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Celebrate! Elevate! Activate! Milken Family Foundation to Surprise Outstanding Educators Coast to Coast with $25,000 Cash Prizes

Journey to the 3,000th Milken Educator will bring public recognition to the teaching profession and
strengthen a national network shaping the future of education

October 02, 2023

SANTA MONICA, CA — Actors have Oscars, musicians have Grammys, athletes have gold medals and most valuable player awards, and scientists have Nobel Prizes. Yet exemplary educators – who prepare every profession – often go unrecognized. Over three decades ago, philanthropist and education visionary Lowell Milken set out to change that by creating the Milken Educator Awards. As a result, thousands of outstanding teachers, principals, and specialists have been publicly recognized for their dedication to education and have broadened their impact on the American K-12 teaching profession. For up to 75 new Milken Educators, the journey is about to begin. Who will be next?

This week the Milken Family Foundation will embark on a historic, nationwide tour through spring 2024, culminating with the presentation of the 3,000th Milken Educator. Each educator will be surprised with unrestricted $25,000 cash prizes before all-school assemblies of cheering students, proud colleagues, dignitaries, education officials, and media. Along with the financial prize, recipients will join the national Milken Educator Network, a growing group of professionals across diverse roles and disciplines working to shape the future of education.

"Educators have the most important job in our nation, and indeed, the world: to prepare every student to advance successfully to the next stage of learning and life," said Lowell Milken, founder of the Milken Educator Awards and chairman and co-founder of the Milken Family Foundation. "Since presenting our first Awards in 1987, we have seen how focusing the spotlight of recognition and celebration for excellence inspires not only educators, but also students and entire communities to new heights of commitment and expectation. Meeting these demands is essential for our nation to provide high-quality educational opportunities for all."

The Milken Awards are hailed as the "Oscars of Teaching." This season will reach $75 million in individual financial prizes spanning the length of the initiative and more than $144 million invested in the Milken Educator Award national network overall, empowering recipients to "Celebrate, Elevate, and Activate" the K-12 profession and inspiring young, capable people to pursue teaching as a career.

Research confirms that during the school day, the quality of the teacher in the classroom has the greatest impact on student learning. In an era when U.S. students must increasingly compete with students worldwide for opportunities, the Milken Educator Award’s motto has never been more salient: "The future belongs to the educated."

The Milken Educator Award is not a lifetime achievement honor. Recipients are sought out while early to mid-career for what they have achieved – and for the promise of what they will accomplish given the resources and opportunities afforded by the Award.

More about the Milken Educator Award Journey:

· The honorees attend an all-expenses-paid Milken Educator Awards Forum in Los Angeles in June 2024, where they will network with their new colleagues as well as veteran Milken Educators and other education leaders about how to broaden their impact on K-12 education.

· Honorees receive powerful mentorship opportunities for expanded leadership roles that strengthen education practice and policy. Milken Friends Forever (MFF) pairs a new recipient with a veteran Milken Educator mentor; the Expanding MFF Resource and Explorer Program fosters individual veteran Milken Educator partnerships around a specific topic area; and Activating Milken Educators (AME) promotes group collaboration in and across states to tackle pressing educational needs.

· Veteran Milken Educators demonstrate a wide range of leadership roles at state, national and international levels. 

· The $25,000 cash Award is unrestricted. Recipients have used the money in diverse ways. Some recipients have spent the funds on their children's or their own continuing education, financing dream field trips, establishing scholarships, and even adopting children.  

The Milken Educator Award might be coming to a school near you! Follow the tour and use the #MEA3K and #MilkenAward hashtags on: Facebook (MilkenEducatorAwards)| X (Milken)| YouTube (MilkenAward)| Instagram (MilkenFamilyFdn)| LinkedIn (MilkenFamilyFdn)| TikTok (MilkenAward)

Visit or call the Milken Family Foundation at (310) 570-4772 for more information.

About the Milken Educator Awards
The first Milken Educator Awards were presented by the Milken Family Foundation in 1987. Created by Lowell Milken, the Awards provide public recognition and individual financial rewards of $25,000 to elementary and secondary school teachers, principals, and specialists from around the country who are furthering excellence in education. Recipients are heralded in early to mid-career for what they have achieved and for the promise of what they will accomplish. The Milken Family Foundation celebrates more than 40 years of elevating education in America and around the world. Learn more at