Eli Broad, philanthropist who remade Los Angeles, dies at 87

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JTA STAFF

(JTA) — Eli Broad, the Jewish philanthropist with a reputation for insisting his charitable recipients show a return, has died at 87.

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

Broad’s philanthropy, particularly in his salvaging and building arts facilities, is seen as having remade Los Angeles.

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Born in the Bronx and raised in Detroit, he often said he chose to settle and give in the city because it was young and with a fledgling establishment that would not shun those born without wealth, or who do not belong to the right religion.

“You can come to this city as I did 40 some odd years ago without the right background, familywise, politically, religiously, and be accepted if you’re willing to work hard, have good ideas, and make things happen,” he told the Times in 2010.

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.”

In 2007, Broad gave $1 million National Museum of American Jewish History in Philadelphia.

The Broads signed The Giving Pledge in 2020, a commitment launched to get billionaires to give away at least half their fortune during and after their lifetimes.

Broad’s foundation is worth $2.4 billion and has dispensed hundreds of millions of dollars since he and his wife established it in 1999.

“We are deeply saddened by Eli’s death, but we find some comfort in knowing that his generosity will continue to be an inspiration for all who benefit from the 50 plus years of support for art museums, theaters, educational institutions, or medical research,” his foundation said in a statement.

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