BALTIMORE (WJZ) — A Maryland man who has given millions to some of Washington’s most treasured monuments was given something in return.
The gift itself was small, but the honor was not.
When an earthquake heavily damaged the Washington Monument, the son of a Baltimore postal worker donated $8 million toward repairs. That’s when David Rubenstein first came into the spotlight.
He was in the spotlight again this week, when he was presented a key to the city by D.C.’s mayor. A little humor came into play, as well.
“My greatest contributions to the city of Washington has been paying parking tickets for many, many years,” Rubenstein said.
In reality, though, he’s given millions for restoration projects like the Marine Corps Memorial, the panda project at the National Zoo and most recently, nearly $19 million to the Lincoln Memorial, to expand the monument’s visitor center for structural repairs.
“I realized I had more money than I really needed to spend on myself, on my family, and I didn’t want to give it to my children, gigantic sums of money, I didn’t think that was appropriate,” he told WJZ last year. “So I decided to give away my money.”
Long before he became a wealthy businessman, Rubenstein was just another Baltimore kid, whose parents took him to D.C. sometimes and instilled in him what he hopes to provide others.
“I’m hoping to get younger people to learn more about our history, ultimately they’ll become more informed citizens and that will be good for the country.”
And Rubenstein still isn’t finished with the Washington Monument — he’s donating between $2 million and $3 million to fix its broken elevator.