Eli and Edythe Broad
Eli and Edythe Broad
Eli and Edythe Broad are lifelong philanthropists. Their generosity across the areas of education reform, scientific and medical research, the arts, and civic endeavors in their hometown of Los Angeles has been enabled by Eli Broad’s five-decade career in business, building two Fortune 500 companies from the ground up. He was the founder of both SunAmerica Inc. and KB Home (formerly Kaufman and Broad Home Corporation).
Today, the Broads are 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. The Broad Foundations, which include The Eli and Edythe Broad Foundation and The Broad Art Foundation, have assets of $2.6 billion.
Over the past four decades, the Broads have built two of the most prominent collections of postwar and contemporary art worldwide: The Eli and Edythe L. Broad Collection and The Broad Art Foundation. The collection includes more than 2,000 works by over 200 artists. Since 1984, The Broad Art Foundation has operated an active “lending library” of its extensive collection. Dedicated to increasing access to contemporary art for audiences worldwide, The Broad Art Foundation has provided over 500 museums and university galleries worldwide with more than 8,000 loans of artwork.
Mr. Broad was the founding chairman and is 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 is 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. In September 2015, The Broad opened in downtown Los Angeles, a contemporary art museum and headquarters for The Broad Art Foundation on Grand Avenue.
Tireless advocates of Los Angeles, the Broads have 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. They gave $10 million in 2008 to create 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 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. 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 have 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 first 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 on April 30, 2021 at the age of 87. He is survived by his wife Edythe and their two sons, Jeffrey and Gary.
Remembering the Legacy of Eli Broad
The Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum (MSU Broad Art Museum) recognizes the immense legacy of humanitarian, entrepreneur, arts advocate, and MSU alumnus Eli Broad (1933–2021).
Mr. Broad and his wife Edythe believed in the vision of a world-class art museum for Michigan State University. In June 2007, the Broads stepped forward to improve the landscape of MSU’s campus when they announced a $26 million gift to build the Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum at Michigan State University—and in doing so, they transformed arts access in the state of Michigan for good.
The design for the building was selected through a competition that engaged some of the world’s most forward-thinking architects. A contemporary design by Zaha Hadid was selected, and the resulting architectural marvel embodies Mr. Broad’s drive to always think outside of the box and remain uncompromising in his pursuit of excellence in both business and philanthropy. Situated on Grand River Avenue with two entrances—one facing MSU and the other the City of East Lansing—the building also reified Mr. Broad’s vision for the museum as a place of connection between art, campus, and community.
Mr. and Mrs. Broad furthered their support for the museum by investing an added $2 million toward construction in 2010, and an additional $5 million in 2014 to increase the museum’s endowment and help fund future exhibitions. The Eli and Edythe Broad endowed exhibitions fund continues to make countless exhibitions possible today.
The Broads also generously gifted the museum with 19 works from prominent artists of the 1980s and 90s, including Ross Bleckner, Sue Williams, Roxy Paine, and Jonathan Borofsky. An exhibition celebrating the Broad gift will be mounted for the MSU Broad Art Museum’s 10th anniversary in 2022, which is slated to open in June of that year.
In keeping with Mr. Broad’s commitment to ensuring that art is accessible to the widest possible audience, the MSU Broad Art Museum is—and always will be—free and open to the public. It invites both scholars and members of the community to immerse themselves in work by local, national, and international artists, as well as a permanent collection of over 10,000 works. As the only museum of its kind in over a 60-mile radius, and one of the few contemporary art museums in Michigan, Mr. Broad’s civic altruism has provided countless people with the opportunity to visit an art museum for the first time.
Mr. Broad’s lifelong commitment to giving back has left an incomparable legacy at his alma mater. Together, Mr. and Mrs. Broad have given nearly $100 million in support to Michigan State University. His immeasurable generosity of spirit will continue to impact Spartans and members of our communities for generations to come.