Why and how Eli Broad is giving billions away

Morley Safer profiles the billionaire, who keeps a keen eye on how his donations are spent

In this era of belt tightening, it's kind of refreshing to take a look at people whose happiest pastime is to give money away. Such a man is 77-year-old Eli Broad, a self-made billionaire, art collector and for the past ten years one of the most consistently generous philanthropists in America - supporting education reform, medical research and the arts. Broad also wants to transform that sprawling monster of a city Los Angeles into a cultural capital.

Broad thinks big, but his critics say he can act very small: that he may give billions away, but that he tries to micromanage almost every dollar he gives. Broad doesn't really care what they say - all he wants to do is die poor. Well, relatively poor.

"I believe in two things: One, Andrew Carnegie said, 'He who dies with wealth dies in shame.' And someone once said, 'He who gives while he lives also knows where it goes,'" Broad told "60 Minutes" correspondent Morley Safer.

There's no one quite so civic minded in America. Broad and his wife Edye have become paparazzi pets because of the money they lavish on Los Angeles, so far more than half a billion dollars.

Behold his footprint on Los Angeles. He's a driving force behind 16 major public institutions. In the center of downtown, there is a cultural corridor, anchored by the magnificent Disney Hall, home of the Los Angeles Philharmonic. Next to it is the home of the Los Angeles Opera, The Museum of Contemporary Art, The High School for the Performing Arts, and The School of Music.

In greater Los Angeles, three scientific research centers, a theatre, an art center, and another contemporary art museum are supported by Broad. He puts his name on almost all of them.

Extra: Investing in science
Extra: Eli and Edye Broad's "joint venture"
Extra: A peek at the art collection

"You said that your sense of being a wealthy man actually increased the more you gave money away?" Safer asked.

"I think it's true," he replied. "I don't feel I'm here to just maintain the status quo. I'm here to make things better or different."

"And you want the world to know about it by putting your name on all the things you do support?" Safer asked.

"I don't keep it a secret, that's for sure," Broad replied.

Broad took us to Grand Avenue, which he plans to transform into a vibrant city center, rivaling New York's Museum Mile.

Disney Hall, designed by Frank Gehry, almost did not get built. Broad rescued the project by putting up his own money and putting the squeeze on fellow plutocrats.

"It's really become the symbol of our city," Broad told Safer.

And then there's his own museum, The Broad. It's still a parking lot right now, but it will eventually hold his $1.6 billion art collection.

"How much is this going to cost...something approaching a billion dollars?" Safer asked.

"More," Broad said.

Safer and Broad were interrupted by an Angeleno driving by: "Eli, buy the Dodgers. Buy the Dodgers," the man said to Broad from his car.

"'Eli buy the Dodgers.' You could be the George Steinbrenner of Los Angeles?" Safer asked.

"Oh, no, no, no. I've got enough on my plate," he replied.

Broad runs his philanthropic foundation like a for-profit business, not a charity. Charity he says, is just writing checks. He practices what he calls venture philanthropy.

"We don't give it away, we invest it. And we want a return. Remember, I started work as a CPA, so that gave me fiscal discipline in everything I did in business. I guess some of it carries over to philanthropy," he explained.

Produced by Ruth Streeter

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