Carlyle’s Rubenstein Giving $50 Million to Kennedy Center

David M. Rubenstein, co-chief executive officer of Carlyle Group, has pledged $50 million to the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts to expand its campus and programs in arts education.

The gift makes Rubenstein the largest donor in the center’s 41-year history, with more than $75 million pledged or donated, said Michael Kaiser, the center’s president, by phone.

The money will be used to add three connected pavilions that will provide rehearsal, lecture, classroom and office space, and an outdoor theater. One pavilion will float on the Potomac River and feature an outdoor stage, and there are plans for public gardens. The project was designed by the New York-based Steven Holl Architects.

“This expansion will give us a real education center, a video wall where people can see performances happening in the center and a garden where they can wander and enjoy themselves,” Kaiser said.

Rubenstein’s gift kicks off a $125 million fundraising campaign for the center that begins today. Besides his pledge, an additional $50 million will be earmarked for the expansion and $25 million for major programming initiatives.

The center’s board began discussing the expansion plan about two years ago, Kaiser said. Rubenstein told Kaiser in December he would pledge $50 million and announced it to the board about two weeks ago.

“As the federal budget tightens, I hope more Americans will consider including nonprofit federal entities in their own philanthropy as well,” said Rubenstein, who is chairman of the Kennedy Center, in a statement released today.

The Carlyle Group is the world’s second-biggest manager of alternative assets such as private equity and real estate. The firm, which Rubenstein founded with William Conway and Daniel D’Aniello in 1987, oversees $157 billion in assets.

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