WASHINGTON, April 29, 2015 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Today a $5.37 million gift commemorates the bravery of U.S. Marines who gave their lives to defend freedom, and honors the continued patriotism and sacrifice of America's military families. Businessman and philanthropist David M. Rubenstein joined National Park Service Director Jonathan B. Jarvis, National Park Foundation Interim President Dan Wenk and U.S. Marine Corps Major General Michael R. Regner to announce Rubenstein's $5.37 million donation, which will restore and improve the iconic Iwo Jima sculpture and its surrounding parkland in Arlington, Virginia.
The donation is a leadership gift to the National Park Foundation's Centennial Campaign for America's National Parks. This gift advances President Obama's Centennial Initiative for the 100th anniversary of the National Park Service in 2016, a multi-year effort to invest in the national park system's important resources, engage volunteers and the next generation, and leverage public-private partnerships to enhance the national park experience for millions of visitors from around the world.
"Since their beginning, national parks have been the fortunate beneficiaries of visionary and generous people who devoted their time, talent and treasure to creating and preserving them, but these acts of love for one's country and bequests to future generations didn't have a name until David Rubenstein," Jonathan Jarvis, National Park Service director, said. "Not only has David coined the term 'patriotic philanthropy,' he is its epitome. We are grateful for his continued support of America's national parks and the stories they preserve and share."
Mr. Rubenstein's gift will allow the National Park Service to re-gild the engravings on the sculpture's pedestal, wax the sculpture, and improve lighting, landscaping, and infrastructure. This gift will also provide the funding needed to enrich educational materials and park signs, which teach visitors about the significance and importance of the memorial.
"It is a privilege to honor our fellow Americans who made the ultimate sacrifice to attain and preserve the freedoms we enjoy. I hope this gift enables visitors to the Iwo Jima Memorial to better appreciate the beauty and significance of this iconic sculpture, and inspires other Americans to support critical needs facing our national park system," David Rubenstein said.
The memorial was officially dedicated by President Dwight D. Eisenhower on November 10, 1954, the 179th anniversary of the U.S. Marine Corps.
"The Marine Corps War Memorial stands as a symbol of this grateful Nation's esteem for the honored dead of the U.S. Marine Corps. While the statue depicts one of the most iconic photos of World War II, the memorial is dedicated to all Marines who have given their lives in the defense of the United States, since 1775. We are grateful for Mr. Rubenstein's patriotism and generous donation to the National Park Foundation that will ensure this significant memorial continues to honor our fallen and inform public understanding of the cost and nature of their nation's expeditionary force in readiness," Major General Michael R. Regner said.
As the official charity of America's national parks and nonprofit partner to the National Park Service, the National Park Foundation received the gift that will make this restoration at the memorial possible.
"Mr. Rubenstein's transformative gift is an inspiring example of the unique connections individuals have with their national parks and the important role that public-private partnerships play in ensuring that the places honoring our history and heritage are protected and preserved now and for future generations," said Dan Wenk, interim president of the National Park Foundation. "We are grateful for Mr. Rubenstein's continued support of America's national parks, and we believe it will serve as inspiration for other donors to leave their own legacy through gifts that bolster national parks across the country."
From its inception, the National Park System has benefited from private support. Many of the earliest national parks were the direct beneficiaries of generous philanthropists who stepped forward to keep the national parks beautiful, vital and accessible.
As part of its commitment to the National Park Service Centennial in 2016, the National Park Foundation is embarking on a national fundraising campaign dedicated to raising private support for America's national parks. In addition, in celebration of the milestone centennial anniversary, the National Park Service and the National Park Foundation launched the Find Your Park movement, a public awareness and education campaign inspiring all people to connect with, celebrate, and support America's national parks – protecting and enriching them for future generations. Find Your Park highlights the National Park Service's important work and invites people to discover their own unique connections to parks and National Park Service programs.
ABOUT THE NATIONAL PARK SERVICE
More than 20,000 National Park Service employees care for America's 407 national parks and work with communities across the nation to help preserve local history and create close-to-home recreational opportunities. Learn more at www.nps.gov.
ABOUT DAVID RUBENSTEIN
David M. Rubenstein is Co-CEO of The Carlyle Group, a global alternative asset manager based in Washington, DC. He is also Chairman of the Boards of Trustees of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts and Duke University, a Regent of the Smithsonian Institution, Co-Chairman of the Brookings Institution, Vice-Chairman of the Council on Foreign Relations and President of the Economic Club of Washington. In 2012, Rubenstein donated $7.5 million to repair the earthquake-damaged Washington Monument and in 2014, $12.35 million to restore Arlington House, The Robert E. Lee Memorial. In 2013 he donated $10 million to George Washington'sMount Vernon home to support the construction and endowment of a library to house Washington's books and papers and to serve as a center for leadership training.
ABOUT THE NATIONAL PARK FOUNDATION
The National Park Foundation is the official charity of America's national parks and nonprofit partner to the National Park Service. Chartered by Congress in 1967, the National Park Foundation raises private funds to help PROTECT more than 84 million acres of national parks through critical conservation and preservation efforts, CONNECT all Americans with their incomparable natural landscapes, vibrant culture and rich history, and INSPIRE the next generation of park stewards. Find out more and become a part of the national park community at www.nationalparks.org.