With a leading gift of $50 million by prominent Washington philanthropist David Rubenstein, co-founder of the Carlyle Group, the Kennedy Center has announced a major expansion project to match the growth of the Center’s programming in recent years. The physical expansion will provide classroom and rehearsal space as well as additional outdoor performance venues, including a new floating stage on the Potomac. Rubenstein’s donation toward this $100 million project is “the single largest gift in the institution’s history,” the Washington Post reports.
The proposed expansion will be Rubenstein’s largest gift to any single project. He is the largest donor to the Kennedy Center ever, having given $75 million since becoming chairman. Previous contributions have funded education, outreach and programming.
Rubenstein hopes his donation will encourage other philanthropists to engage in what he calls “patriotic philanthropy,” or giving to federally connected nonprofits in a time of austerity.
“The federal government today cannot afford to do many of the things it would have done before,” Rubenstein said of his donation. “I hope this will encourage other people to give to the Kennedy Center and other organizations that have been helpful to our country.”
For more on how one of the nation’s leading performing arts centers has engaged private donors and continued to expand in the midst of the continuing economic slowdown that threatens U.S. arts funding, check out Michael Kaiser’s remarks from our 2012 Annual Meeting.