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Eli Broad comes to rescue of LA museum

By Laurie Bennett

January 2, 2009 at 6:39am

Billionaire Eli Broad has agreed to bail out the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles with a gift of up to $30 million.

Broad’s foundation will match up to $15 million in gifts to the museum endowment, and will give another $15 million for exhibitions.

The museum trustees, in turn, agreed not to sell off any part of the collection, to turn down a proposed merger with the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, and to stay in its downtown location.

The pledge comes at a crucial time for the museum, which has had to spend from its endowment to pay for ongoing operations. The financial crisis has also depleted the museum’s reserves.

Broad made his fortune in home building and insurance, selling SunAmerica to AIG in 1999 for $18 billion. In the years since, he and his wife have devoted themselves to philanthropic pursuits. The Broad Foundations, which encompass the Eli and Edythe Broad Foundation and the Broad Art Foundation, have assets of $2.5 billion.

Broad is a trustee of the Museum of Contemporary Art, the L.A. Museum of Art and the Museum of Modern Art. He’s also a regent of the Smithsonian.

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