Lifestyle & Belief

Billionaire David Rubenstein donates for Washington Monument repairs


A Parks Police helicopter inspects the Washington Monument shortly after an earthquake struck Washington, DC August 23, 2011. One of the strongest earthquakes to strike the U.S. east coast in decades rattled offices Tuesday in downtown Washington and caused panicked evacuations from skyscrapers as far away as New York. The Pentagon, the US Capitol and Union Station in the nation's capital were all evacuated after the 5.9-magnitude quake, which was shallow with its epicenter only 0.6 miles (one kilometer) underground.


Mandel Ngan

Billionaire David Rubenstein has donated $7.5 billion to jumpstart the renovation of the Washington Monument, which has been closed due to damage from last summer’s earthquake, the Associated Press reported.

Rubenstein, co-founder of the private equity firm the Carlyle Group LP, is also quite the history buff. He said he wanted to donate the money in order to repair the cracks near the top of the 555-foot obelisk when it became clear just how damaged it was after the 5.8-magnitude earthquake on Aug. 23, the AP reported. The monument was built and dedicated to the first American president, George Washington.

Read more at GlobalPost: Engineers inspect Washington Monument for quake damage (VIDEO)

His contribution matches the amount that has already been allocated by Congress to fix the Monument, which was closed after being called unsafe, Bloomberg BusinessWeek reported.

“America has been very good to me, and I am humbled to be able to honor the father of our country in this way,” Rubenstein said, Bloomberg BusinessWeek reported.

By August, renovation on the monument will be under way, which will most likely take 10 to 12 months to repair. Not only did the Monument suffer cracks and chipped stones, its elevator and lightning protection system were damaged also during the earthquake, Bloomberg BusinessWeek reported.

Read more at GlobalPost: MLK dedication draws thousands (PHOTOS)

Details of these repair plans were announced on Thursday along with Rubenstein’s hefty donation. Just a month ago, Rubenstein donated $4.5 million to the National Zoo’s cash-strapped giant panda program. Seven months earlier, he gave a $13.5 million gift to the National Archives, the Washington Post reported. His latest donation to the Monument further confirms Rubenstein's identity as a generous benefactor for Washington D.C.’s icons.

Before the earthquake shuttered its doors, the Washington Monument received 1,700 visitors each day.

Read more at GlobalPost: Earthquake closes Washington Monument indefinitely