News & Politics

Billionaire David Rubenstein Sure Funds a Lot of DC Stuff

A quick look at just some of his DC donations.

Construction is beginning on a new visitor center at the Lincoln Memorial, and $18.5 million of the cost was donated by local billionaire David Rubenstein. It’s hardly the first time he’s put his money into local projects. A quick (partial) look:

National Archives

Photograph by Alonso Javier Torres.

In 2007, Rubenstein bought one of four copies of the 1297 Magna Carta. The document is now on display at the Archives. Additionally, he made a $13.5 million gift that led to the creation of the David M. Rubenstein Gallery.

The National Zoo’s giant-panda program

Photograph courtesy of National Zoo.

He donated $4.5 million in 2011 to fund the lovable creatures for five years.

White House Historical Association

Photograph by Prathamesh Kale/Flickr.

Rubenstein put $15 million toward various projects in 2010 and 2014.

George Washington’s Mount Vernon

Photograph courtesy of George Washington’s Mount Vernon.

In 2013, Rubenstein helped fund construction of the Washington Library and helped create the David M. Rubenstein Rare Books and Manuscripts Endowment.

Washington Monument

Photograph by Olga Kaya/iStock.

After the 2011 earthquake, Rubenstein offered more than $10 million to finish repairs.

National Museum of African American History & Culture

The new National Museum of African American History & Culture is a can't-miss stop on your DC bucket list. Photograph by Alan Karchmer.
Photograph by Alan Karchmer.

Rubenstein donated $10 million in 2016 and loaned the museum his rare copies of the 13th Amendment and the Emancipation Proclamation.

Kennedy Center

Photograph of The REACH Courtesy of Kennedy Center.

The Reach, which opened in 2019, was funded by his $50 million gift. (He’s also chairman of the Kennedy Center board.)

US Holocaust Memorial Museum

Photograph by Mr.TinMD/Flickr.

In 2022, Rubenstein announced he’d pay $15 million to help digitize the museum’s collection.

Library of Congress

Photograph by Angel Xavier Viera-Vargas/Flickr.

He supplied $10 million toward construction and improvement of the collections in its Thomas Jefferson Building.


He gave $1 million in 2014 to support the public-­TV station’s programming—and hosts two shows there himself.

DC Public Schools Scholarships

This program, endowed by Rubenstein, has awarded more than $9.7 million to 656 scholars.

This article appears in the April 2023 issue of Washingtonian.
This article was briefly posted with a lead image that was not David Rubenstein; we apologize for any confusion.

Katie Kenny
Editorial Fellow