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Philanthropic People: Eli and Edythe Broad

Eli and Edythe Broad
Eli and Edythe Broad at an Art Museum Opening.
IMG: arcticpenguin via Flickr

Eli and Edythe Broad are lovers of art and culture, and are dedicated to social responsibility and to helping others in need. The husband and wife duo are lifelong philanthropists, with a net worth in the billions. By 2012, the Broads had given $3.5 billion to charities that benefit education, the arts, science, and the general public, and their multiple foundations are leaders in humanitarian work and monetary giving.

After spending many years engaged in entrepreneurial work with Fortune 500 companies, Eli Broad decided to retire from that line of work and focus all of his time and energy on philanthropy. His wife of 57 years, Edythe, couldn’t have been happier, and together, the couple has made a significant mark on various industries by giving back and proactively working to improve education, as well as the arts and sciences.

Because their desire to impact multiple civic arenas is so great, the Broads created not one, but four foundations that each focus on specific areas of humanitarianism. According to their overarching mission statement for the foundations, the goals the Broads have in mind include: “transforming K-12 urban public education through better governance, management, labor relations, and competition; making significant contributions to advance major scientific and medical research; fostering public appreciation of contemporary art by increasing access for audiences worldwide; leading and contributing to major civic projects in Los Angeles.”

Apart from the Eli and Edythe Broad Foundation and the Broad Art Foundation, which have assets of $2.1 billion, Eli and Edythe also created sub-foundations that focus on science, education, and civic issues specifically. With a focus on the ways in which entrepreneurship can impact these areas, the Broads’ efforts have been particularly instrumental in advancing the arts and L.A.-based civic projects

One of the greatest recent achievements of the Broad Art Foundation is its creation of The Broad Art Museum, a new contemporary art museum built by Eli and Edythe on Grand Avenue in downtown Los Angeles. The museum is set to open in late 2014, and will be home to nearly 2,000 works of art from the Broads’ personal collections and their art foundation. This museum is an extension of the original vision the couple had of creating a massive lending library of contemporary artworks, and is a physical symbol of the tremendous work they have done to advance the arts in America.

From science and medical research funding, to education grants and arts-based philanthropy, there are few industries that have remained untouched by the Broads’ immense generosity. For more information on these lifelong philanthropists, visit The Broad Foundations online.

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One Percent for Culture

One Percent for Culture
IMG: via One Percent for Culture

The New York art scene is one of the liveliest and most thriving ones in the country.  However, many artists and performers never get the chance to be seen or heard from due to the cost of making a living there.  You’ve probably heard about all the starving artists.  Well, hello New York City! Don’t you care?

It turns out that some people do care – a lot, actually.  With more than “1,300 cultural organizations and thousands of artists spanning across all five boroughs, neighborhoods, and city council districts,” there is certainly a lot of creation going on.

Many people are now banding together in a non-partisan grassroots effort to get the city of commit to owning up to the demand for and value of culture.  This group, known as One Percent for Culture, is pushing the city to commit to giving one percent of the budget to the arts and cultural endeavors.  One percent is such a tiny amount considering what we get out of it.

There is the monetary aspect, under which 120,000 jobs and $8.1 billion are created by the non-profit culture.  Also, 24 million tourists visit cultural offerings in NYC each year.

Then there is the side of things which cannot be quantified in money.  It’s the part that feeds our psyches and souls.  Yet, public support for these organizations is less than one-fourth of one percent of the city’s budget.

The group argues that, “These organizations and individuals bring jobs to our families, customers to our merchants, revenue to our small businesses, and vitality to our city. They stimulate our minds and provide supplemental education to millions of New York City students.”

Some sponsors of One Percent for Culture are the Asian American Arts Alliance, the Broadway Association and the Center for Arts Education among others.

Getting involved in the spirit of giving is nothing new to many New York residents and organizations, including the Carl Mattone real estate group, yet another sponsor of the initiative.  Carl Mattone has donated to many other causes over the years including U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, the Little Neck-Douglaston Memorial Day Parade fund, the Queens Library Foundation, and a number of Catholic charities throughout Brooklyn and Queens.

Only time will tell if the city gets on board with One Percent for Culture or ignores their efforts entirely.

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Adam Lambert Donates “Birthday”

adam lambert
IMG: Featureflash / Shutterstock.com

This year, Adam Lambert decided he didn’t need any gifts for his birthday. Instead of making his 31st a traditional celebration where people fawn and bestow unnecessary gifts, the birthday boy is asking that anyone wanting to wish him a happy birthday instead donate to the We Are Family Foundation (WAFF).

Lambert is exercising his philanthropy bone by encouraging his fans to donate $31 to WAFF in exchange for which they will be able to record a short birthday greeting to send to him. Those donating less than $31 will be included as well, and will get to sign the “world’s biggest” birthday card.

It would seem that so far, Lambert’s proposal has paid off—the foundation has already received over $16,000 in donations for his birthday. Apparently fans just need to be encouraged a little bit to be more charitable. It also helps that WAFF is a heartwarming organization on a powerful mission.

WAFF is a nonprofit “dedicated to the vision of a global family by creating and supporting programs that inspire and educate the next generation about respect, understanding and cultural diversity—while striving to solve some of our biggest global problems at the same time.”

The foundation strives to bring peace to people of all cultures, and to connect us together by reminding us of our common bond of humanity. Lambert will be honored at the WAFF 2012 Celebration Gala with the Unity Award. The Gala will be hosted by Rosie Perez and Toure and will take place at the Hammerstein Ballroom in New York on Thursday, January 31st. He is also set to perform with Nile Rodgers at the gala.

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CSR Culture & Capitalistic Philanthropy

corporations
IMG: via Shutterstock

Today, people want to look at corporations and see real people doing real things to influence social change. They want the employees to be engaged in philanthropic activities and the executives to be committed to making the world a better, more sustainable place for us all. This has led to huge growth in the area of CSR, or Corporate Social Responsibility.

More companies are implementing philanthropic initiatives and CSR programs into their corporate culture. By doing so, corporations win on three different levels, says Evan Kirkpatrick of Forbes. They become “valuable to clients, profitable for the organization, and [start] positively effecting the world.”

Kirkpatrick calls out three elements as key to moving corporations and other organizations into what he calls “capitalist philanthropy.” First, organizations must choose a cause to stick to. It can be anything from medical research to poverty to the lack of proper medical care in developing nations. The only catch, Kirkpatrick says, is investing in a cause that you, your family, or the community has some connection to—something that has an affect and that you can be passionate about.

Next, there must be some sort of announcement or launch of the CSR “vision.” Though you can also share this information via social media, e-mails, and memos, its main announcement needs to be to an actual, physical room full of people. This is the only surefire way to get others’ attention, explain the situation, and potentially gain support (either in donations or volunteers).

Lastly, Kirkpatrick says that organizations must be able to keep the momentum for CSR going, keep the ball rolling even when there aren’t any rewards or recognition. Communicate any successes with people to keep them interested, informed, engaged, and excited.

Being involved in CSR or “capitalist philanthropy,” as Kirkpatrick calls it, is a great way to not only impact the world in a positive way; it’s a great way to attract positive and passionate people to your organization.