UCLA Law Launches Program on Philanthropy and Nonprofits

UCLA Law | September 22, 2021

With the philanthropy world on the precipice of revolutionary change due to the pending baby boomer wealth transfer, UCLA School of Law  announced the formation of the Program on Philanthropy and Nonprofits, devoted to cutting-edge research, training and policy in this dynamic and evolving area of the law and society. It will reside within the law school's Lowell Milken Institute for Business Law and Policy (LMI). The new program builds on the vision of LMI founder and UCLA Law alumnus Lowell Milken, who has utilized his own legal background to inform his work as both a businessman and a philanthropist.

"We are immensely grateful to Lowell Milken for his visionary gift," said Jennifer Mnookin, Dean of the UCLA School of Law. "Our outstanding UCLA Law faculty, especially in tax law, nonprofit law and the governance of entities, positions us to be a national resource for scholarship and policy analysis of the nonprofit sector — and we can take a leadership role in the education of legal counsel, nonprofit directors and executives to meet the challenges that will shape nonprofits."

As baby boomers pass on, they are expected to transfer tens of trillions of dollars in wealth to younger generations, well-established nonprofits and/or family foundations. This massive financial shift is set to upend the processes of philanthropy and the governance of nonprofits. The rise of new ways of conducting philanthropy and changes in the role of nonprofits places this issue closer to the heart of the national political, legal and social conversation.

"We're undergoing a generational shift that promises to make some of the most significant changes to the universe of business law and policy in decades," said Milken. "There is a rare and important chance to make an impact on a national scale, and the talent and vision of the people at UCLA Law and LMI make this an exciting and irresistible opportunity."

Among the nation's most eminent businessmen, philanthropists and leaders in education reform, Milken has donated more than $20 million to the law school during the past decade, including the $10 million gift, then the largest in the school's history, that launched LMI in 2011. A new gift of $3.7 million has made the new Program on Philanthropy and Nonprofits possible.

Since its founding in 2011, LMI has been home to UCLA Law's business law and tax law programs, both ranked in the top 10 nationally. The new program will serve UCLA Law students and all stakeholders in the nonprofit sector, convening practitioners, donors, regulators and those who run nonprofits. Initially, the program will focus on three main goals:
  • Become a research center that develops and shares scholarship and knowledge on issues relating to nonprofits with policymakers, regulators, lawyers and nonprofit senior managers.
  • Develop and expand education at UCLA Law for students, lawyers, directors and nonprofit senior managers on issues central to nonprofit operations and governance.
  • Support thought leadership on legal issues material to nonprofits, serving as an important resource for nonprofits and as a venue to bring together practitioners, scholars and regulators.

"Lowell Milken brought this new law and philanthropy program concept to us, showing incredible foresight about generational wealth transfer," said Joel Feuer, executive director of LMI. "Thanks to his investment in this idea, we are now ready to launch a pioneering effort that again has the potential to transform a field of law."

"The nonprofit sector is undergoing an epochal shift, and lawyers will be at the center of this transformation," said Professor Jill Horwitz, a renowned authority in the law of nonprofits and the program's inaugural faculty director. "UCLA Law and the Lowell Milken Institute now have the opportunity to lead the way in this especially relevant area."

Founded in 1949, UCLA School of Law is one of the top-ranked law schools in the country. Its faculty are among the most influential scholars in business law, constitutional law, critical race studies, environmental law, evidence, immigration, public interest law, tax and other fields. UCLA Law's 18,000-plus alumni work in nearly every state and more than 50 countries as leaders in government, industry, social justice and the legal profession. Committed to the University of California's mission of teaching, research and service, the school offers students a strong foundation in the law as well as practical training through a robust experiential education program.


The 50-plus cohort—35% of the U.S. population—represents a powerful force that drives economic growth and value. Their contributions are known as The Longevity Economy: the sum of all economic activity driven by the needs of Americans aged 50 and older. This includes the products and services they purchase directly, as well as the further economic activity this spending generates.

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