Jack Devlin

The Yale School of Management has received a $100 million donation from the Eli and Edythe Broad Foundation — the largest gift in the school’s history.

The gift will develop teaching and research programs focused on strengthening the leadership of the United States’ public school system, most notably through the establishment of The Broad Center at Yale SOM. The Broad Center — a nonprofit that recruits and trains educators with the goal of reshaping urban public school systems — has operated out of Los Angeles for the past 20 years, and current participants will complete their work under the L.A. team’s leadership before the operation moves to Yale.

The donation will also fund a tuition-free master’s degree program for budding education leaders and enable the creation of both a leadership training program and a research initiative. SOM Dean Kerwin Charles announced the donation in a letter to the SOM community on Thursday.

“I am confident that the center’s ambitions will also resonate with most of [the student body], given the school’s distinctive aspiration since its founding to educate leaders for all sectors — public, private, nonprofit — and the animating belief shared by us all that leaders who attack problems with analytical rigor, energy and caring have profound impact on society,” Charles wrote.

According to a Thursday press release, discussions with The Broad Foundation began shortly after Charles started his term as the Indra K. Nooyi Dean on July 1. In an interview with the News, Joel Getz, senior associate dean for development and alumni relations, said that the process was an “incredibly collaborative effort” between team members at The Broad Foundation, The Broad Center and Yale SOM.

Getz — who has been involved in talks about the donation since July — said that there was an alignment between Charles’ vision and the mission of the foundation. That synergy lent itself to a series of meetings in which
representatives from the foundation, SOM and the center developed ideas for the donation’s use. He also noted that while the gift directly impacts SOM, its ultimate benefit is to children in the K-12 public school system.

“This incredible gift is an affirmation of our fundamental belief that management education, when done ‘SOM-style’ with mission, purpose and in service of society, can have impact far beyond business,” Deputy Dean David Bach wrote in an email. “Our goal is to help make America’s public schools engines of equity and excellence by providing district leaders with the management and leadership skills they need. It’s an incredibly exciting opportunity and an enormous responsibility at the same time.”

The Broad Center’s mission to educate and train future school leaders lends itself to a host of initiatives. The center will offer a one-year master’s degree in education management, in addition to shorter-term, non-degree training programs for professionals already in established positions, such as superintendents and principals. The Thursday press release estimated that together, the two programs will train roughly 50 participants each year.

The donation will also enable SOM to create new faculty positions for top social science researchers who study education and to build out a “research infrastructure,” according to the press release. The release stated that the Broad Center’s move from Los Angeles to Yale will connect SOM students and faculty with over 850 center alumni, benefitting both groups and providing valuable feedback as the program evolves.

“I think today’s news is exciting, but the real excitement will be as the center develops and trains the next generation of leaders in public education,” Getz said.

In Los Angeles, the center has garnered praise for its unique approach to school district management. Still, some have criticized that approach — and the private nature of its training — citing fears that it will dismantle effective aspects of the public school system. Others have critiqued Eli Broad’s “venture philanthropy” approach, saying that his donations enable him to unduly influence educational policy.

In 2013, The Washington Post reported that one of the center’s goals was to reduce “negative [Broad Center] press coverage.”

“The Yale School of Management is distinctive among business schools for its mission to educate leaders for business and society,” said Broad Center Chief Communications Officer Suzi Emmerling. “Furthermore, we expect that the Broad Center at Yale SOM will become a hub of activity related to K-12 education for the entire Yale University campus.”

The Broad family’s history of philanthropic giving spans over 50 years. The Broad Foundation has made similarly sizeable contributions to a variety of institutions, including the Broad Institute in Boston, The Broad — a contemporary art museum in L.A. — and Eli and Edythe Broad Stem Cell centers at the University of Southern California, the University of California at Los Angeles and the University of California at San Francisco. Broad is the only individual to date who has founded two Fortune 500 companies in separate industries — KB Home and SunAmerica.

The Broad Foundation was established in 1999.

Olivia Tucker | olivia.tucker@yale.edu

Olivia Tucker covered student policy & affairs as a beat reporter in 2021-22. She previously served as an associate editor of the Yale Daily News Magazine and covered gender equity and diversity. Originally from the San Francisco Bay Area, she is a senior in Davenport College majoring in English.