Eli and Edythe L. Broad Foundation

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The Eli and Edythe L. Broad Foundation, commonly referred to as The Broad Foundation, is a 501(c)(3) established by entrepreneur and philanthropist Eli Broad and Edyth Broad. Its stated mission is to "to advance entrepreneurship for the public good in education, science and the arts."[1] The Broad Foundations reported assets totalling at nearly $3.03 billion in 2015.[2]

The Broad Foundation issues grants to charter school initiatives. It's founder, Eli Broad, is considered a polarizing figure. He identifies as a "liberal democrat" but has been an "ally to Republican and conservative folks through his work on charters."[3] In his own words Broad claims to be "big believer in high-quality public schools and strong accountability for all public schools — traditional and charter." He has also been in feuds with teacher unions over charters.[4]

One of the recipients of Broad Foundation grants is the Broad Center, which states its goal as to "develop transformational leaders in urban public education."[5][2]

Eli Broad is the 78th wealthiest person in the world, with a $6.8 billion net worth[6][7] The foundation's namesakes of the organization live in Los Angeles.[8]

News and Controversy

Relationship with EdPost

A 2017 Huffington Post article states "it seems that Los Angeles billionaire Eli Broad has played a notably dominant role in EdPost." Education Post (aka EdPost) uses "Results in Education Foundation" (RIEF) as its official nonprofit name. RIEF has two affiliates of the Broad Foundation. Peter Cunningham, the executive director of EdPost, told a reporter in 2015 that "[EdPost] wasn’t my idea; I was initially approached by Broad—it was specifically because a lot of reform leaders felt like they were being piled on and that no one would come to their defense."[9]

The same article goes on to say, "Cunningham and his EdPost belong to RIEF donors. However, with its particularly declared presence, of two board members, it seems that Broad has gone above and beyond in assuring its influence over EdPost. Broad seems to really want to dominate the EdPost “conversation.”[9]

Eli Broad Steps Down

In October of 2017, Mr. Broad announced that it was “time to move on" from public life. According to The New York Times "the practical ramifications of Mr. Broad’s decision may be limited" as he had already appointed people to leadership roles within the Broad Foundation.[4]

Feud with Betsy Devos

Despite both being billionaire education activists supporting charter schools, Eli Broad and Betsy Devos had a public disagreement. When Devos was seeking confirmation as the United States Secretary of Education, Broad sent a letter to Senate leaders stating "serious concerns about her support for unregulated charter schools and vouchers as well as the potential conflicts of interest she might bring to the job."[10]

The Washington Post reported that the disagreement between the two "reveals a deep split in the movement to improve public education with corporate-style changes that seek to run schools like businesses and want to greatly expand alternatives to traditional public schools."[11]

Gerun Riley Named President

After joining the Broad Foundation in 2003 as a receptionist, Gerun Riley was named the president of the organization in 2016.[12]

"Uncertainty" with Traditional School Systems

In 2015, the Los Angeles Times reported that Eli Broad was "no longer certain that he wants to reward traditional school districts at all." That came in conjunction with reports that the Foundation had "suspended a coveted, $1-million prize to honor the best urban school systems out of concern that they are failing to improve quickly enough." That award went to traditional schools. Charter school awards, however, such as the $500,000 award established in 2015, were reported to be continuing. According to the Los Angeles Times, "Broad also has bypassed districts by promoting and funding charter schools, which have siphoned students from traditional schools."[13]

Named one of the "Big Three" in "market-based" "overhauling public education"

A 2011 article in Dissent Magazine closely examined the state of educational philanthropy in the U.S. and said the Broad Foundation is one of the Big Three foundations that are pouring money into influencing educational systems throughout the U.S. The "Big Three" includes the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (Microsoft), the Walton Family Foundation (Wal-mart), and the Broad Foundation. The Broad's philanthropy, the article says, promotes market-based goals for overhauling public education, by emphasizing choice, competition, deregulation, accountability, and data-based decision-making. They vehicles they fund to achieve their goals are: charter schools, high-stakes standardized testing for students, merit pay for teachers whose students improve their test scores, firing teachers and closing schools when scores don’t rise adequately, and longitudinal data collection on the performance of every student and teacher. "The education reform movement’s success so far has depended on the size and clout of the Gates-Broad-Walton triumvirate," the Dissent article states.[14]


Eli Broad made his fortune through the creation of KB Home (a homebuilding company) and SunAmerica, Inc., a financial company. He and his wife, Edythe, both attended Detroit Public Schools, and then he attended Michigan State University. Eli graduated with a degree in accounting and become the youngest Certified Public Accountant in Michigan history. After working as an accountant for two years, Eli Broad noticed that his homebuilding clients were making far more than he was, and he and Edythe’s cousin’s husband decided they could build houses, too. Eli Broad and Donald Kaufman together founded Kaufman and Broad with the idea that if they built houses without basements (since by then, the widespread use of gas heating rendered basements to store coal unnecessary), they could offer homes with mortgage payments lower than the rent for a two-bedroom apartment. The first weekend in 1956, they priced their houses at $13,740. They sold out that same weekend and that was the start of a successful business. In 1971, Kaufman and Broad acquired a small life insurance company for $65 million that they eventually turned into a retirement savings empire. In 1999, SunAmerica merged into AIG, which purchased the business for $18 billion, and Eli Broad stepped down as CEO and became a full-time philanthropist.[15]

The Broad Academy

The Broad Academy is part of the Broad Center. The Academy states that it "is an advanced development program for leaders who have established careers -- most from public education -- and are ready to serve large urban school districts, state departments of education and public charter school networks."[2]

Graduates of the 2015-2016 cohort are:[16]

Core Financials

According to 990 tax forms:[17]


  • Total Revenue: $150,227,391
  • Total Expenses: $151,816,830
  • Total Assests: $1,756,218,993


  • Total Revenue: $99,327,995
  • Total Expenses: $103,986,182
  • Total Assests: $1,842,260,094


  • Total Revenue: $131,074,631
  • Total Expenses: $166,784,746
  • Total Assests: $1,941,410,735

Grants Distributed

Currents grantees of the Broad Foundation as of Oct. 2018 are:[18]

A full list of grantees can be found on ther "Grants and Contributions Paid During the Year or Approved for Future Payment" on the foundations 990-PF tax documents. 2016, the most recent publicly avaliable document, can be found here

Board of Governors (2015)

According to the Broad Foundation, the 11-member board of governors "advises Eli and Edythe Broad in their philanthropic initiatives." Current Members:[19]

Former Members:[20]

Sourcewatch resources

External resources


  1. Broad Foundation about us organizational website, accessed Oct 3, 2018
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 The Eli and Edyth L. Broad Foundation 2015-2016 Annual Report Organizational report, accessed Oct 3, 2018
  3. Arianna Prothero and Francisco Vara-Orta As Eli Broad Steps Down, Will His Influence on K-12 Education Last? Education Week Oct 16 2017
  4. 4.0 4.1 Adam Nagourney and Adam Popescu Eli Broad, Patron of Los Angeles, to Step Down From His Philanthropy The New York Times Oct. 12, 2017
  5. Broad Foundation Current Grantees Organizational website, accessed Oct. 3, 2018
  6. Forbes Eli Broad Forbes accessed Oct 2018
  7. Igor Bosilkovski From Receptionist To President: Gerun Riley's Vision For Leading The Multi-billion Broad Foundation Forbes Oct 28, 2017
  8. Eli and Edythe Broad Foundation About the Broads, organizational website, accessed February 4, 2011
  9. 9.0 9.1 Mercedes Schneider Peter Cunningham’s Education Post Chaperoned By Broad Foundation Huffington Post Oct 18. 2017
  10. Eli Broad Re: Betsy DeVos letter uploaded to Scribd by Emma Brown, accessed Oct. 3 2017
  11. Valerie Strauss Why it’s a big deal that billionaire activist Eli Broad is opposing billionaire activist Betsy DeVos as education secretary Washington Post Feb 1, 2017
  12. Igor Bosilkovskihttps From Receptionist To President: Gerun Riley's Vision For Leading The Multi-billion Broad Foundation Forbes Oct 28, 2017
  13. Howard Blume Broad Foundation suspends $1-million prize for urban school districts LA Times Feb 8. 2015
  14. Joanne Barkan Got Dough? How Billionaires Rule Our Schools, Dissent Magazine, Winter, 2011
  15. Eli and Edythe Broad Foundation About the Broads, organizational web site, accessed February 4, 2011
  16. Broad Foundation Alumni Directory Organizational site, accessed Oct 2018
  17. Nonprofit Explorer The Broad Foundation ProPublica accessed Oct 3 2017
  18. Broad Foundation current grantees organizational site, accessed Oct 3 2017
  19. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named 2015 report
  20. Board Foundation 2009/10 Annual Report, Eli and Edythe L. Broad Foundation, accessed February 4, 2011.