Phi­lan­thropist Broad cuts back foun­da­tion role

Los Angeles Times - - FRONT PAGE - By Emily Alpert Reyes and David Zah­niser

Eli Broad, 84, an­nounced his retirement Thurs­day. The Eli and Edythe Broad Foun­da­tion has been a pow­er­ful force in Los An­ge­les arts, ed­u­ca­tion and pol­i­tics.

Bil­lion­aire phi­lan­thropist Eli Broad has been a driv­ing force in the in­tel­lec­tual and cul­tural life of L.A., pour­ing money into its uni­ver­si­ties, cham­pi­oning char­ter schools, and help­ing to re­shape its down­town.

Now he is step­ping back from day-to-day op­er­a­tions at the foun­da­tion that bears his name.

Broad an­nounced Thurs­day that he is re­tir­ing im­me­di­ately. In a state­ment, Broad said that although he was in great health, “at age 84, I have de­cided the time has come for me to step back.”

“I think he just wants to spend less time in the of­fice,” said Swati Pandey, spokes­woman for the Eli and Edythe Broad Foun­da­tion. “He works more than a lot of peo­ple half his age.”

Broad, whose retirement was first re­ported by the New York Times, will re­main a foun­da­tion trustee and on the board of the down­town art mu­seum that bears his name. But the move marks a step back from a char­i­ta­ble or­ga­ni­za­tion that has, in many ways, be­come a brand name in L.A.

He and his wife, Edythe, have put more than $4.1 bil­lion into an ar­ray of phil­an­thropic ac­tiv­i­ties, fo­cus­ing on sci­en­tific re­search, ed­u­ca­tion pro­grams, the arts and other ini­tia­tives.

Eli Broad, who grew up in Detroit, moved to Los An­ge­les more than half a cen­tury ago and founded KB Home and Sun Amer­ica. His suc­cess as a busi­ness­man be­came a spring­board to phi­lan­thropy and pol­i­tics.

His foun­da­tion has pro­vided cru­cial fund­ing for stem cell re­search cen­ters at UCLA, UC San Fran­cisco and the Univer­sity of South­ern Cal­i­for­nia. Broad also sought to in­flu­ence de­ci­sions at the Los An­ge­les Uni­fied School District and has been a for­mi­da­ble spender in school board elec­tions, of­ten at odds with the lo­cal teach­ers union.

And his char­ity has been a cru­cial player in re­mak­ing down­town Los An­ge­les: In the mid-1990s, Broad worked with for­mer Mayor Richard Rior­dan to raise funds for the Frank Gehry-de­signed Walt Dis­ney Con­cert Hall, pro­vid­ing $15 mil­lion from

the foun­da­tion. The foun­da­tion gen­er­ated an ad­di­tional $2 mil­lion for the Thom Mayne-de­signed Cal­trans District 7 head­quar­ters, lo­cated in the Civic Cen­ter.

Two years ago, Eli and Edythe Broad opened the Broad mu­seum, which is filled with con­tem­po­rary art­work from their col­lec­tion, on Grand Av­enue.

Broad also has played a piv­otal role in the ef­fort to bring a $1-bil­lion Frank Gehry-de­signed res­i­den­tial and ho­tel com­plex to a site across the street from Walt Dis­ney Con­cert Hall, which stands next to the Broad mu­seum. Construction is ex­pected to start next year.

“His imag­i­na­tion, tenac­ity and gen­eros­ity have helped shape our city, from the arts to ed­u­ca­tion to ar­chi­tec­ture,” Los An­ge­les Mayor Eric Garcetti said in a state­ment. “Eli is only re­tir­ing, which means we’ll have him in our midst for many years to come. I’ll be call­ing on him of­ten.”

When the Broad mu­seum opened, mem­bers of the teach­ers union pick­eted out­side, crit­i­ciz­ing Broad over his sup­port for char­ter schools, which are pub­licly fi­nanced and ex­empt from rules that gov­ern tra­di­tional cam­puses.

Broad bankrolled an in­dus­try that “only serves some kids and that fi­nan­cially un­der­mines our neigh­bor­hood schools,” United Teach­ers Los An­ge­les Pres­i­dent Alex Ca­puto-Pearl said Thurs­day.

In re­ac­tion to the union protests at the mu­seum, a Broad spokes­woman said at the time, “Our only in­ter­est is in sup­port­ing the growth of high-qual­ity pub­lic schools.”

Cal­tech bi­ol­ogy pro­fes­sor David Bal­ti­more, a foun­da­tion board mem­ber, said that ed­u­ca­tion had proved more frus­trat­ing than other ar­eas the foun­da­tion has been in­volved in, such as biomed­i­cal re­search. Nonethe­less, “the im­pact he’s had has been enor­mous.”

Broad was not avail­able for an in­ter­view Thurs­day.

Pandey said that be­fore an­nounc­ing his retirement, Broad had been slowly re­duc­ing his hours at the foun­da­tion of­fice. Last year, long­time foun­da­tion em­ployee Gerun Ri­ley was named as its pres­i­dent; Ri­ley will now take over day-to­day op­er­a­tions from Broad.

Ge­naro Molina Los An­ge­les Times

B I L L I O NA I R E Eli Broad, above in 2015, said in a state­ment that although he was in great health, “at age 84, I have de­cided the time has come for me to step back.”

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