A Very Special Gift from David Rubenstein Supports the WETA Public Service Mission
Washington-based philanthropist David M. Rubenstein has made a remarkable contribution of one million dollars to WETA in support of the company's broadcasts and services to the public. The gift, which endows The David M. Rubenstein Fund at WETA, builds on Rubenstein's national legacy of philanthropy aimed at empowering lifelong learning. In announcing his contribution, Rubenstein said, "I believe in the power of public media to be a force for education, fostering an informed citizenry and sharing the vibrant culture and rich history of this country. Under Sharon Rockefeller's leadership, WETA has operated at the highest standards and with ambitious goals. I hope that my gift will serve as a beacon to others, recognizing the unique role public media plays in our society and supporting the creation of intelligent content in service to the American people.'
A WETA Viewer and Listener
One of America's leading contemporary philanthropists and financiers, David Rubenstein is Co-Founder and Co-Chief Executive Officer of The Carlyle Group. Among many other philanthropic endeavors, he is the Chairman of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts and a Regent of the Smithsonian Institution. He is also an avid WETA viewer and listener, and he explained why he decided to support WETA with a generous contribution: "WETA is a station that I watch a great deal. Over the 35 years that I've lived in Washington I've probably spent much more time watching WETA than everything else combined. So I owe a great deal to WETA and I’m just beginning to repay that debt." Rubenstein also enjoys Classical WETA 90.9 FM: "I love classical music. I'm not sure exactly where the love came from. My mother thought when I was very young that maybe I had the genes of Arthur Rubenstein. She sent me to a piano teacher and he said after two weeks, 'Save your money.' But nonetheless, I began to have an appreciation for classical music from a young age. Because of my role at the Kennedy Center I get a chance to hear a great deal of classical music during the weekdays and weekends, and it's something that I really enjoy. Therefore, when I am listening to the radio in the car, I'm only listening to Classical WETA."
On why he gives, Rubenstein said, "I'm very fortunate. I came from very modest circumstances. My parents didn't graduate from college or high school and as a result I recognized that if I was going to get somewhere in this world I'd have to do it through education. Now what I want to do is to spend the bulk of the remainder of my life trying to give back to the country." "I think all philanthropy in many ways is to be thought of as patriotic because generally when you're helping your fellow man, you're helping your country," Rubenstein said. The effects of what he calls his "patriotic philanthropy" are visible in Greater Washington every day: he has made major gifts to the National Archives, including the loan of the 1297 Magna Carta that he purchased; to the Kennedy Center for its programs and expansion; to the National Zoo’s panda program; and to the current renovation of the Washington Monument, to name a few.
Everyone Can Be a Philanthropist
In making his substantial donation to WETA, the philanthropist enjoins others to contribute in any way they can. "Philanthropy is an ancient Greek word that meant 'loving humanity,'" said Rubenstein. "You can do anything to help other people — giving your time, your energy and your ideas; that is philanthropy as well, not just writing checks. If you don’t have a lot of money you can do many other things to help people, and if you have a small amount of money you can contribute small amounts of money," he said. "Really, philanthropy means 'helping other people'."
“As you consider opportunities for this year, I hope you will keep or put WETA on the list of places where your money can make a meaningful difference and really help our community. I recently decided to help WETA in what I hope will be an impactful way. But much more help is needed. If you are looking for ways that you can make life in the Washington area a bit better, please do what you can — in any amount — to help. You will be making an investment in the community and all of us will reap the dividends.”
— David M. Rubenstein