Billionaire Pays to Fix Washington Monument

David Rubenstein chips in $7.5M

By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff

Posted Jan 19, 2012 8:33 AM CST

(Newser) – Billionaire history buff and Carlyle Group co-founder David Rubenstein has agreed to chip in $7.5 million to help repair the damage the Washington Monument suffered in the August earthquake that shook the region. Congress had already allocated $7.5 million to the task, and expected an equal amount to be raised privately, the AP explains; Rubenstein says he felt inspired to pick up the entire remaining tab "as a good citizen."

"What greater symbol is there in Washington of our country?" reflects Rubenstein, who last month donated $4.5 million to save the National Zoo's giant panda program, and earlier last year gave $13.5 million to the National Archives (which next month will debut a $21 million copy of the Magna Carta purchased by, yep, Rubenstein). "I am committed to philanthropy," he tells the Washington Post. And public-private partnerships like this one "are a good thing ... because the government doesn't have all the money that it used to have."

Engineers suspended by ropes conduct a block-by-block inspection of the Washington Monument exterior in Washington, DC, on October 3, 2011.   (Getty Images/AFP)
A worker attaches ropes to the top of the Washington Monument, from which four people will rappel down to survey the damage sustained during the Aug. 23 earthquake, in this Sept. 28, 2011 photo.   (AP Photo/Evan Vucci, File)
In this Aug. 24, 2011 file photo a crack is seen on the west side near the pyramid top of the Washington Monument after a 5.8 magnitude struck the Washington area on Aug. 23.   (AP Photo/U.S. Park Police Aviation Unit, File)
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