With 140 characters able to reach more than 83,700 people with the stroke of a key, Adam Milstein is without a doubt one of the most influential Israeli advocates in the world—and was even named one of “The 25 Most Influential People On Jewish Twitter” by the Jewish Telegraphic Association in 2016.
Often called one of the hardest working philanthropists in the Jewish world, Milstein has made a name for himself as America’s most prominent pro-Israel philanthropists and has dedicated his life to bringing more awareness to Jewish culture, building up the State of Israel, and strengthening the relationship between Israel and the United States.
In an effort to carry out this mission, Milstein and his wife, Gila, founded the Adam and Gila Milstein Family Foundation in 2000.This foundation is the cornerstone of Milstein’s philanthropic activities, and helps further the couple’s desire to help Jewish people get in better touch with their Jewish roots, learn more about their rich history, take pride in their culture, and spread this infectious spirit to future generations.
Through his foundation, Adam Milstein helps support organizations with a similar philosophy and mission. Milstein and his wife’s involvement go far beyond simple financial support. By committing to what he calls “active philanthropy,” Milstein and the Milstein Family Foundation dedicat
e not only funding, but also significant time and resources to every organization, program, and project that they partner with. Instead of simply cutting a check and moving on, Milstein finds it is far more effective to build a long-term relationship with the organization and help them along the way, pitching in whenever and wherever he can be of help. He regularly offers his expertise from the business and real estate worlds, helps recruit talent, and he helps make critical connections that ensure long-term success.
Another aspect of Milstein’s philosophy is his focus on a “life path impact” aimed at funding and developing organizations that will engage members of the Jewish community at every stage of their lives. Many of the foundation’s programs are therefore aimed at helping children and young adults get in touch with their Jewish roots, learn more about
their rich history, take pride in their culture, and spread that pride to future generations. Take their Sifriyat Pijama B’America program. Modeled after a similar program in Israel, the program sends out books in Hebrew on Jewish literature to American children born to Jewish parents. In doing so, it was their hope that these American children would learn more about their heritage and learn to hold Jewish values dear.
The Milstein Family Foundation has also formed several partnerships with groups and organizations operating on college campuses, in an effort to ensure that students remain dedicated advocates for the State of Israel—even on sometimes-hostile
college campuses. By getting Jewish-Americans involved in pro-Israel causes at a young age, it is Milstein’s hope that he can inspire the next generations to remain dedicated supporters of Israel and maintain the Jewish heritage as they get older and become community leaders.
As part of his effort to be involved in all aspects of Jewish life, Adam Milstein serves on the boards of several Jewish oriented non-profit organizations with whom he shares a personal philosophy. These organizations include the Israel on Campus Coalition, StandWithUs, the Jewish Funders Network, Stand By Me, and Birthright Israel. He also serves as the Chairman of the Board at the Israeli American Council (IAC) and sits on the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) National Council. In 2015, Milstein joined forces with Haim Saban and Sheldon Adelson to hold the first annual Campus Maccabees Summit with the goal of uniting the entire pro-Israel student community against anti-Semitic hate groups.
Despite his tireless and time consuming work, Milstein stresses that his philanthropic activities are a “lifetime labor of love” and that these activities don’t feel like work at all. Rather than draining his energy, he draws motivation and inspiring from those he works with, knowing that he is creating a legacy that will long outlive him.
Milstein’s parents were both part of the Diaspora that spread the Jewish people to around the world. His father grew up in Argentina and his mother was from Morocco, and they both immigrated to Israel shortly after it was founded in 1948. They felt a deep connection to the Jewish homeland and a strong sense of Jewish pride, and they passed this love and pride on to their son.
Milstein was born in Haifa, Israel, in 1952. He grew up partly in Kiryat Yam and partly in Kiryat Motzkinand, both of which shaped his early life. As a young man, he joined the Israeli Defense Forces and served in the Yom Kippur War. Afterward, he attended the Technion, a top Israeli university in Haifa, and earned a degree in business and economics, graduating cum laude, in 1978. Making his way to the United States, Milstein earned a Master of Business Administration from the University of Southern California and stayed in the Los Angeles area—ending up in Encino, California, with his wife. They have three grown daughters and three grandchildren. When Milstein was growing up, his father was a real estate developer, so he started working in and learning about the real estate business from a very young age. It was only natural for him to gravitate toward real estate investing, where he made his fortune. He is currently the managing partner for a private real estate firm, Hager Pacific, with a property portfolio worth more than $1 billion.
Milstein is one of those rare “purpose-driven” individuals. As a proud and dedicated philanthropist and Israel activist, he has already given an abundance of time, dedication, and money to innumerable good causes. However, as a man in his sixties who stays very active, there’s little doubt that Milstein is ready and able to give a whole lot more! In 2013, the Algemeiner, one of the top Jewish papers, named Milstein one of the “Top 100 People Positively Influencing Jewish Life.” He is making an impact on the world that will last for many generations to come.