Richard Sandler, Milken Family Foundation

TITLE: Executive Vice President and Trustee

FUNDING AREAS: Education, medical research, and Jewish music

CONTACT: rsandler@mff.org, 310-570-4800

IP TAKE: In addition to his work in philanthropy, Sandler is incredibly active in the Jewish, legal, and investment communities. Jewish causes catch his attention more than anything else, but the foundation is also making a push for math and technology education grantmaking.

PROFILE: Richard Sandler is pretty equally committed to the Jewish community and to the philanthropy sector, making him a perfect fit for the Milken Family Foundation. The foundation was formed in 1982, and Sandler has been involved since the very beginning. He serves as executive vice president, as well as a trustee. He's also chairman of the Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles. If that weren't enough, he's an active partner at the Law Offices of Maron & Sandler—including serving as Michael Milken's attorney in arenas surrounding some of his "historic" business ventures .

At the Milken Family Foundation, Sandler oversees grantmaking in education and medical research. He keeps up with education reform initiatives, early childhood programs, and education technology systems across America. In that realm, he also serves on the boards for Knowledge Universe Education Inc., Knowledge Schools Inc., and the University of California Berkeley Foundation.

Sandler also keeps up with developments in cancer, epilepsy, and other disease research at medical facilities around the country, and serves on the board of he Prostate Cancer Foundation. At Maron & Sandler, he focuses on business restructuring, securities transactions, and real estate. Over the years, he has been involved in partnerships related to real estate, investments, securities, and business transactions, and serves on the board of a an international real estate company. At the Jewish Federation, Sandler collaborates with other Jewish organizations and allocates financial resources.

Sandler graduated from the University of California at Berkeley and earned his law degree from UCLA Law School.

Although the Milken Family Foundation's grantmaking focus areas are nonreligious education and medical research, there are still plenty of Jewish overtones in the foundation. First, there's the Milken Archive of Jewish Music, a collection of music, photos, videos, and essays chronicling 350-plus years of Jewish culture. And there are the Jewish Educator Awards, which provide funding for K-12 educators for their work in Los Angeles Jewish schools. Sandler is incredibly active in the Jewish community on both a local and an international level.

Sandler has been credited with bringing the Jewish Federation into the 21st century and making it relevant to the modern Jewish person again. Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles president and CEO Jay Sanderson commented, "I've never met anyone like Richard. He's thoughtful; he can consider all points of view, but when necessary he's decisive." Sanderson also commented that Sandler "has made Federation more Jewish, while also affirming its role as an effective force locally and nationally, and upping the institution's professionalism. He has reached out to young people and begun a deliberate transformation of how Federation connects to its donors and constituents." According to the Jewish Journal, Sandler spends about 10 to 40 hours each week working on Jewish Federation business.

Although the Milken Family Foundation has a bit broader focus, Sandler also brings his values and outreach skills to the job. "I believe that our value system teaches us responsibility to make this world better, to give back, to do the best you can do while you are here," Sandler said. "And those are values that come from the Torah, and that is what drives me in doing this job. I believe we have to take those values and teach them to our children, so they can decide who they are and where they are going." Sandler is a native-born Angeleno, so he's devoted to the needs of his home community.

Education continues to be Sandler's primary focus at Milken, especially in the areas of higher education and K-12 teacher training. Math and technology are two of Milken's favorite subjects. To learn more about Milken's grantmaking, check out the foundation's Initiatives page.

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