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Michael Milken Statement in Response to Presidential Pardon

February 18, 2020

LOS ANGELES, Calif., – Following today's announcement of a pardon by President Trump, the philanthropist and financier Michael Milken said, "Lori and I, who recently celebrated our 51st wedding anniversary, along with our children and grandchildren, are very grateful to the President. We look forward to many more years of pursuing our efforts in medical research, education and public health."


Since the 1970s, Milken has been a leader in advocating and supporting increased national commitments to medical research. He co-founded the Milken Family Foundation in 1982. In addition to its health initiatives, the Foundation is known for the Milken Educator Awards, America's preeminent teacher recognition program, which has honored more than 2,800 outstanding educators. Mike and Lori Milken also established the Milken Scholars Program, which to date has supported and provided lifetime mentoring for nearly 500 college-bound students who have significant financial need and have also excelled academically, served their communities and triumphed over major obstacles.

The Milken Institute, a separate organization, includes seven centers that host more than 200 annual events around the world as part of their efforts to increase global prosperity by advancing collaborative solutions that widen access to capital, create jobs and improve health. A wide range of disease-specific research organizations participate in the Institute's FasterCures center, whose mission is to accelerate progress against all life-threatening diseases. Rather than focus on any one disease, FasterCures works to remove barriers to progress in the entire medical research system.

Milken is also chairman of the Prostate Cancer Foundation and one of the founders of the Melanoma Research Alliance. Fortune magazine called him "The Man Who Changed Medicine." His latest initiative, the Milken Institute Center for Advancing the American Dream, currently under construction in Washington, DC, will celebrate achievements of leaders in health and medicine, education, free enterprise, access to capital, entrepreneurship and innovation.

The Milken Institute School of Public Health at George Washington University pursues extensive prevention and wellness programs.

A full biography is at  

Michael Milken's Major Initiatives

Over his 50-year career, Mike Milken's highly successful efforts in medical research, education, veterans programs, aging and public health have had a major positive impact on our society. Fortune called him "The Man Who Changed Medicine." His latest initiative, the Milken Institute Center for the American Dream, celebrates the nation's exceptionalism and free enterprise.

Medical Research

The Milken Institute's FasterCures center, which addresses all life-threatening diseases – along with the Prostate Cancer Foundation (PCF), Melanoma Research Alliance (MRA) and Milken Family Foundation (MFF) with specialized programs in areas like prostate cancer, melanoma and epilepsy – have accelerated medical progress for decades. They have made public and private research more efficient and productive by driving collaboration among researchers, government, industry, philanthropists and patients.

  • From 1982, when the Milken Family Foundation was founded, right through the most-recent Future of Health Summit, Milken has emphasized getting to cures faster.
  • He organized the first-ever National Cancer Summit in Washington.
  • Milken led hundreds of thousands of Americans in a 1998 March that successfully called for increased medical research funding.
  • A Milken Institute bioscience retreat created the plan that Congress adopted in establishing the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences.
  • The 2012 Celebration of Science focused government and industry on the payoff from research.
  • Milken's Young Investigator Program has advanced careers of 500+ leading researchers.
  • The PCF and MRA have supported every FDA-approved prostate cancer and melanoma drug – producing a total of 22 new therapies – over the last 20 years.
  • The PCF supported Dr. James Allison's Nobel Prize-winning research on immune checkpoint inhibitors that have saved thousands of lives.
  • Soon after Milken established the PCF 27 years ago, he created an extensive prostate cancer awareness and screening program with Major League Baseball. He has personally attended 400+ major league games, thrown our first pitches and given 600+ on-air interviews.
  • The prostate cancer death rate was rising and expected to keep rising as baby boomers grew older. Then Milken began the PCF and instead of rising, deaths fell 50%, helping save some 500,000 lives. 


  • The Milken Educator Award – called the "Oscars of Teaching" by Teacher Magazine – has honored more than 2,800 exemplary educators from every state and the District of Columbia to enhance the quality of K-12 education.
  • The Milken Scholars Program has created opportunities for nearly 500 future leaders from low-income families. More than a scholarship program, it provides lifetime guidance and mentoring for students who have excelled academically, served their communities and triumphed over major obstacles. 99%+ graduation rate from colleges like Harvard, Stanford, Yale, Berkeley and Penn.
  • Mike's Math Club has helped thousands of young inner-city kids learn techniques for success.
  • The Milken Institute and the World Bank's International Finance Corp. address global poverty and terrorism by bringing emerging nations' future leaders to Washington for one-year programs that teach them how to build their economies and create jobs. 

Veterans Programs

  • Every year, 12,000 more veterans are diagnosed with prostate cancer. A $50-million partnership between Milken's Prostate Cancer Foundation and the Department of Veterans Affairs promotes research and assures that vets receive state-of-the-art genomic screening and treatment at both the VA and leading comprehensive cancer centers. 

Public Health

  • The Milken Institute Center for Public Health launched a major focus on opioid addiction.
  • A decade ago, an influential Milken Institute research report, "An Unhealthy America," underscored the trillions of dollars that poor health habits cost the nation. This fall, the Institute published a major new report, "America's Obesity Crisis," showing that excess weight alone imposes a $1.7 trillion cost on our economy.
  • Milken led the funding to establish the Milken Institute School of Public Health at George Washington University. 

Aging Population

  • The Milken Institute Center for the Future of Aging focuses on the needs of senior citizens for increasingly productive and meaningful lives. 

The American Dream

  • A Milken founding gift supported the National Museum of African American History and Culture.
  • The Milken Institute Center for Financial Markets has worked to expand skills development and job creation through opportunity zones in depressed areas.
  • The Milken Institute Center for Advancing the American Dream, under construction in Washington, will inspire citizens through exhibits and stories of pioneers in education, health, entrepreneurism and job-creating free enterprise. The Center will increase financial literacy and show that the American Dream is alive, well and available to all with its message of hope and opportunity.

Media Contact:
   Geoffrey Moore