Donald Bren, an American businessman, was born on May 11, 1932. He now serves as chairman and owner of the Irvine Company, a US real estate development firm.
Bren ranks number 112 on the 2023 Forbes Billionaires List with a net worth of $16.1 billion.
Donald Bren Bio/Wiki
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Early life and Education
Milton Bren and Marion Newbert are the parents of Bren. His mother Marion was a well-known civic figure, while his father Milton was a navy commander, talent agency, and prosperous movie producer. While his father was of Jewish ancestry, his mother had some Irish ancestry. In 1948, his parents got divorced.
In 1948, Bren’s father wed again, this time to Oscar-winning actress Claire Trevor. In 1953, his mother got remarried to a steel industry executive, Earle M. Jorgensen. Bren earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration and economics from the University of Washington. He belonged to the fraternity Beta Theta Pi.
He tried out for the 1956 Olympic ski team, but due to an injury, he was unable to participate. He served as an officer in the US Marine Corps after graduating from college.
Donald Bren Personal life And Family
Bren has had three marriages. Cary Bren, who was born in 1959, was the president of California Pacific Homes in Orange County. He has three children from his previous marriage to Diane Bren. Real estate developer and former professional auto racer Steve Bren was born in 1960. In 1977, he wed Mardelle Bren for the second time.
Ashley Bren, their only child, was born (born 1968). In a religious ceremony held at the All Saints Episcopal Church in Beverly Hills, California, in May 1998, Bren, an Episcopalian, wed Brigitte Muller, an entertainment lawyer born in La Jolla, California. He lives in Newport Beach, California, with his wife. In 2003, their son was born.
Bren also has three kids from two previous relationships.
With a $10,000 loan, Bren constructed his first home in Newport Beach in 1958. In 1958, he created the Bren Company, a house construction company in Orange County, California, and so began his entrepreneurial career. In order to design and construct the city of Mission Viejo, California, he cofounded the Mission Viejo Company (MVC) with two other individuals in 1963 and bought 10,000 acres. Bren presided over MVC as president from 1963 to 1967.
Following the recession, International Paper gave the Bren Co. back to Bren for $22 million in 1972 after purchasing it for $34 million in 1970. Bren used the money to buy the 146-year-old Irvine Company in 1977 along with a group of investors. With a 34.3 per cent stake in the firm and the designation of vice-chair of the board, Bren was the consortium’s largest stakeholder.
He was elected board chairman and the company’s main owner by 1983. He had acquired all outstanding shares by 1996 in order to become the business’s sole owner. Bren, who controls not just how people live and shop but also who governs them, “wields more influence than Howard Hughes ever did, maybe as much as any guy in America over a concentrated territory,” according to OC Weekly in 2005.
Simply, Orange County looks like Orange County…because of the impact of [Donald Bren],” the Los Angeles Times noted in 2006. “What I learnt was that when you retain property over the long term, you’re able to build greater values and you have something concrete to show for it,” Bren explained his real estate investing approach in an interview in 2011 Bren is the richest US real estate developer and the 32nd-richest American according to Forbes’ 2019 edition of “The 400 Richest Americans,” with an estimated net worth of $17 billion.
The Irvine Company is said to be the owner of more than 120,000,000 square feet (ft.2) of property, the majority of which is in Southern California. A few hotels, marinas, golf courses, 550 office buildings, 125 residential complexes, and more than 40 retail centres are among the company’s properties. He presently holds 97 per cent ownership in the Manhattan Met Life skyscraper.
Bren was recognised as one of the top ten philanthropists in the country by BusinessWeek in 2008 for his more than $1 billion in donations to a variety of organisations, including education, conservation, and research.
The National Philanthropy Day of Orange County presented Bren with the “Donald Bren Legacy of Giving Award” in 2010. Bren stated that he “does attempt to provide the same amount of focus to both my humanitarian and business efforts” while discussing his charity activity at the time.
Education sector philanthropy
More than $200 million has been contributed by Education Bren to fund initiatives in Southern California’s K–12 public schools and higher education institutions. The University of California, Irvine, University of California, Santa Barbara, and Chapman University are just a few of the Californian colleges that have profited from many of Bren’s efforts.
Bren “has provided more to fund endowed chairs than any other single donor in UC’s history,” according to the university. He has made donations to assist its professors and activities both privately and through the Donald Bren Charitable Trust. In recognition of his support for the university, UC Irvine has called the Donald Bren Events Center, Donald Bren School of Information and Computer Sciences, and Donald Bren Hall.
His stepmother’s name is also used for the university’s Claire Trevor School of the Arts. In addition, Bren Hall and a graduate programme named after him at UC Santa Barbara are called the Bren School of Environmental Science & Management.
Bren donated money to the Bren School of Environmental Science and Management in order to “improve and reinforce the school’s core multidisciplinary programmes, staff, and special activities.” Bren’s goal of creating a world-class university that offers an interdisciplinary programme in environmental science, management, and policy has been a huge source of inspiration and leadership for the Bren School, according to UC Santa Barbara Chancellor Henry T. Yang, who was speaking about the school’s continued support from Bren.
Bren made a $20 million donation to the freshly founded UC Irvine School of Law in August 2007. The donation’s goals included creating an endowment to facilitate the hiring of a nationally renowned dean and 11 eminent legal experts as well as giving the dean some initial discretionary funds.
The institution was initially known as the UC Irvine Donald Bren School of Law in honour of the gift. Bren and the university came to an arrangement in 2008 that the university would not be named after him. The law school’s dean, Erwin Chemerinsky, stated, “We are profoundly appreciative of the Bren donation, but the chancellor and Mr Bren agreed that our name should be similar to other UC institutions.”
As a trustee at the California Institute of Technology, Bren funded five Bren Professorships and sponsored five new faculty members as Bren Scholars. Additionally, Bren gave $1 million to the Marine Corps University in Quantico, Virginia, in 2003. Two academic chairs with a focus on ethics and leadership and innovation and change were endowed with the money.
Bren has made important contributions to California’s K–12 public schools in addition to higher education. He has backed THINK Together, a Southern California company that offers after-school programmes for children in grades K–12. Bren made his first commitment to this charity in 2001, enabling the after-school programme in the Santa Ana region to expand its services to 40 schools.
Over a ten-year period, more than 10,000 pupils would profit from the donation, according to the officials. Additionally, Bren gave $20 million in 2006 to the Irvine Unified School District in Irvine, California. The district would hire art, music, and science instructors with the help of this grant. Over a ten-year period, the money would assist kids in grades four through six by providing them with access to music, art, and science activities.
In addition to the $25 million that Bren gave to Irvine schools in 2000, this gift is also being made. Former Irvine Public Schools Foundation CEO Tim Shaw claims that the yearly grant “sowed the strong public support of basic arts, music, and science education.”
In The (London) Sunday Times’ “Green Rich Ranking” (a list of the 100 wealthiest people who have either invested in green technologies or enterprises or have significantly subsidised environmental causes), he was rated ninth in March 2009. Bren’s inclusion on the list was made possible by his $20 million in gifts to the School of Environmental Science at UC Santa Barbara.
Bren gave 55,000 acres (220 km2) of property during a 30-year period for use as parks, greenways, leisure areas, and wilderness preserves. Bren’s objectives and promise to maintain more than 50% of the historic Irvine Ranch’s 93,000 acres are fulfilled by the donated acreage (380 km2). Of this, the Irvine Ranch National Natural Landmark, covering 40,000 acres (160 km2), was recognised.
Arnold Schwarzenegger, the governor of California, said during a ceremony in 2006 to commemorate this designation at Crystal Cove State Park “This gift that [Bren’s] given to [California] is just amazing. Donald Bren embodies the highest level of kindness. Not just what he provides to the environment, but also what he consistently gives back to the community, whether it be via his investments of tens of millions of dollars in the arts, music, education, or the environment to preserve it.
He is a remarkable dude.” Due to the land’s biological importance, the state of California also named it the first California Natural Landmark in 2008. Bren, a trustee of the California Institute of Technology, funded five Bren Scholars to assist emerging faculty. The Irvine Ranch Conservancy is in charge of managing the protected area, which was formerly a part of Irvine Ranch.
Bren recently fulfilled his promise to dedicate more than 50,000 acres of the original 93,000-acre ranch as open space by donating 20,000 acres (81 km2) of open space and parkland to Orange County, California, in June 2010. The greatest donation of private land to public ownership in Orange County history, the gift was approved by the Board of Supervisors with a unanimous vote.
He was honoured for giving Orange County more than 20,000 acres of unspoiled wilderness in the same year, with the condition that it always remain open space. The Irvine Company announced plans to donate and protect 2,500 more acres of property that had previously been approved for housing in August 2014, boosting the percentage of the Irvine Ranch’s conserved areas to 60%. Speaking on Bren’s history of land gifts, former U.S. Secretary of the Interior Gale Norton remarked, “The Irvine Ranch exemplifies what cooperative conservation is all about.
In order to thoughtfully and purposefully create an environment where both people and wildlife can thrive, a conservation-minded corporate citizen is collaborating with local communities, The Nature Conservancy, federal and state agencies, The Nature Conservancy, private citizens, and other partners.
Bren donated $2.5 million in 2007 to the La Jolla, California-based Burnham Institute for Medical Research. The gift created The Donald Bren Presidential Chair, and the funds were utilised to fund the Institute’s research on, among other things, diabetes, cancer, neurodegeneration, and paediatric disorders.
According to a 2011 interview, he is looking at solar energy as a potential humanitarian contribution. BREN QUOTED “In my opinion, solar energy may be the world’s most effective energy source. Based on what little I do know about it, I think there may be a chance for a breakthrough “Professorships in Ren.
Donald Bren Awards
The Orange County Business Journal named Bren “Businessperson of the Year” in 2006 based on the company’s office expansion, new building construction, and Bren being recognised for his conservation efforts by the federal government. In 2006, the Los Angeles Times named Bren as both the most powerful and wealthiest person in Southern California.
Bren received the inaugural Vanguard Award from the Urban Land Institute in 2011, describing him as “one of the most significant developers in American history.” He was included among the top 100 Orange County influencers in 2014 by the OC Register.
Bren was awarded the University of California’s highest distinction, the Presidential Medal, in 2004 as a result of his years of financial contributions, which at the time totalled more than $43 million. “[Bren’s] passionate philanthropy and devotion to educational achievement have helped build the institution,” former UC President Robert Dynes remarked during the award presentation.
Bren was given the Semper Fidelis Award by the Marine Corps University Foundation in 1998, which honours an outstanding American leader who exemplifies the leadership and character traits that are distinctive to the United States Marine Corps. Former Secretaries of State George P. Schultz and George H.W. Bush have both received awards in the past.
In 2003, the General Leonard F. Chapman Medallion—named in recognition of the 24th Commandant of the United States Marine Corps—was also given to Bren by the Foundation. Bren is a trustee for both the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and Caltech. In the field of Business, Corporate, and Philanthropic Leadership, he was chosen as a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts & Sciences in 2007.
Donald Bren Net Worth
As of 2023, Forbes Billionaires List, he is one of the top richest people in the world with a net worth of $16.1 billion. Bren owns Irvine Co., a closely held real estate investment company with headquarters in Irvine, California, and is the primary source of much of his wealth.
According to the corporate website, the corporation has more than 560 office buildings, more than 125 residential complexes, 40 retail locations, five marinas, and three hotel resorts. For Bren’s properties, data from Bloomberg Intelligence, REIS, Real Capital Analytics, and CBRE were used to determine occupancy rates, rent per square foot, and cap rates. Irvine’s commercial, retail, and residential properties were assessed individually, and a debt level of 55% was applied.
To his undeveloped land, there are no liens. Since October 2020, the value has been modified using data from Bloomberg on the price per unit of residences in Los Angeles. More than 53,000 housing units total more than 53,000 units of Bren’s residential rental properties, which are dispersed over Orange County, San Diego, Los Angeles, and Silicon Valley.
40 shopping complexes in Silicon Valley and Orange County make up the company’s retail holdings. In order to indicate a line of credit that Irvine Co. owns through bonds monitored by Bloomberg, a liability of $2.6 billion has been included. Bren’s net wealth was not addressed by Irvine Company spokesman Scott Starkey.
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