CONSTANCE J. MILSTEIN has built her life and career exploring new ways to solve complex social problems and bridge cultural and societal divides. As an attorney, businesswoman, humanitarian, and social entrepreneur, she combines her experience and “get the job done” know how to develop innovative practical solutions. She is skilled in dealing with multinational issues and international relations, as well as health, educational, and veteran/military initiatives.
DEDICATED TO SERVICE
Milstein is the daughter of a World War II veteran and has long supported service members and their families, work that traces back to the 1970s when she served as an attorney for the Coast Guard’s Board for the Correction of Military Records. She is a founding board member of Blue Star Families, the nation’s largest support organization for military spouses and children. In recognition of this service, Milstein received the inaugural Blue Star Families Angel Award in 2013, which was renamed in her honor. In 2016, in recognition for her work with the Military, Milstein was invested as a Civilian Aide to the Army serving as an ambassador for the Army to the civilian and business communities.
In 2011, Milstein saw a lack of innovative programs dedicated to serving disabled veterans, so she joined forces with Father Rick Curry and together they created the inventive non-profit Dog Tag bakery. Dog Tag’s unique mission is to provide a transformative opportunity for veterans with service-connected disabilities, military spouses and caregivers. Dog Tag Fellows receive an education at Georgetown University and engage in all aspects of the bakery which is a living business school.
Milstein grew up living and traveling abroad, and through her experiences developed an appreciation for cultural and socioeconomic differences along with an awareness of the shared interests and universal values that can unite people of different nations. Her international exposure shaped her world view and created a lifelong commitment to the principles of multilateralism.
A common thread in Milstein’s life has been her instinct to seek creative solutions to address persistent, underserved problems. In 1998, Milstein co-founded the Humpy Dumpty Institute (HDI) where she worked to engage U.S. Congressional leaders with the United Nations and the global representatives responsible for advancing its mission with an emphasis on bringing women leaders to the table. Milstein continues to serve as HDI’s Chairman Emeritus and her legacy can be seen in the organization’s bipartisan Congressional Advisory Board.
As a leader of the Global Progress Initiative/Center for American Progress, Milstein hosted meetings and conferences with leaders from around the world who share a common goal of addressing pressing global issues and geopolitical threats.
She is a Trustee of New York University where she works to expand NYU’s international reputation and promote the university’s renowned global campus. Domestically, Milstein led NYU’s expansion in Washington, D.C. by creating the Constance Milstein and Family Global Academic Center. The Milstein Center supplements academic training with job and internship opportunities in government, politics, public administration, and journalism. In 2010, NYU awarded her the prestigious Albert Gallatin Medal for Outstanding Contributions to Society.
Milstein also served on the board of Nobel Peace laureate Kailash Satyarthi’s Foundation and has worked with Satyarthi in his fight to end childhood slavery and trafficking. She organized his triumphant first tour of the U.S. as a Nobel Laureate, which included a historic address on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial which honored our common commitment to freedom for all people around the globe.
A committed Francophile, Milstein currently serves as Chair of the French-American Cultural Foundation, an organization that advances relations between America and France through initiatives in the arts, business and science. In her capacity as Chair, she has enjoyed a close working relationship with several of France’s Ambassadors to the United States and the United Nations.
She is committed to humanitarian work and has served in key roles with many leading nonprofits and NGOs focused on international relations, global education and democracy building. These organizations include The National Democratic Institute, American Australian Council, Seton Hall University’s School of Diplomacy, and Refugees International.
PRIVATE SECTOR LEADER
An attorney by trade and member of the D.C. Bar since 1978, Milstein is an accomplished business leader and entrepreneur. Most recently, she is an honorary principal and co-founder of Ogden CAP Properties and a manager of the entity that owns The Jefferson Hotel in Washington, D.C. Her stewardship of The Jefferson included overseeing a three-year renovation resulting in the historic Washington hotel and landmark being consistently voted among the best in the nation and its Plume restaurant being awarded a Michelin star. She has also served as the Treasurer of the Democratic Governors Association.
COMMITTED TO QUALITY HEALTH CARE
Milstein and her family have a long-standing commitment to organizations dedicated to patient care and scientific research. Reflecting this, the Milstein Hospital Building was established on the campus of Columbia University in 1989. Milstein has continued her family’s tradition of scientific commitment and was the driving force behind the creation of the Vivian and Seymour Milstein Family Heart Center, a world-renowned facility at New York-Presbyterian Hospital that offers comprehensive, interdisciplinary cardiovascular care. After 16 years of service as trustee, Milstein currently serves as a life trustee of the institution.
She has also supported other innovative and impactful organizations committed to advancing quality health including Citizens United for Research in Epilepsy (CURE), the COPD Foundation, and Harboring Hearts, a non-profit dedicated to providing critical support for heart patients and their families.
A PATRON OF THE ARTS
Milstein is deeply committed to expanding access and awareness of American culture through the arts. At the Kennedy Center, she serves as a Director of the National Symphony Orchestra Board and is a member of the Trustees Council of the National Gallery of Art. She previously served as a Trustee of the Washington National Opera and as a Trustee of the historic Ford’s Theater.
Milstein has been recognized for her service and philanthropy with many awards, including the National Human Relations Award from the American Jewish Committee/U.N. Watch; the Celine Marcus Community Service Award from the Neighborhood Coalition for Shelter; the Salute to Women and Racial Justice Award for Outstanding Achievement in Business from the YWCA of White Plains and Central Westchester; and the Urban Visionaries Award for Urban Citizenship from The Cooper Union.
Milstein is a proud mother and grandmother. She lives in New York, NY and Washington, D.C. with her husband, Saïd Abu-Kaud. She speaks fluent French and is conversational in Italian and Spanish.
She graduated from New York University, Heights College, and earned her J.D. cum laude from North Carolina Central University Law School, where she served as comment editor of the North Carolina Central Law Review.