A former Hill staffer is donating $5 million over five years to support the annual National Book Festival.
David Rubenstein, managing director of the Carlyle Group, announced his gift as the Library of Congress prepares for the 10th National Book Festival on Sept. 25. With Librarian of Congress James Billington, Rubenstein will become co-director of the new National Book Festival Board. Rubenstein is also a member of the Library’s James Madison Council, an advisory group tasked with promoting and fundraising for the institution.
“The National Book Festival is a great national treasure that I am honored to support,” Rubenstein said in a release. “There is perhaps no greater gift than to teach and foster reading among children.”
Rubenstein, a Baltimore native, is a veteran of politics and Capitol Hill. Before co-founding the Carlyle Group in 1987, he worked on a Senate Judiciary subcommittee and served as a deputy assistant to President Jimmy Carter. He serves on boards at a number of D.C. institutions, including the Smithsonian Institution, the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts and the Council on Foreign Relations.
The National Book Festival kicked off in 2001 with the support of first lady Laura Bush. It is a one-day festival on the National Mall hosting a wide variety of authors reading from their books. In 2009, about 130,000 people showed up to listen to authors including Jon Scieszka, Judy Blume, Paula Deen, George Pelecanos, John Grisham and Kay Ryan.