Abraham Lincoln might be rising up out of his chair to thank this Washington, D.C. businessman.
Rubenstein, who has contributed heavily to the National Park Service and Smithsonian Institution in the past has donated $18.5 million to fund the most extensive renovations to the Lincoln Memorial since it opened in 1922.
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Fixing the damage from the 2011 earthquake that rattled the region is number one on the to-do list. The project, expected to be finished in 2019, will also add an elevator to improve accessibility and scrub decades of dirt and grime from the Memorial’s walls. It will also fund renovations in the basement that holds educational programs and displays.
“These improvements will hopefully enable more people to better understand and appreciate Abraham Lincoln’s remarkable leadership during one of the most trying periods in American history,” said Rubenstein, co-founder of The Carlyle Group, a Washington, DC-based banking investment group. “I am humbled to be a part of honoring this great man and preserving this iconic memorial for future generations.”
Rubenstein is also one of the signers of The Giving Pledge, a group of millionaires and billionaires who’ve promised to donate at least half their wealth to philanthropic causes or charities.
The Memorial is patterned on a Greek Doric temple, with flowing steps rising to a larger than life, seated statue of Abraham Lincoln, America’s 16th president. His “Gettysburg Address” and “Second Inaugural Address” — among the greatest speeches ever delivered on American soil — are engraved from ceiling to floor on its interior walls. In 1963, Martin Luther King, Jr. delivered his “I Have a Dream” speech from the Memorial’s steps.
Rubenstein’s gift, announced on Presidents’ Day in February, is his fourth, and largest, donation, which he calls “patriotic giving” to the National Park Service. He also funded repairs to the Washington Monument, which was cracked during the earthquake.
Also, the National Park Foundation, the official charity of America’s national parks, launched a $350 million fundraising campaign to raise money for the parks and commemorating the National Park Service’s 100th anniversary. The Foundation has already raised more than $200 million on their own starting in October 2013. The money raised will provide for “transformative investments” to protect special places and “connect more people from all backgrounds to parks”. The campaign will continue through September 2018.
Photos: Jason OX4, CC; World Economic Forum, CC; m01229, CC
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