Billionaire gives $7.5 million to repair Washington Monument

By Reuters

The billionaire co-founder of Carlyle Group private equity company is donating $7.5 million to restore the Washington Monument, which has been closed since it was damaged by an earthquake in August.

David Rubenstein, a former policy adviser to President Jimmy Carter, plugged the project’s funding gap, matching Congress, which has allocated $7.5 million to repair the monument, the Trust for the National Mall said in a statement on Thursday.

Rubenstein, who is chairman of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts and a regent of the Smithsonian Institute, decided to help repair the monument after it was damaged by a rare 5.8 magnitude earthquake on August 23. It has been closed to the public since.

The monument, a 555-foot obelisk built in 1884 to commemorate the first U.S. president, George Washington, was left with several cracked and chipped stones. The damage includes six large cracks through its marble exterior, making its structure “extremely vulnerable,” officials said.