They got to know each other 17 years ago, when one cold-called the other for a fundraiser, and now philanthropist Eli Broad and East West Bank CEO Dominic Ng are partners in advancing art and culture in Southern California. The Broad museum of contemporary art in Downtown LA has entered into a new long-term partnership with East West Bank to expand its public programming over the next ten years, such as the upcoming Summer Happenings, a provocative series of late-night performances combining art, live music, DJs, dance, and spoken word.
This effort is the culmination of a long and fruitful relationship between two businessmen and philanthropists who, while coming from different cultures, share modest family backgrounds and big ambitions. Broad, the only businessman to build two Fortune 500 companies in two different industries, is the child of Lithuanian Jewish immigrants—his father worked as a house painter and his mother was a dressmaker. Ng was born in Hong Kong, where his father ran a small bus business after fleeing from Shanghai after China’s civil war. Ng transformed East West Bank from a small savings and loan association into a full-service commercial bank with $35 billion in assets, named by Forbes among the top 15 of “America’s 100 Best Banks” every year since 2010.
Here are video excerpts from their sold-out program at The Broad Oculus Hall, moderated by The Broad Founding Director Joanne Heyler.
On the surprising way they met:
"First thing he told me was... I am not going to give you the four million."
On how they became entrepreneurs:
"Several clients… were home builders. They were doing very well; I didn’t think they were very smart frankly, and I said, maybe I can do that."
On how they became avid art collectors:
"If we can help promote Chinese contemporary art, we will be able to bring in Chinese culture in a different perspective to American society."
On their vision for the future of Los Angeles:
"I always thought that what this region of 14 million people needed was a vibrant center."