Eli and Edythe Broad Pledge to Give 75 Percent of Their Wealth to Charity

Eli and Edythe Broad Pledge to Give 75 Percent of Their Wealth to Charity

Eli Broad and his wife, Edythe, have pledged 75 percent of their wealth to charity as part of a campaign launched by fellow billionaires Warren Buffett and Bill and Melinda Gates to encourage the richest Americans to give most of their wealth to charitable causes and organizations, Bloomberg Businessweek reports.

Broad, the former chairman of insurer SunAmerica and founder of homebuilder KB Home, and his wife have already given more than $2 billion through their foundations to support education, scientific and medical research, and the arts, including $600 million to establish the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard University. The couple's pledge to give away the majority of their wealth during their lifetimes and/or at death was made as part of the Giving Pledge, an effort launched last week by the Gateses and Buffett to encourage the nation's billionaires, starting with those on the Forbes 400 list, to give at least 50 percent of their wealth to charity.

"We agree with Andrew Carnegie's wisdom that 'the man who dies rich, dies disgraced,'" the Broads said in a statement to Bloomberg Businessweek. "Philanthropy is unbelievably rewarding, and we hope others will also realize the benefits of being active, engaged philanthropists."

The campaign's three principals have themselves pledged the vast majority of their wealth to charity; Buffett, for instance, has committed to give away more than 99 percent of his estimated $47 billion fortune within ten years of his death. Although the Broads are the first philanthropists to publicly announce a commitment as part of the campaign, several wealthy Americans, including New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg, have voiced their support. "[The Giving Pledge] is a fantastic idea," said Bloomberg. "I am a big believer in giving it all away and have always said that the best financial planning ends with bouncing the check to the undertaker."

Katya Kazakina. "Broad Commits 75% of Wealth to Charity, Takes Buffett Pledge." Bloomberg Businessweek 06/16/2010. Katya Kazakina. "Broad, Bloomberg Back Buffett Call for Charitable Donations." Bloomberg Businessweek 06/17/2010.