million to medical investigators in 15 countries. These research programs are accelerating new therapeutic approaches for melanoma, improving existing treatments, developing new biomarkers and advancing understanding of melanoma risk factors. This MRA-funded research has played a key role in the development of 11 drugs and treatments approved by the FDA.

In recognition of his decades of work to save lives, a Fortune magazine cover story called him “The Man Who Changed Medicine.” His testimony in support of the 21st Century Cures Act help lead to passage of this landmark legislation in 2016. The former director of the National Cancer Institute said, “Few people have done more to advance the fight against serious diseases than Mike Milken.”

Beginning a career on Wall Street in 1969, Milken revolutionized capital markets by pricing and rewarding risk more efficiently; this expanded access to capital and created millions of jobs in thousands of companies. He graduated from Berkeley with highest honors and earned his MBA at the Wharton School. He and his wife, Lori, who are members of the Giving Pledge, were married in 1968; they have three children and ten grandchildren. More details at www.mikemilken.com.

*All organizational affiliations and titles are listed for identification purposes only. All individuals serve in their personal capacity only and not as a representative of their employer.