Eli and Edythe Broad
Eli Broad was a renowned entrepreneur and philanthropist who is the only person to found two Fortune 500 companies in different industries, SunAmerica Inc. and KB Home, formerly Kaufman and Broad Home Corporation, and who co-founded with his wife Edythe the contemporary art museum, The Broad.
Eli and Edythe Broad were devoted to philanthropy as founders of The Broad Foundations, which they established to advance entrepreneurship for the public good in education, science and the arts. Today, Edythe Broad continues this visionary work. The Broad Foundations, which include The Eli and Edythe Broad Foundation and The Broad Art Foundation, have assets of $3 billion. The Broad Art Foundation has provided almost 600 museums and university galleries worldwide with more than 8,800 loans of artwork since 1984.
Through the foundations, the Broads created groundbreaking independent institutions in each of their three areas of grantmaking, including The Broad Center, which develops leaders to help transform America’s urban public schools; The Broad Institute, a global leader in genomics; and The Broad, which was founded in 2015 as a gift to the city of Los Angeles and is dedicated to making contemporary art accessible to the widest possible audience.
Mr. Broad was the founding chairman and a life trustee of The Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles, to which The Broad Foundation gave a $30 million challenge grant in December 2008 to rebuild the museum’s endowment and to provide exhibition support. He was a life trustee of The Museum of Modern Art in New York and of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, where the Broads made a $60 million gift to build the Renzo Piano-designed Broad Contemporary Art Museum, which opened in February 2008, and to fund an art acquisition budget.
Tireless advocates of Los Angeles, the Broads championed the cultural and architectural vitality of the city. Committed to the belief that all great cities need a vibrant center, Mr. Broad was the visionary behind the development of Grand Avenue, which will blend residential, retail, cultural and recreational uses into a civic centerpiece to rival the main boulevards of the world’s greatest cities. In 1996, Mr. Broad and then-Mayor Richard Riordan spearheaded the fundraising campaign to build the Frank Gehry-designed Walt Disney Concert Hall, which opened to worldwide acclaim in October 2003. The Broads provided the lead gift to the Los Angeles Opera to create a new production of Richard Wagner’s four-opera cycle Der Ring des Nibelungen in 2009-2010. In 2008, they created an endowment for programming and arts education at The Eli and Edythe Broad Stage and The Edye Second Space at the Santa Monica College performing arts center.
From 2004 to 2009, Mr. Broad served as a Regent of the Smithsonian Institution by appointment of the U.S. Congress and the President. He was a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and in 1994 was named Chevalier in the National Order of the Legion of Honor by the Republic of France. Mr. Broad served on the board of the Future Generation Art Prize. He received the Carnegie Medal of Philanthropy in 2007 and the David Rockefeller Award from the Museum of Modern Art in March 2009. Strong believers in higher education, the Broads further extended their philanthropy in the arts. The Broad Foundation made a major contribution to the School of the Arts and Architecture at UCLA for The Eli and Edythe Broad Art Center, designed by Richard Meier. In 1991, the Broads endowed The Eli Broad College of Business and The Eli Broad Graduate School of Management at Michigan State University (MSU), where Mr. Broad graduated cum laude in 1954. In June 2007, the Broads announced a $26 million gift to create the Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum at MSU, and they gave another $2 million to the project in January 2010. The Zaha Hadid-designed museum opened in November 2012.
Mr. Broad's book, The Art of Being Unreasonable: Lessons in Unconventional Thinking, was published by Wiley in May 2012 and is a New York Times, Wall Street Journal, USA Today, and Washington Post bestseller.
Mr. Broad died at the age of 87 on April 30, 2021. He is survived by his wife Edythe and their sons Jeffrey and Gary.