FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - April 20, 2013
Media Contact: Lisa Stites, 434-984-7529
CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA–David Rubenstein’s gift will reveal more of Jefferson’s Monticello for visitors
Monticello today announced it will receive a $10 million gift from David M. Rubenstein, philanthropist and Co-CEO of The Carlyle Group. The gift, one of Monticello’s largest, will help restore upper floors of the house and reconstruct Mulberry Row, the adjacent plantation community where slaves and workers lived, allowing visitors to experience Monticello much as Jefferson himself knew it. Monticello, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, reflects the genius, ideals, ambitions, and realities of its creative and complex owner.
“Monticello is one of our nation’s most important historic and cultural institutions, a critical strand of the rich tapestry that is American history," said Mr. Rubenstein. “I hope this gift furthers the understanding of and appreciation for Thomas Jefferson, author of the Declaration of Independence and one of our most important founding fathers."
“We are deeply grateful to David Rubenstein for this magnanimous and transformative gift,” said Leslie Greene Bowman, President and CEO of the Thomas Jefferson Foundation, which owns and operates Monticello. “This will catapult our aspiration to show Monticello and the mountaintop as Jefferson knew it, revealing a more complete story of Jefferson and his plantation.”
Funding will support substantial progress on restoration of the second and third floors of the presidential home, which were recently opened up to public tours. Currently all but one of the rooms on these floors, comprising one-third of the house, are not fully restored.
The gift will also enable Monticello to make significant progress towards the completion of Mulberry Row, the plantation’s “main street.” Mulberry Row will bring to life the stories of scores of people—enslaved and free—who lived and worked on Jefferson’s 5,000 acre plantation. Finally the gift will fund the upgrade of electrical and climate-control systems that are approaching the end of their lifecycle.
This gift to Monticello is the most recent of David Rubenstein’s efforts to protect and preserve important historical and cultural treasures. In addition to owning several copies of the Declaration of Independence, Mr. Rubenstein purchased the last privately owned copy of Magna Carta, which is on permanent loan to the National Archives. Other recent gifts were made to Mount Vernon and to the Washington Monument to repair damage sustained in the 2011 earthquake.
The Thomas Jefferson Foundation was incorporated in 1923 to preserve Monticello, the home of Thomas Jefferson, in Charlottesville, Virginia. Today the Foundation seeks to engage a global audience in a dialogue with Jefferson’s ideas. Monticello is now recognized as a National Historic Landmark and a United Nations World Heritage Site. As a private, nonprofit organization, the Foundation is not supported by federal or state budgets to fund its twofold mission of preservation and education. About 450,000 people visit Monticello each year. For information, visit www.monticello.org.