Eli Broad

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Eli Broad
Eli Broad in 2011.jpg
Born (1933-06-06) June 6, 1933 (age 81)
New York, New York, U.S.
Residence Los Angeles, California, U.S.
Nationality American
Ethnicity Lithuanian Jewish
Alma mater Michigan State University
Occupation Founder, The Broad Foundations; Co-founder, KB Home; Founder, SunAmerica
Net worth Increase US$7.1 billion (March 2015)[1]
Spouse(s) Edythe Lawson
Children 2

Eli L. Broad (/brɵd/; born June 6, 1933) is an American philanthropist and entrepreneur. He is the only person to build two Fortune 500 companies[2] in different industries (KB Home and SunAmerica).

Early life and education[edit]

Broad was born in 1933 in the Bronx, New York, the only child of Lithuanian Jewish immigrant parents. His father worked as a house painter, and his mother worked as a dressmaker. His family moved to Detroit, Michigan when he was six years old. In Detroit, his father was a union organizer, and owned five-and-dime stores.[3] Broad attended Detroit Public Schools and graduated from Detroit Central High School in 1951.[4]

Broad attended Michigan State University, majoring in accounting with a minor in economics and graduating cum laude in 1954. Among the jobs Broad held in college were selling women's shoes, selling garbage disposals door-to-door, and working as a drill press operator at Packard Motor, where he was a member of United Auto Workers.[5] The same year, 21 year-old Broad married 18 year-old Edythe "Edye" Lawson.

Broad became the youngest Michigan resident to attain the credentials of Certified Public Accountant (CPA), a record he held until 2010. Broad worked as an accountant for two years. He taught night classes at the Detroit Institute of Technology as an assistant professor of accounting in 1956.[5]


Kaufman and Broad[edit]

In 1957, Broad started a homebuilding company with Donald Kaufman in Detroit. Kaufman and Broad Home Corporation (now KB Home) recognized the type of housing that would appeal to a new generation of Detroit home buyers flocking to the suburbs. By streamlining the construction process, they could price the houses so the monthly mortgage would be less than the rent for a two-bedroom apartment. The Kaufman and Broad model featured an attached carport and omitted the basement. They christened this model the "Award Winner" and priced it at $13,700.[3]

KB Home went public on the American Stock Exchange in 1961 and was the first homebuilder listed on the New York Stock Exchange in 1969.[6]


Main article: SunAmerica

In 1971, Broad acquired Sun Life Insurance Company of America, a family-owned insurance company founded in Baltimore in 1890. Broad transformed Sun Life into the retirement savings powerhouse SunAmerica. In 1999, he sold SunAmerica to the American International Group (AIG) for $18 billion.[7] Broad continued as CEO of SunAmerica until 2000, when he left to focus on philanthropy full-time.


Broad's first book, The Art of Being Unreasonable: Lessons in Unconventional Thinking,[8] was published by Wiley and Sons in 2012 and debuted as a New York Times bestseller.

Philanthropy and civic engagement[edit]

The Eli and Edythe Broad Plaza in front of the Caltrans District 7 Headquarters

Eli and Edythe Broad created The Broad Foundations[9] to advance entrepreneurship for the public good in education, science and the arts. The Broad Foundations, which include The Eli and Edythe Broad Foundation and The Broad Art Foundation, have assets of $2.4 billion.[citation needed]

In 2010, the Broads announced their participation in "The Giving Pledge," a commitment for wealthy individuals to give at least half of their wealth to charity.[10] The Broads personally committed to give 75% of their wealth away.[11]

As of March 2013, Forbes ranked Broad the 191st wealthiest person in the world, with an estimated net worth of $6.3 billion.[12]


The stated mission of the Eli and Edythe Broad Foundation's education work is to ensure that every student in an urban public school has the opportunity to succeed.[13]

In 2010, Broad gave $10 million to the Washington, D.C. Public Education Fund, $2.2 million to the Education Innovation Laboratory at Harvard University, and $2 million to a Los Angeles charter schools foundation. In 2013, The Foundation announced that it had invested $23 million[14] to date to empower teachers, parents and students with blended learning technologies.

The Broad Prize[edit]

The Broad Foundation awards the annual $1 million Broad Prize for Urban Education.[15] The Broad Prize recognizes the large urban school districts in America that have made the greatest improvement in student achievement while narrowing achievement gaps among low-income students and students of color. The Broad Prize has awarded $12 million in college scholarships to high school seniors since 2002. Houston Independent School District was the 2013 winner of The Broad Prize.[16]

The Broad Center[edit]

The Broad Center[17] in Los Angeles, California, is a nonprofit organization that seeks to prepare strong leaders of public school systems through The Broad Superintendents Academy[18] (unaccredited) and The Broad Residency in Urban Education.[19]


Eli Broad has been an influential figure in the art world since 1973.

Los Angeles arts and civic engagement[edit]

Broad Art Center, by Meier at the UCLA School of the Arts and Architecture

Broad was the founding chairman of the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles in 1979 and chaired that board until 1984. He recruited the founding director of the museum[20] and negotiated the acquisition of the Panza Collection for the museum.

In 2008, The Broad Foundation gave a $30 million challenge grant to rebuild the museum’s endowment and to provide exhibition support. The Foundation's donation was contingent on the museum remaining independent and not merging with Los Angeles County Museum of Art.[21]

Broad is a life trustee of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA). In 2003, The Broad Foundation gave $60 million to the museum as part of its renovation campaign to create the Broad Contemporary Art Museum and for an art acquisition fund.[22]

The Broads provided the lead gift of $6 million to the Los Angeles Opera to bring Richard Wagner's opera cycle Der Ring des Nibelungen to Los Angeles for the 2009–10 season.[23] In June 2013, the Broads gave $7 million to continue funding the Eli and Edythe Broad general director at L.A. Opera, currently occupied by Plácido Domingo.

The Broads contributed $10 million in 2008 for a programming endowment for a state-of-the-art music and performing arts center at Santa Monica College, The Eli and Edythe Broad Stage, and an adjacent black box performance space, The Edye.

In total, the Broads have given over $800 million to Los Angeles art institutions. Broad now calls Los Angeles a "cultural capital of the world".[24]

Grand Avenue project[edit]
Main article: The Broad

Broad founded the Grand Avenue Committee, which coordinates and oversees development of Grand Avenue in downtown Los Angeles. In 1996, Broad and Los Angeles Mayor Richard Riordan led the fundraising campaign to build the Frank Gehry-designed Walt Disney Concert Hall, which opened in October 2003. Broad was instrumental in securing the $50 million deposit from the project developer that opened Grand Park in summer 2012. The Broad, a contemporary art museum, is scheduled to open in early 2015.

The Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum at 547 East Circle Drive, Michigan State University, East Lansing, Michigan USA

Higher education philanthropic work[edit]

Broad’s first civic board membership and significant investment in education was a $10 million commitment to Pitzer College in 1970. He was eventually named chairman of the board.

In 1991, Broad endowed the Eli Broad College of Business and the Eli Broad Graduate School of Management with $20 million for a full-time MBA program at his alma mater, Michigan State University.[25] The couple gave $5 million to endow the Eli and Edythe L. Broad Dean of Business.

In 2000, Broad gave $23.2 million for the Broad Art Center at UCLA, designed by Richard Meier.

Eli and Edythe Broad donated $28 million to Michigan State University for the construction of the Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum, designed by Pritzker Architecture Prize-winning architect Zaha Hadid. The museum opened in November 2012.

Scientific and medical research[edit]

The Broads’ investments in scientific and medical research focus on three areas: human genomics, stem cell research and inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).

In 2001, the Broads created the Broad Medical Research Program to fund innovative research to advance the treatment of IBD.

In 2003, Eli and Edythe Broad gave the $100 million founding gift to create The Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard. The following year, they gave another $100 million, and in 2009, they gave another $400 million to create an endowment to make the institute permanent.[26] The Broads announced Nov. 14, 2013, they were giving an additional $100 million to the institute.[27] The Broad Institute is now the leading genomic medicine institute, employing 2,000 people with an annual research budget of $287 million.[28]

The Eli and Edythe Broad Center for Regenerative Medicine and Stem Cell Research at USC is the product of an public-private partnership between voter-created California Institute of Regenerative Medicine, the Keck School of Medicine of USC and the Eli and Edythe Broad Foundation, which donated $30 million in 2006.[29] In 2007, the Broads also donated $20 million to the UCLA Stem Cell Institute. One year later, they gave a major gift to the University of California, San Francisco for the new headquarters of the Eli and Edythe Broad Center of Regeneration Medicine and Stem Cell Research, which opened in February 2011. Broad is also a member of the California Institute of Technology Board of Trustees where he funded the Broad Center for the Biological Sciences. In 2009, the Broads gave $5 million to fund the Joint Center for Translational Medicine at Caltech and UCLA.

Gun control[edit]

In August 2013, Broad donated $250,000 against the recalls of Colorado Senate President John Morse and Sen. Angela Giron, who were being recalled for their support of gun control measures, including a ban on magazines of 15 rounds or more.[30]

Art collection[edit]

Broad’s interest in art began in 1973 with his family’s first acquisition of a Van Gogh drawing, entitled "Cabanes a Saintes-Maries" (1888).[31] Art collector and MCA executive Taft Schreiber[32] became his mentor. The Broads' early acquisitions included notable works by Miró, Picasso and Matisse.[33] Eventually, the pair began to concentrate on post–World War II art.[34]

Eli and Edythe Broad established The Broad Art Foundation in 1984 with the goal of making their extensive contemporary art collection more accessible to the public; to date The Foundation has made more than 8,000 loans to more than 500 museums and university galleries worldwide.

The Broads have two collections—a personal collection with nearly 600 works and The Broad Art Foundation's collection, which has approximately 1,500 works Modern and contemporary art. In January 2008, the Broads decided that works in their personal collection would ultimately go to their foundation to make the artwork accessible to the public through the foundation’s loan program.

Some of the best-known works are by contemporary artists including:[35]

  • John Baldessari's two text paintings from 1967–68.
  • Jasper Johns – flag paintings (1960 and 1967), mixed-media "Watchman" (1964), "hatch" (1975)
  • Jeff Koons – fluorescent-lighted vacuum cleaners (1981), floating basketballs and bronze lifeboat (both 1985), stainless-steel bunny rabbit (1986), "Bubbles," a life-size porcelain portrait of Michael Jackson and his pet chimpanzee (1988) bought on May 15, 2001 for 5.6M,[36] the first "Balloon Dog" (1994, in blue), and a "Cracked Egg" purchased for $3.5 million in 2006. Broad owns more than 20 Koons pieces, and donated €640,000 ($900,000) to help sponsor a 2008 Koons retrospective at Versailles (with fellow Koons collector François Pinault).[37]
  • Roy Lichtenstein – three comic strip paintings (1962–65) and his 1969 abstraction of a mirror. In November 1994, Broad purchased "I...I'm Sorry" for $2.5 million USD at a Sotheby's auction, paid with his American Express credit card, and thereby earned 2.5 million frequent flyer miles.
  • Robert Rauschenberg – 1954 red abstraction.
  • Damien Hirst – Away From the Flock.[38]
  • Edward Ruscha's first word painting, "Boss" (1961) and his 1964 picture of Norm's La Cienega Boulevard restaurant on fire.
  • Cindy Sherman – twelve photographs from 1977–150 photographs. The Broads have the world’s largest collection of Sherman’s works.
  • David SmithCubi XXVIII, executed in 1965. Broad's October 2005 purchase at a Sotheby's auction set a contemporary art auction record of $23,816,000. Broad claimed he had "been looking for a Cubi for more than a decade...I knew it would go way over the estimate and I was prepared, frankly, to pay more than what I bid."[citation needed]
  • Andy Warhol's advertising image, "Where's your rupture?", two Marilyn Monroe images, a twenty-fold silkscreen of Jackie Kennedy, an Elvis, a dance diagram, a wanted poster, an electric chair and a torn Campbell's soup can—pepper pot (purchased for $11.8 million) – all from 1961 to 1967.

Honors and awards[edit]

From 2004 to 2009, Broad served as a Regent of the Smithsonian Institution by appointment of the U.S. Congress and the President.[39] He is 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.[40] Broad serves on the board of the Future Generation Art Prize.[41] He received the Carnegie Medal of Philanthropy in 2007[42] and the David Rockefeller Award from the Museum of Modern Art in March 2009.[43] In October 2013, the Broads will be awarded the William E. Simon Prize for Philanthropic Leadership by Philanthropy Roundtable.[44]


Eli Broad was named by the California attorney general as a contributor to Americans for Job Security, a Virginia trade association. The money sent to Americans for Job Security was intended for "issue advocacy," meaning advertising that doesn't expressly urge Californians to vote one way or another. However, Americans for Job Security sent some of their donations to a Phoenix group, Americans for Responsible Leadership, which provided it to a small business action committee that opposed Proposition 30.[45] It is unclear whether Eli Broad was aware that his donation would be used in this way, since he has stated that he supports higher taxes on the wealthy.[46]


See also[edit]


  1. ^ Forbes: The World's Billionaires - Eli Broad April 2014
  2. ^ "Eli Broad’s Pursuit of "Unreasonable" Philanthropy". givesmart.org. 
  3. ^ a b Bruck, Connie, "The Art of the Billionaire", The New Yorker, December 10, 2010
  4. ^ "The Art of Being Unreasonable". google.com. 
  5. ^ a b The Art of Being Unreasonable: Lessons in Unconventional Thinking
  6. ^ "KB Home (KBH)". Reuters. 
  7. ^ https://www.sunamerica.com/TridionData.do?Page_ID=67997
  8. ^ a b "Eli Broad offers life lessons in". latimes. 
  9. ^ Eli and Edythe Broad. The Broad Foundations. Retrieved July 18, 2013.
  10. ^ Campbell, Dakin (2010-06-17). "Broad, Bloomberg Back Buffett Call for Billionaire Donations". Bloomberg. Retrieved 2011-04-25. 
  11. ^ "A Plea for Greater Giving". The Chronicle of Philanthropy. 
  12. ^ Forbes http://www.forbes.com/profile/eli-broad/.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  13. ^ "Mission and Overview". broadeducation.org. 
  14. ^ [1] invested $23 million
  15. ^ "Home Page - The Broad Prize for Urban Education". broadprize.org. 
  16. ^ "Press Releases". broadprize.org. 
  17. ^ "The Broad Center". broadcenter.org. 
  18. ^ "Academy - The Broad Center: Academy". broadcenter.org. 
  19. ^ "Residency - The Broad Center: Residency". broadcenter.org. 
  20. ^ Peter Aspden, Putting LA at the heart of world culture Financial Times, November 6, 2009. Accessed February 1, 2011.
  21. ^ Wyatt, Edward (November 23, 2008). "Billionaire Offers Arts Bailout in Los Angeles". The New York Times. 
  22. ^ Boehm, Mike (March 6, 2007). "BP gives $25 million to LACMA: The BP donation will go toward a solar entrance that the British oil firm hopes will invoke energy innovation." (– Scholar search). Los Angeles Times. [dead link]
  23. ^ Steinhauer, Jennifer (February 8, 2010). "Iron Checkbook Shapes Cultural Los Angeles". The New York Times. 
  24. ^ Wolfe, Alexandra. "Eli Broad's Entrepreneurial Approach to Philanthropy". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved September 16, 2013. 
  25. ^ "History of the Broad College". Retrieved September 18, 2013. 
  26. ^ Strom, Stephanie (September 5, 2008). "$400 Million Gift to Genetic Institute". The New York Times. Retrieved May 1, 2010. 
  27. ^ "Broad Institute launches next decade with new $100M gift". The Broad Institute. Retrieved November 14, 2013. 
  28. ^ CBS News http://www.cbsnews.com/video/watch/?id=7363716n.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  29. ^ Lewit, Meghan. "USC breaks ground on cutting-edge stem cell center". Usc.edu. Retrieved 2011-04-25. 
  30. ^ Stokols, Eli (2013-08-27). "Bloomberg gives $350K to Morse, Giron recall defense". KDVR Denver. Billionaire Eli Broad also wrote a $250,000 check to the organization, which raised a total of $708,000 in contributions between April and Aug. 22. 
  31. ^ "Eli Broad". Flash Art. Retrieved 2011-04-25. 
  32. ^ Knight, Christopher (January 16, 2011). "Eli Broad, today's Norton Simon". Los Angeles Times. 
  33. ^ Aspden, Peter (November 6, 2009). "Putting LA at the heart of world culture". Financial Times. Retrieved 2011-04-25. 
  34. ^ Palmeri, Christopher (October 29, 2001). "Art Collecting, Eli Broad Style". Businessweek. Retrieved 2011-04-25. 
  35. ^ Knight, Christopher (January 10, 2008). "Will LACMA's reputation suffer from Broad's change of heart?" (– Scholar search). Los Angeles Times. [dead link]
  36. ^ "Sotheby's – Auctions – Calendar – Contemporary Art Part One". Sothebys.com. Retrieved 2011-04-25. [dead link]
  37. ^ Covington, Richard (November 2008). "Where Michael Jackson Meets Louis XIV: How the Jeff Koons exhibition at Versailles led to a national controversy in France". ArtNews.  ARTNews, Nov. 2008, p. 104: "One of the main sponsors helping to defray that cost was Pinault, who, officials say, contributed about €960,000 toward the exhibition's €1.9 million ($2.6 million) total cost. (Other private sponsors, including Los Angeles property developers Eli and Edythe Broad, who count more than 20 Koons pieces in their collection, contributed €640,000 [$900,000], and the state chipped in €300,000 [$400,000], according to Versailles officials.)"
  38. ^ LACMA Press release[dead link], accessed, December 12, 2010
  39. ^ "Providing For Appointment Of Eli Broad As Citizen Regent Of Board Of Regents Of Smithsonian Institution". Capitol Words. 
  40. ^ http://www.leadersmag.com/issues/2012.2_apr/Shaping%20the%20Future/LEADERS-Eli-Broad-The-Broad-Foundations.html
  41. ^ http://www.futuregenerationartprize.org/about/pressrelease
  42. ^ Super User. "Carnegie Medals". carnegiemedals.org. 
  43. ^ "MoMA David Rockefeller Award Luncheon, New York - People & Parties With Panache". panacheprivee.com. 
  44. ^ "Winners of the 2013 William E. Simon Prize". philanthropyroundtable.org. 
  45. ^ Megerian, Chris (October 25, 2013). "California fines groups $16 million for funneling money to campaigns". Los Angeles Times. 
  46. ^ "L.A. Now". Los Angeles Times. January 18, 2012. 

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