Milken Family Foundation: Grants for Disease

OVERVIEW: This funder’s basic and medical research is largely focused on cancer and discovering causes, treatments,and cures. 

IP TAKE: Cancer, and prostate cancer in particular, are of particular interest to this funder. This foundation is also a big education funder. For grantseekers, persistence—and perhaps making a few key connections with foundation staff—is key, here. This foundation’s funding doors are closed pretty tightly.

PROFILE: The Milken Family Foundation (MFF) was established in 1982 by Lowell and Michael Milken, who made their money in finance. The foundation funds a variety of medical research and public health causes, supporting organizations that endeavor to “discover and advance inventive, effective ways of helping people help themselves and those around them lead productive and satisfying lives.”

Much of MFF’s funding is devoted to medical research and public health, with a heavy focus on cancer. Particular areas of interest include: 

  • Basic and applied medical research
  • Improving public health
  • Supporting public health programs 

Efforts toward discovery of causes, treatments and cures for different types of cancer comprise a huge grantmaking focus for the foundation. However, it has supported similar undertakings related to other diseases like Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s. Related grants are limited in number and tend to go to large national organizations.

MFF is passionate about curing prostate cancer, and it’s a leading philanthropic organization funding research for a cure. Mike Milken is the founder and chairman of the Prostate Cancer Foundation, which is also the largest recipient of MFF grants.

Outside of one or two six-figure grants to large national health organizations, most of MFF's medical research grants fall in the $1,000 to $10,000 range.

The Milken Family Foundation has a strict policy of not accepting unsolicited proposals, opting to support the initiatives it develops on its own, and those organizations it invites to submit grant proposals.


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