A Message from the Founder

One person has the power to positively change lives.

An educator, Mr. Lou Fosse, changed mine. Mr. Fosse taught every subject with equal energy, but it was American History that made the impression – deep and permanent. Mr. Fosse had a passion for the Revolution that had brought America into being, and his voice crackled with excitement as he laid out for us, plank by plank, America’s foundation. He described our nation’s quest for independence the way a climber might describe an ascent – thrilled and breathless as he plants the flag. Mr. Fosse wanted us not just to understand America’s journey toward self-sufficiency. He wanted us to feel it. To share it. Take ownership of history’s relevance on our lives today—to understand how one individual or a group of individuals can change the world for the better.

Mr. Fosse asked us big questions not so that we would answer him, but so that we would question ourselves. At nine years old! He took us by our still forming shoulders and gave us spine. He made learning personal, relevant and inspiring—and I never forgot the lessons.

I learned that education can awaken the mind, sustain curiosity and strengthen our engagement with others. More importantly, I saw how education has the power to instill in people the impulse to take initiative for the good of others. The Lowell Milken Center for Unsung Heroes harnesses this power to create lasting, positive change among students, educators and communities. By helping students discover, develop and communicate the stories of individuals who, often at great personal risk, took actions to improve the lives of others, the Center inspires each and every one of us to make a positive difference in the world.

No doubt, it remains imperative to prepare students with the skills, knowledge and experiences necessary for success in the 21st century. Yet educators, parents and society must also address the urgent need to actively prepare young people to be good citizens. Today, perhaps more than ever, youth need positive role models, and it is the lessons of history that blaze our path to a more secure future. The qualities that define our characters—as individuals, as a nation, as a world community—are absolute fixed markers that have guided people of principle throughout time. Ultimately, Unsung Heroes from the past who demonstrate virtues like courage, compassion and conviction teach us the power that one person has to profoundly better the lives of others and positively impact the course of history.

We invite you to learn from these Unsung Heroes and, in reflecting on their remarkable stories, ask yourself: what change can I create today?

Lowell Milken
Founder, Lowell Milken Center for Unsung Heroes

Lowell Milken’s Bio