With a donation of $7.5 million, billionaire David Rubenstein supported the effort to restore the Washington Monument.
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The Washington Monument in Washington DC was reopened this week after having been closed for almost three years for renovations. The iconic monolith, which towers over America’s capital, was damaged in an earthquake in 2011. The repairs cost $15 million, half of which was paid for by David Rubenstein.
Speaking at the re-dedication ceremony, Rubenstein said, “Many Americans have had good fortune. I have had good fortune. And I really wanted to give back to the country and this is just a down payment on my obligation to pay back the country for what it has done for me and my family.”
US Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell, whose cabinet department is responsible for all of America’s national monuments, said of the donation, “Seven and a half million dollars, which is incredible. Thank you David.”
His donation to the Washington Monument is an example of what Rubenstein calls patriotic philanthropy. His other patriotic charitable donations include $10 million each to the restoration of George Washington’s Virginia home, Mt. Vernon, and Thomas Jefferson’s Virginia estate, Monticello. He also bought the British Magna Carta in an auction at Sotheby’s for $21 million, which is now on display at the David M. Rubenstein Gallery of the National Archives in Washington DC.
On that acquisition he said, “The things that enable me to rise up from modest circumstances are kind of the freedoms so I really want to do something about it and I decided I was going to go buy the Magna Carta.” Rubenstein feels that he has a patriotic duty to help restore America’s symbols and monuments to its heritage since the nation allowed him to be an entrepreneur.
David Mark Rubenstein, 73, is a co founder and co chief executive officer of the Carlyle Group, a global private equity firm based in Washington DC. With a current estimated net worth of $2.9 billion, down from more than $3 billion due to all of his charitable donations, Mr. Rubenstein is a self made man from Baltimore who earned a law degree from the University of Chicago.
Well known for his philanthropy, Rubenstein sits on the board of institutions such as The Kennedy Center for the Arts and The University of Chicago. He first founded Carlyle in 1987.
Rubenstein is married to the publisher, business executive, philanthropist, and arts patron, Alice Rogoff. She once worked for US News and World Report and The Washington Post and recently purchased the Anchorage Daily News. The couple have been married since 1983.