Foundation spokesperson Suzi Emmerling told the New York Times that Broad's death on Friday at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles came after a long illness. Broad, who built his fortune in two industries — homebuilding and retirement savings — established the foundation with his wife, Edythe, in 1999, after earning $3 billion from the sale of SunAmerica to American International Group in 1998. The foundation has since invested more than $600 million in improving public education and in 2019 awarded $100 million to Yale University to launch an initiative at the university's business school focused on training future generations of public education leaders.
The Broads' investments in scientific and medical research include more than $1 billion for the Eli & Edythe Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, including a recent endowment gift of $150 million. The couple also spearheaded the revitalization of downtown L.A. through their support for the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles and Walt Disney Concert Hall, and later establishing their own art museum, The Broad, with a $140 milion gift.
In 2017, Eli Broad announced that he would be stepping back from the day-to-day operations of the foundation. Founding signatories to the Giving Pledge, the Broads have given a total of $6.9 billion to philanthropic causes and are among ten billionaire individuals and couples receiving a "philanthropy score" of 5 on the 2020 Forbes 400 list, the result of having given more than 20 percent of their wealth to philanthropc and charitable causes over their lifetime.
"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 community, as a husband, father and friend he saw the potential in each of us," Broad Foundation president Gerun Riley wrote in a tweet.
"Los Angeles has lost a true giant tonight, and I've lost a dear friend and cherished philanthropic partner. There won't be another Eli Broad — someone with a bold vision of what this city could be, and the brilliance and sheer force of will to make it happen," said Wallis Annenberg, board chair, president, and CEO of the Annenberg Foundation, in a statement. "In so many ways, he remade LA — and I was fortunate to work closely with him on so many of the goals we shared. I'll miss him terribly, and my heart goes out to Edye and Jeffrey and Gary. But as enormous a loss as this is for me, I know his good works and his legacy will be with us for a long, long time."
(Photo credit: Eli and Edythe Broad Foundation)