The U.S. Department of the Interior has announced a $7.5 million gift from private equity mogul and philanthropist David M. Rubenstein to restore the Washington Monument, which closed last August after a magnitude 5.8 earthquake shook the National Mall and caused extensive damage to the historic structure.
The gift, which matches federal funds approved last month by Congress and completes the funding necessary for the project, will support repairs to the exterior and interior of the monument, including mending cracks of up to an inch wide in some of the marble blocks, reinserting mortar, replacing displaced components of the lightning protection system, and correcting damage to the elevator counter-weight frame. Restoration of the monument, which is scheduled to begin after the National Park Service awards a contract in August, is expected to take up to twelve months.
Rubenstein's contribution was made through the Trust for the National Mall, a philanthropic partner of the National Park Service. The trust seeks to raise $350 million over the next five to seven years to restore the mall, a $650 million undertaking.
"On behalf of all Americans, I would like to thank David Rubenstein for his extraordinary gift to repair one of our nation's most hallowed symbols," said Department of Interior deputy secretary David J. Hayes. "Thanks to his patriotism and generosity, we will be able to move forward with the necessary repairs to reopen the monument to the public. With this donation, David continues the great tradition of philanthropists such as Stephen Mather, John D. Rockefeller, Jr., and Andrew Mellon who have made significant donations to our National Park System for the benefit of every American."