The Mount Vernon Ladies' Association has announced a $10 million gift from Carlyle Group co-founder David M. Rubenstein to the Fred W. Smith National Library for the Study of George Washington.
The gift, which includes a $4 million endowment for rare books and manuscripts, pushes the capital campaign for the library past its $100 million fundraising goal. Scheduled to open in September on the grounds of the first president's longtime estate, the 45,000-square-foot building will house Washington's books and papers as well as a replica of his personal library and will serve as a center for scholarly research and leadership training for students, educators, and government, military, nonprofit, and corporate officials. In recognition of the gift, which also will support the acquisition of Washingtoniana, the largest meeting space in the library will be named for Rubenstein.
Rubenstein said his donation was part of what he calls "patriotic philanthropy." "[I try] to give back to things that remind people of American history," he said. Rubenstein, who is Jewish, said he was moved by Washington's 1790 letter to the Hebrew Congregation at Newport, Rhode Island, which is regarded as Washington's most prominent pronouncement of religious tolerance.