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Story Philanthropy

A Legacy of Impact: Honoring Late Philanthropist, Former CSU Trustee Eli Broad

Hazel Kelly

Broad’s generous legacy throughout the CSU will positively impact generations of students in California.

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Philanthropist and former CSU trustee Eli Broad left a tremendous impact with his charitable contributions to the CSU and public education in California. Courtesy of the Broad Foundation 


​​Eli Broad, entrepreneur, philanthropist and former CSU Trustee, died on April 30, 2021 in Los Angeles at the age of 87. The well-known champion of K-12 and higher education in California was a generous benefactor to the California State University. Broad served as a CSU trustee from 1978 until 1982making a point to visit every campus to better understand each university and the students it served. 

“I am saddened by the loss of a great leader in education, science and the arts. Mcondolences go out to his wife Edythe and the Broad family,” said CSU Chancellor Joseph I. Castro. “The CSU is grateful to Eli for his service as a trustee and for the Broad Foundation’s generosity over the years. We are proud to carry on his legacy through our mission of equitable access to higher education for Californians.” 

Broad’s support for the CSU extended throughout the university system. He was Sacramento State’s most generous benefactor in the history of the university, donating more than $30 million over the years. In 2005 the Eli and Edythe Broad Education Foundation gave the university $2 million toward construction of the athletics field house that bears their nameinspiring other donors to join in the fundraising effort. More recently, Broad’s Placer Ranch Inc. donated 300 acres of land in Placer County—valued at $27.4 million—to Sacramento State to expand access to four-year public higher education in the regionPlacer Ranch has committed to invest additional in-kind gifts to the university for construction of the new off-site educational center. Mr. Broad also donated the first $1 million toward Sacramento State’s first building at the Placer Center. 

Broad was also passionate about the arts and lent his guidance and support in the development of CSUN’s Younes and Soraya Nazarian Center for the Performing Arts (formerly known as the Valley Performing Arts Center), and the Broad Foundation also supported an exhibit at Cal State Long Beach’s University Art Museum. As a former trustee, Broad was also a supporter of the CSU Chancellor’s Office Trustees’ Award program.  

Eli and Edythe Broad established the Broad Foundation in 1999 with the goal of improving urban public education. The foundation committed more than $500 million toward the cause in its first five years. The couple were also longtime supporters of civic development, medical research, science, and the arts. In 2015, they opened The Broad, a free, contemporary art museum in downtown Los Angeles, and are credited with helping reshape the cultural landscape of Los Angeles. 

The son of Jewish immigrants from Lithuania, Eli Broad graduated from Michigan State University in 1954 and went on to build two Fortune 500 companies over a five-decade career in business. Eli and Edythe Broad earned distinction among leading American philanthropists with their support of education, the arts, and science and medical research. Among their contributions to higher education were naming gifts to UCLA, California Institute of Technology, Pitzer College, Michigan State University, and Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Harvard University and Whitehead Institute. In addition to serving as a member of the CSU Board of Trustees, Broad also served as a trustee for Caltech and Pitzer College. Visit the Broad Foundation website to learn more.  

 Visit the CSU Foundation website to learn more about charitable giving to the CSU.  ​

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Eli Broad is survived by his wife Edythe , co-founder of the  Eli and Edythe Broad Education Foundation . Courtesy of the Broad Foundation 

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Sacramento State Placer Center, which will be on 301 acres near the center of the Placer Ranch development, is meant to expand higher education opportunities in the region.