Philanthropist and billionaire Eli Broad, the only man ever to build two Fortune 500 companies, describes his strategy of “venture philanthropy” in an extensive profile by Philanthropy magazine. Timed to his acceptance of the 2013 William E. Simon Prize for Philanthropic Leadership, the story reveals Broad’s giving method, a business-like process that involves meticulous research prior to making a donation, and features continued involvement thereafter.
Written by Aaron Gell, former editor-in-chief of the New York Observer, “Playing the Long Game” unpacks a style of philanthropy that other donors are quickly trying to duplicate. Rather than passively writing a check, Broad invokes the entrepreneurial spirit he learned in business and aggressively searches out opportunities where he and his wife Edythe feel drawn to engage. Broad’s most groundbreaking giving has been in education, genomic research, and modern art, all areas where Broad’s investments have been transformative. The article closely examines each of those focuses.
“Playing the Long Game” cites the Broad Superintendents Academy as a prime example of Broad’s style of giving—where the large monetary donation is magnified by smart and active involvement in recruiting and training bright recipients who will then charge into important real-world posts. The Academy was created by Broad to improve our public school system by offering talented business and non-profit executives extensive training to equip them for placement in urban school districts as superintendents. The Academy is founded on a strategy Broad devised after witnessing high levels of academic achievement in foreign countries.
The Broad style of resourceful philanthropy is breathing new life into urban school systems, medical research, and museums across the country, and inspiring wide imitation as the nation’s next generation of philanthropists plans ways to solve pressing societal problems.
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