Milken National Educator Awards
Lowell and Michael Milken and members of the Milken families conceived the National Educator Award program in the early 1980s. They saw the importance of recognizing great educators and developed a program that provides public recognition and financial rewards to outstanding educators. The first awards were presented to 12 California educators in 1987. Each educator in the program is given a $25,000 unrestricted financial award and the opportunity to participate in ongoing professional development at yearly state conferences, an annual National Education Conference, and through state networks of educators, state agency personnel, legislators, university personnel, business partners, and foundation staff. Since 1987, the program has awarded over $66 million to more than 2,600 outstanding teachers, principals, and educators. New Jersey joined the Milken National Educator Awards in 2002 as the 45th state to participate.