Eli and Edythe Broad have spent their lifetime giving back.
After creating shareholder wealth by providing vital homebuilding and retirement savings services through the two Fortune 500 companies he created—KB Home and SunAmerica, Inc.—Eli Broad and Edythe, his wife of 57 years, are now devoting their time, energy and resources to philanthropy.
As the child of immigrant parents, Eli Broad was instilled with the values of hard work, education and the dream that anything was possible. He and Edythe both attended Detroit Public Schools, and then he attended Michigan State University, graduating with a degree in accounting and becoming the youngest CPA in the state’s history. While working for two years as an accountant, Eli Broad saw his homebuilding clients making much more than he was, and he and Edythe’s cousin’s husband decided they, too, could build houses. Eli Broad and Donald Kaufman founded Kaufman and Broad with the simple idea that if they built houses without basements (the widespread use of gas heating rendered basements to store coal unnecessary), they could offer homes with mortgage payments that were lower than the rent for a two-bedroom apartment. The first weekend in 1957, they priced their houses at $13,740. They sold out that same weekend and were in business.
Kaufman and Broad grew rapidly, becoming the first homebuilder to be traded on the American and New York stock exchanges. Realizing that the homebuilding industry was cyclical, Eli Broad looked to diversify the business, and in 1971, Kaufman and Broad acquired a small life insurance company for $52 million that they eventually transformed into a retirement savings empire. With the merger of SunAmerica into AIG in 1999—at the sales price of $18 billion—Eli Broad stepped down as CEO and turned his attention to full-time philanthropy.
The Broads had created a family foundation in the 1960s as a way to support their charitable interests and causes. But with their financial success from the sale of SunAmerica, the Broads focused their charitable giving in a new style of investing that was more akin to their business acumen: venture philanthropy. An entrepreneur at heart, Eli Broad has applied his same spirit of creating new enterprises to the family’s approach to philanthropy.
Today, The Broad Foundations, which include The Eli and Edythe Broad Foundation and The Broad Art Foundation, have assets of $2.1 billion. Their mission is to advance entrepreneurship for the public good in education, science and the arts.
Eli Broad has held numerous leadership roles on boards around the country. He was the founding chairman and life trustee of The Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles, and a life trustee of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the California Institute of Technology, and The Museum of Modern Art in New York. Eli Broad is also 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. From 2004 to 2009, he served as a Regent of the Smithsonian Institution by appointment of the U.S. Congress and the President. Eli Broad received the Carnegie Medal of Philanthropy in 2007 and the David Rockefeller Award from The Museum of Modern Art in 2009.
The Broads have lived in Los Angeles since 1963.