The American Academy of Arts and Sciences in Cambridge, Massachusetts, has announced a $10 million gift from David M. Rubenstein in support of efforts to strengthen and advance democracy and justice in the United States.
The largest gift in the history of the academy, which was founded in 1780 by John Adams and John Hancock, among others, will support construction of a new building to house, preserve, and improve access to the academy's holdings, which include papers, books, artwork, and audiovisual materials that illuminate the intellectual history of the United States.
The gift also will establish the Rubenstein Fund for American Institutions, with a focus on nonpartisan research, advocacy, and partnerships aimed at strengthening the nation's civic, economic, and judicial systems and encouraging participation in democratic processes. Initial projects to be carried out by the fund include an initiative focused on the growing economic divide in the United States and its implications for the country, as well as efforts to address the challenge of providing legal services for millions of Americans in the areas of family law, housing, access to health care, and veterans' rights.
"The academy's founders believed that our experiment in democracy would face challenges warranting deep and sustained responses. They have been proven right ever since, perhaps especially now," said Rubenstein, co-founder and co-chair of the Carlyle Group, a global investment firm. "This gift helps preserve the legacy of the nation's founding both in letter — literally the writings of some of the most influential minds in history — and in spirit, supporting the ongoing effort that is required to build toward an ever more just and perfect union."