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Mount Vernon Celebrates George Washington's Birthday with $10 Million "Birthday Gift" from David Rubenstein to Support Library

Sun, 02/24/2013

For Immediate Release
February 24, 2013
Digital images available

Media Contact:
Melissa Wood (703) 799-5203
mwood@mountvernon.org

Mount Vernon Celebrates George Washington’s Birthday with $10 Million "Birthday Gift" from David Rubenstein to Support Library

MOUNT VERNON, VIRGINIA—While George Washington may not have lived to celebrate his 281st birthday, the organization that safeguards his beloved Virginia estate had cause to celebrate the occasion, announcing a generous gift from one of the nation’s foremost philanthropists. The Mount Vernon Ladies’ Association marked Washington’s birthday by announcing that David M. Rubenstein is donating $10 million to support the construction and endowment of its latest initiative, a library to house Washington’s books and papers and to serve as a center for scholarly research and leadership training.  Currently under construction just outside the main entrance to the estate, The Fred W. Smith National Library for the Study of George Washington will open September 27, 2013.

Rubenstein’s gift marks a significant milestone in Mount Vernon’s capital campaign for the construction of the National Library, which launched in February of 2010. “With this one extraordinarily generous act of philanthropy, Mr. Rubenstein's ‘birthday gift’ to General Washington has allowed us to exceed our capital campaign goal of $100 million ahead of schedule,” said Mount Vernon’s president, Curt Viebranz. “We hope that this will inspire others to step forward to support this initiative before the campaign concludes.”

"Like George Washington, David Rubenstein is a true patriot and an inspiring leader, and we are honored that his legacy will be a part of this Library,” said Ann Bookout, who serves as the Regent, or chair, of the Association, which owns and operates George Washington’s estate. “The Mount Vernon Ladies’ Association is truly honored and most grateful to have Mr. Rubenstein at our side as we fight the good fight for George Washington as an example of the strong and effective leadership that every nation deserves.”

In recognition of Rubenstein’s generosity, the Library’s largest meeting space will be named the David M. Rubenstein Leadership Hall. A focal point for the new National Library, the Rubenstein Leadership Hall will house lectures, seminars, and other functions for leaders from government, the military, not-for-profits, and corporations, as well as scholars, educators, and students.  The fully-wired facility will also allow for the broadcasting of programs to broader audiences around the globe.

The gift also directs $4 million toward the establishment of the David M. Rubenstein Rare Books and Manuscripts Endowment, which will enable Mount Vernon to grow and sustain its collection of original volumes and documents.

Rubenstein has also generously provided the seed funding for a new initiative, the Mount Vernon Fellows Program, which will bring college students from across the country to Mount Vernon to study Washington’s lessons of leadership.  The program is designed to identify and nurture a next generation of leaders.

A Mount Vernon supporter and a pillar of the Washington, D.C. philanthropic community, Rubenstein is Co-Chief Executive Officer and Co-Founder of The Carlyle Group, a global alternative asset manager based in Washington, DC. Mr. Rubenstein is actively involved in a range of civic and philanthropic endeavors, including serving as Chairman of the Kennedy Center, Regent of the Smithsonian Institution, President of the Economic Club of Washington, and on the Boards of Directors or Trustees of Duke University (Vice Chair), the Brookings Institution (Vice Chair), the Council on Foreign Relations (Vice Chair), and the Institute for Advanced Study.

“I hope that Americans will always keep in mind how much George Washington meant to the founding of this great nation, and how his examples of sterling character and unbiased leadership provide a timeless example for leaders of today and the future,” said Rubenstein.  “Mount Vernon has accepted a growing responsibility for reaching and teaching people – on all fronts, of all ages, and from all walks of life.  No other organization has the unique resources and the determination to accept this formidable challenge, and perhaps my gift may catalyze others who are in a position to help.” Rubenstein’s recent philanthropic activities include major gifts to the Kennedy Center, National Archives, Washington Monument, and Smithsonian Institution.

For more information about The Fred W. Smith National Library for the Study of George Washington, visit mountvernon.org/library.

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Since 1860, more than 80 million visitors have made George Washington’s Mount Vernon the most popular historic home in America.  Mount Vernon is owned and operated by the Mount Vernon Ladies’ Association, America’s oldest national preservation organization, founded in 1853.  A private, non-profit organization, the Mount Vernon Ladies’ Association does not accept government grants or tax dollars, relying instead on ticket sales, retail and dining purchases and donations. The Association’s latest venture, The Fred W. Smith National Library for the Study of George Washington, will open September 27, 2013. The Library will safeguard Washington’s books and papers and will serve as a center for scholarly research and leadership training.

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