Eli Broad, philanthropist who remade Los Angeles and gave to Jewish causes, dies at 87

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Eli Broad, the Jewish philanthropist who strove to reshape Los Angeles as an international culture capital and also gave to Jewish causes, has died at 87.

Broad died April 30, a spokeswoman for the Eli and Edythe Broad Foundation told The New York Times. She did not name a cause.


Broad, who became a billionaire in the building and insurance businesses, is best remembered for helping start the Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art and the Broad, an art museum he named after himself, and for pouring money into several of the city’s other cultural institutions.

He was also deeply influential in education policy, creating a program — the Broad Academy — that trained school and district leaders to incorporate ideas from the business world. The program, and the leaders who graduated from it, made Broad’s name synonymous with a brand of school reform despised by teachers unions.

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Broad, who was born in the Bronx and raised in Detroit, also gave significant sums to Jewish causes, including the Jewish Federation of Los Angeles, eJewish Philanthropy reported.

In 2007, Broad gave $1 million to the National Museum of American Jewish History in Philadelphia. He also gave to the Peres Center for Peace and Innovation, a nonprofit founded by late Israeli President Shimon Peres aimed at fostering cross-cultural ties in the Middle East through economic and leadership programs.


He was notorious among charities for micromanaging his projects and withdrawing pledged funds if he did not believe the charity was meeting the goals he set.

“When Eli gives, it is like negotiating a business deal,” Lynda Resnick, a fellow board member on the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, said in the Times 2010 profile of Broad. “It is not altruistic. It is not blind charity. And there is a difference between being generous and being charitable. But it doesn’t matter in the end because the good was still done.”

—JTA News and Features

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