BROAD, ELI (1933– ), U.S. businessman, philanthropist, art collector. The New York-born only child of Lithuanian immigrants, Broad built two of the largest businesses in the United States from the ground up. He was chairman of aig Retirement Services Inc., formerly SunAmerica Inc., and founder-chairman of kb Home, formerly Kaufman & Broad Home Corporation.
Broad grew up in Detroit and earned an accounting degree from Michigan State University in 1954. In 1957, with $25,000 borrowed from his in-laws, Broad teamed up with a builder, Donald Kaufman, to produce simple low-priced houses (no basements, no garages) for first-time buyers. In the 1960s their company went public and expanded to California, where it became one of the largest builders in a market that was growing spectacularly. (Kaufman left the company shortly after it went public in 1961 and died in a plane crash in 1983.) The business eventually lost its challenge for Broad, and in the early 1970s he devoted himself to his family and to travel. When the California real estate bubble burst in 1973, Broad returned to his company and spent 10 years building it up again. All told, the company constructed more than 500,000 homes. In 1983 Broad decided to devote more of his time to financial issues and philanthropic activities. He also achieved some notoriety as one of the financial backers of Ivan F. *Boesky's and Michael R. *Milken's questionable junk-bond operations.
For his next move, Broad theorized that the people who had bought houses from him were starting to worry about retirement. Kaufman & Broad had a small insurance subsidiary. It was spun off in 1989 to become his next vehicle, SunAmerica, an insurance conglomerate that was the fastest-growing stock on the New York Stock Exchange for much of the 1990s. Broad believed that insurers, selling policies against an early death, should be selling policies to baby boomers who faced a long life that might outpace savings. His solution was annuities. When he sold SunAmerica in 1998 to the insurance giant aig, Broad had amassed the largest fortune in Los Angeles, estimated in 2004 at $4.8 billion. Broad also owned the Sacramento Kings professional basketball team.
Avid supporters of contemporary art, the Broads createdone of the world's finest art collections. Since 1984 the Broad Art Foundation has operated an active "lending library" to more than 400 museums and university galleries worldwide. From 2001 to 2003 an exhibition of their collection was shown at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington, the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, and the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, Spain. The Broads also announced a major gift to build the Broad Contemporary Art Museum at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.
In 1999 the Broads founded the Broad Foundation, whose mission is to dramatically improve urban public education. In its first five years, it committed over $400 million to support new ideas and innovative leadership in the largest urban school systems. In 2001 the Eli and Edythe L. Broad Foundation created the Broad Medical Research Program, which seeks to stimulate innovative research on inflammatory bowel disease. And in June 2003, in partnership with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Harvard University, and the Whitehead Institute, the Broads announced the founding gift to create the Eli and Edythe Broad Institute for biomedical research.
Strong believers in higher education, the Broads made a major contribution to the School of the Arts and Architecture at the University of California at Los Angeles toward the construction of the Edythe L. and Eli Broad Art Center, designed by Richard *Meier. In 1991 the Broads endowed the Eli Broad College of Business and the Eli Broad Graduate School of Management at Michigan State, his alma mater. In addition, the Broads were major contributors to Jewish philanthropic causes, and they were among the early donors of works to the Israeli Museum in Jerusalem.
[Stewart Kampel (2nd ed.)]