MFF Memories

Interview Joni Milken

Joni Milken-Noah
Vice President, Mike's Math Club
32 years

You likely have the largest personal collection of photos and memories from your work with the Milken Family Foundation and Mike’s Math Club. What are some of your memorable moments?

Hundreds of precious memories come to me. Traveling on Milken Educator Award (MEA) teacher notifications with my brothers [Lowell and Mike Milken] and mom was always very memorable. Meeting students from across the United States and seeing the happiness of the recipients is something I will always cherish.

I have great memories of Mike’s Math Club (MMC) teaching in schools in California, New York, Arkansas and Michigan, sending birthday cards and writing pen pal letters to our MMC students.

My time spent with the Milken Scholars program has brought me great joy. Mike’s Math Club and the Milken Scholars program both started in 1989. I feel extremely close to hundreds of Milken Scholars. The Scholars inspire me in so many ways. 

Since 1989, I’ve taken thousands and thousands of photos of my time with Mike’s Math Club, Milken Scholars and MEA. Hundreds of the photos are displayed on the walls in my office area. I love when visitors stop by and look at them. There are so many sweet memories.

MMC Students with signs

Happy, engaged students welcome Mike's Math Club to their classroom

Your many connections with students are evident. How has Mike’s Math Club impacted students lives?

In 1990, I took three Mike’s Math Club students to Raiders and Lakers games. I am still best friends with those three students today in 2021. Mike’s Math Club was never just a “math club.” It was a deep friendship with our students that continues to this day. Many of them are now parents and I feel like a proud “grandma” when I’m with them. In fact, one of my former MMC fifth grade students, Sarah Fried, became a teacher. Mike’s Math Club taught for many years in her classroom. Mike even came once for a visit. It was a full 360 of life.

What is your greatest wish for the Milken Family Foundation’s advancement into the future?

I hope the Milken Family Foundation continues to inspire people to lead their best life. These lyrics from Neil Young come to mind:

“We’ve been through some things together
With trucks of memories still to come
We found things to do in stormy weather
Long may you run.”