Billionaire Philanthropist Changes Lives By Emphasizing Donations to Art, Music, and Science

Nice News: Billionaire Philanthropist Changes Lives

When people think about billionaires, they usually picture the people that make the regular news cycle. You might envision Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos, or even Andrew Carnegie.

If there were one billionaire that you’d want to get to know today, it would be Edythe Broad (pronounced “brohde”). She is an art collector and philanthropist today, but she and her husband, Eli, were widely known for founding two Fortune 500 companies in different industries: KB Home and SunAmerica.

Through The Broad Foundations, Edythe has helped to transform public schools and make contemporary art available to everyone. Their philanthropic work is funded to the tune of $3 billion in assets, providing nearly 600 galleries and museums access to almost 9,000 artwork loans since 1984. [1]

The Story of a 60-Year Relationship Continues Through Her Work

The Broad family might have made their fortunes in building homes and insurance, but they also sought to change Los Angeles in multiple ways. [2]

Joanne Heyler, who was the founding director of The Broad in 2016, commemorated Eli by saying that there were “very few in LA’s history who have come remotely close to his sense of duty and his willingness to put his own time and effort, pressing his political connections, strong-arming business peers into stepping up for the arts, the way he did.”

The Broad is located across the street from the Walt Disney Concert Hall.

When they were together, the Broads were like any other couple. They’d finish each other’s sentences, enjoy their shared love of art together, and enjoy a quiet evening.

Edythe still believes in the power of healing possibilities when science and philanthropic hearts come together. When interviewed in 2016, Eli said their incredible art collection wasn’t curated by impulse or whim. “We look for quality, and for things that we think are going to be huge and historically important,” he said. “I’m interested in whether it has social commentary.” [3]

Eli always gave credit to Edythe for collecting art and inspiring others. “Edye was the first collector in our family, and I came along later – being some fifty odd years ago. All our art reminds me of her.”

The Accomplishments of the Broad Family Are Numerous

The list of success stories is extensive when looking at how Edythe and Eli transformed Los Angeles over the years. They developed Grand Avenue as the city’s center of commerce and culture, advocated for a higher minimum wage, and provided free tuition for community colleges.

They also worked to improve the K-12 school system in LA while supporting numerous components of the city’s nonprofit sector.

“Our vision for Los Angeles is one where all Angelenos can shape and participate in an inclusive, clean, and upwardly mobile economy,” said The Eli and Edythe Broad Foundation on their website. “By focusing resources on efforts to develop skills and strengthen career pathways, we believe we can help expand economic opportunities for Angelenos from historically marginalized communities.” [4]

Edythe says LA has so much to love, from its art to its haute cuisine. “I think Los Angeles is a great place for young chefs,” she said. Then she discusses the things she loves above many of the restaurants on the Westside, including Capo, Valentino, Voltaire, and Toscana.

In 1991, the Broads offered their first eight-figure donations, including $20 million to Michigan State University to create a full-time MBA program. In recent years, over $100 million has been given to improve American public schools, establish programs to train superintendents, and distribute scholarships.

Since 2002, the Broad Prize for Urban Education has honored four urban school districts that show the most improvements in student performance. Students can earn up to $20,000 in scholarships as graduating seniors.

Through it all, the good times and the bad, Edythe is there with a quick laugh and a calm demeanor. She is frank, but courteous. Some see the attitude as unreasonable, but there was a goal to get things done, and nothing would stand in the way.

Most recently, the push has been more toward climate change. She’s given more than $4 billion to various causes, and was one of the first to sign the Giving Pledge that commits 75% of an individual’s wealth to charitable causes during their lifetime. [5]

You will find Edythe giving only a few interviews today. Even in their younger years, everything was done together as a family whenever possible. He was the analytical one, and she was the intuitive partner. In 2022, she was the 11th-most generous giver in the United States. [6]

“Civilizations aren’t remembered by their businesspeople, bankers, or lawyers,” Eli once said. “They’re remembered by the arts.” Edythe sees concepts as being the currency of success, even today. That’s how she continues to change lives, one idea at a time.

[1] https://www.thebroad.org/about/eli-and-edythe-broad; [2] https://www.nytimes.com/2021/04/30/us/eli-broad-dead.html; [3] https://hauteliving.com/2016/03/eli-and-edythe-broad-on-love-art-and-building-the-broad/604367/ ; [4] https://broadfoundation.org/los-angeles/; [5] https://labusinessjournal.com/special-editions/wealthiest-angelenos/wealthiest-2022/5-edythe-broad/; [6] https://www.influencewatch.org/person/edythe-broad/