Eli Broad gave millions to Los Angeles infrastructure, development, art and education

By Naledi Ushe and Ashley Boucher
May 01, 2021 12:02 AM
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Eli Broad
| Credit: Getty

Billionaire developer and philanthropist Eli Broad has died. He was 87.

The entrepreneur died at Los Angeles' Cedars-Sinai Medical Center on Friday "after a long illness," Suzi Emmerling, a spokeswoman for the Eli and Edythe Broad Foundation, confirmed to the Associated Press.

"As a businessman Eli saw around corners, as a philanthropist he saw the problems in the world and tried to fix them, as a citizen he saw the possibility in our shared community, and as a husband, father and friend he saw the potential in each of us," Gerun Riley, president of The Eli and Edythe Broad Foundation, told The New York Times Friday. Broad had retired from the Foundation in 2017, passing the reins to Riley.

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti also shared a touching tribute on Twitter.

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Eli and Edyth Broad
| Credit: Getty

"Eli Broad, simply put, was L.A.'s most influential private citizen of his generation. He loved this city as deeply as anyone I have ever known. He was a dreamer, often seeing things that others didn't or couldn't. He was a builder –– of homes, the arts, educational opportunity, health breakthroughs that transformed dreams into reality," Garcetti wrote.

"I feel his loss and our city feels his loss deeply," he added. "Thank you, Eli, for driving hard to build a world-class city. Thank you for the grace, determination, and selflessness you always showed your beloved Los Angeles."

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Broad co-founded homebuilding pioneer Kaufman and Broad Inc. and launched financial services giant SunAmerica Inc., both of which became Fortune 500 companies and led to his Forbes estimated $6.9 billion net worth.

One of Broad's biggest legacies in Los Angeles is downtown's Broad Museum, which opened in 2015 and includes 2,000 artworks from the Broads' collection, worth $1.6 billion, according to NBC News.

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Eli Broad
| Credit: Getty

Broad and his wife Edyth have donated millions of dollars to cultural landmarks across Los Angeles, including Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Museum of Contemporary Art, Disney Hall, as well as to UCLA for stem cell research and to the city's public schools.

Broad was vocal about his pride in his donations — or, as he liked to think about it, investments.

"We don't give it away, we invest it," he told 60 Minutes in 2011. "And we want a return. Remember, I started work as a CPA, so that gave me fiscal discipline in everything I did in business. I guess some of it carries over to philanthropy."