David Rubenstein gives $10 million to Lincoln Center


David Rubenstein, the billionaire managing director of the Carlyle Group, is entering his golden age of philanthropy and has made his latest gift to Lincoln Center, a $10 million grant for the performing center’s $1.2 billion rebuilding project according to the New York Times:

Rubenstein talks a lot about his Jewish identity in the Times story:

When David M. Rubenstein turned 54, he read that white Jewish males were likely to live to 81. “So I said, ‘I have 27 years to go,’ ” Mr. Rubenstein said. “I could be like the pharaohs and say, ‘Bury me with my money.’ Or I could start giving it away.”

Mr. Rubenstein, who turned 60 last month, has spent the last six years doing just that. Having amassed a fortune worth $2.7 billion, according to Forbes, as managing director of the Carlyle Group, the heavyweight private equity concern that he helped found in 1987, he currently serves on the boards of about 30 major institutions and says he donates generously to all of them.

Now Mr. Rubenstein has given $10 million to Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts for its $1.2 billion redevelopment project. In appreciation, the center’s new visitors’ and ticket space on Broadway — scheduled to open Nov. 24 — will be named the David Rubenstein Atrium at Lincoln Center. The redesigned indoor space, between 62nd and 63rd Streets and running from Broadway to Columbus Avenue, was formerly known as the Harmony Atrium.

Rubenstein, who grew up in a Jewish family in Baltimore, has also paid to refurbish two Torah scrolls rescued from Auschwitz, the Times says.

In this 2006 article in Washington Magazine, Rubenstien talks more about his Jewish identity.

“If you’re Jewish, sometimes people think your father is a lawyer or a doctor,” Rubenstein says as we sit down in his office, which features some of the widest expanses of blank walls I’ve ever seen in Washington. His father was a postal clerk who didn’t graduate from college and never made more than $8,000 a year.

Rubenstein spent an insulated childhood in Baltimore: “I was literally 12 or 13 before I realized that everybody in the world isn’t Jewish.” Then he went to a public high school where he realized that “virtually nobody is Jewish. . . . I didn’t have any real money, so I got a scholarship to Duke and went there.”

Recommended from JTA