Community Foundation of New Jersey

What is ‘Partiotic Giving’?

February 21, 2014

The New York Times takes a look at David Rubenstein’s philanthropy which he dubs, “patriotic giving.”

So what is it?  We’ll let the giving tell the story…

From the New York Times (link to full story here):

The expansive reach of David M. Rubenstein into the public life of the nation’s capital can be seen during a brief excursion from his downtown office at the Carlyle Group, the private equity firm that he co-founded and that made him a billionaire.

Begin across the street at the National Archives, the site of the new gallery, named after him, where Magna Carta, which he bought in 2007 for $23 million, is on permanent loan. Then head to the Library of Congress, and see the first map of the United States, also his, in the Great Hall.

Make your way to the earthquake-damaged Washington Monument, which will reopen this spring after a $15 million repair, half paid for by Mr. Rubenstein, then zip to the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, where his $75 million has bought, among other things, a new pipe organ. End up at the National Zoo, where baby Bao Bao frolics in the panda habitat Mr. Rubenstein endowed, part of a $7 million Smithsonian gift.

Over the years, Mr. Rubenstein, who has a fortune estimated at $3 billion, has made gifts to the usual array of universities, hospitals and cultural organizations beloved by wealthy donors. But he stands nearly alone in shoring up institutions generally under the purview of the federal government. About $200 million of the $300 million he has given away has been what he calls “patriotic giving.”

Now here’s the part we found most interesting.  The Times suggests this type of giving is on the rise due, in part, to recent political changes.  Steven Pearlstein, a professor of public and international affairs at George Mason University, says that power was once the “currency” of Washington, DC, but that began to change as government contracting and changes to banking laws created a wealthy class in the District.  Now with the federal government feeling the pinch, philanthropy is filling part of the void.

Of course, giving in the area of American history is not unique to Washington, DC.  To try out some of your own “patriotic giving,” contact Hans Dekker at 973-267-5533.