David Rubenstein

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For the founding Executive Director for the Save Darfur Coalition, see David Rubenstein (activist).
David Rubenstein
David M. Rubenstein - World Economic Forum Annual Meeting Davos 2009.jpg
David M. Rubenstein at the World Economic Forum annual meeting in Davos, 2009
Born (1949-08-11) August 11, 1949 (age 67)[1]
Baltimore, Maryland, U.S.
Nationality United States
Alma mater Duke University
University of Chicago
Occupation Co-Founder and Co-CEO of The Carlyle Group
Net worth Decrease US $ 2.5 billion (November 2015)[2]
Spouse(s) Alice Nicole Rogoff
Children 3
Website http://www.davidrubenstein.com/

David Mark Rubenstein (born August 11, 1949) is an American financier and philanthropist best known as co-founder and co-chief executive officer of The Carlyle Group,[3] a global private equity investment company based in Washington D.C. He is also currently serving as chairman of the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, co-chair of the board of trustees at the Brookings Institution,[4] and chairman of the board of trustees at Duke University, his alma mater.[3] According to the Forbes ranking of the wealthiest people in America, Rubenstein has a net worth of $2.5 billion.[2]

Early life and education[edit]

Rubenstein grew up an only child in a Jewish family in an exclusively Jewish neighborhood in Baltimore. His beginnings were modest. His father was employed by the United States Postal Service and his mother was a homemaker.[5][6]

He graduated from the college preparatory high school Baltimore City College, at the time an all-male school, and then from Duke University Phi Beta Kappa and magna cum laude in 1970. He earned his law degree from the University of Chicago Law School in 1973, where he was an editor of the University of Chicago Law Review.

Business career[edit]

Early law career[edit]

From 1973 to 1975, Rubenstein practiced law in New York with Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison. Prior to starting Carlyle in 1987, with William E. Conway, Jr. and Daniel A. D'Aniello, Rubenstein was a deputy domestic policy advisor to President Jimmy Carter and worked in private practice in Washington, D.C.

In private equity[edit]

Although in 2006 private equity activity was booming and larger companies than ever before were bought out, insiders feared the day that it would abruptly end. On two different occasions David Rubenstein expressed this fear. In January 2006, he stated: "This has been a golden age for our industry, but nothing continues to be golden forever".[7] One month later, he emphasized this concern more explicitly: "Right now we're operating as if the music's not going to stop playing and the music is going to stop. I am more concerned about this than any other issue",[8] These concerns proved to be right as at the end of 2007 the buyout market collapsed. This collapse can largely be attributed to the credit crunch, which significantly increased the cost of borrowing. As leveraged loan activity came to an abrupt stop, private equity firms were unable to secure financing for their transactions. As the consequences of the credit crunch unveiled themselves, many previously announced buyouts were cancelled.

In May 2008 David Rubenstein stated: "But once this period is over, once the debt on the books of the banks is sold and new lending starts, I think you'll see the private equity industry coming back in what I call the Platinum Age - better than it's ever been before. I do think that the private equity industry has a great future and that the greatest period for private equity is probably ahead of us."[9]

Personal life[edit]

David Rubenstein's father was a postal service worker earning $7,000 annually and his mother a housewife, the family lived in Baltimore. In a speaking engagement at the University of Maryland, he revealed that his mother wanted him to grow up and become a dentist. Rubenstein has stated that he was once offered to meet Mark Zuckerberg before he dropped out of Harvard but decided against it. This is his single greatest investment regret.[10]

He lives in Bethesda, Maryland, and is married to Alice Rubenstein (née Alice Nicole Rogoff), founder of the Alaska House New York and the Alaska Native Arts Foundation and owner of Alaska Dispatch News. They met while Rubenstein was working for the Carter Administration and were married on May 21, 1983.[11] They have three children together, two daughters and a son.

In addition to his main Bethesda residence, he has vacation homes in Colorado and Nantucket. As of early 2016, he normally drives a fifteen-year-old Mercedes station wagon.[12]


Rubenstein was among the initial forty individuals[13] who have pledged to donate more than half of their wealth to philanthropic causes or charities as part of The Giving Pledge.

He has made large gifts to Duke University, Harvard University, Johns Hopkins University, the University of Chicago Law School, and the National Park Service.

He was elected to the Board of Trustees of the University of Chicago on May 31, 2007.[14]

In December 2007 Rubenstein purchased the last privately owned copy of the Magna Carta at Sotheby's auction house in New York for $21.3 million.[15] He has lent it to the National Archives in Washington D.C.[16] In 2011, Rubenstein gave $13.5 million to the National Archives for a new gallery and visitor's center.[17] He has purchased rare Stone copies of the Declaration of Independence,[18] the Emancipation Proclamation,[19] the 13th Amendment,[20] and the Constitution and has lent these copies to the State Department, the National Archives, the National Constitution Center, the Smithsonian and Mount Vernon.

Rubenstein was elected Chairman of the Board of the Kennedy Center, Washington, DC, starting in May 2010. He was Vice Chairman of the Board of the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, New York, and chairman of its fundraising drive. A new atrium was named for him.[21] He is on the board of regents of the Smithsonian Institution.[22]

In December 2011, Rubenstein donated $4.5 million to the National Zoo for its giant panda reproduction program.[23] The panda complex was then named the David M. Rubenstein Family Giant Panda Habitat for the next five years and conservation biologists in the U.S. and China who are awarded National Zoo fellowships for their work to save pandas would be named "David M. Rubenstein Fellows."[24] Another $4.5 million was donated in September 2015, about four weeks after a male giant panda cub was born.[25] He also donated $10 million to the National Gallery of Art in support of refurbishment and expansion of the East Building of the National Gallery, work that was completed in September 2016. He is on the Board of Trustees of the National Gallery.

In 2012, he donated $7.5 million towards the repair of the Washington Monument.[26][27]

In 2013, he donated $50 million to the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, which is being used for 65,000 square foot addition.[28]

In April 2013 and 2015, he donated a total of $20 million[29] to the Thomas Jefferson Foundation, which will be used to rebuild at least two buildings in the slave community on Mulberry Row at Monticello. The funds will also be used to restore Jefferson's original road scheme, restore the second and third stories of Jefferson's home which are currently mostly empty, and replace infrastructure.[30]

In November 2013, he bought a copy of the Bay Psalm Book for $14.1 million, the highest price ever paid for a printed book, and pledged to lend it to public collections and exhibitions around the world.[31]

In 2014, he donated $10 million to Montpelier, to support the renovation of the home of James Madison.[32]

In November 2015, he donated $20 Million for the New Commons Building at the Institute for Advanced Study. The building will be named Rubenstein Commons and will feature conference space, meeting rooms, a cafe, and office space.[33]

On February 15, 2016, Presidents' Day, Rubenstein presented a gift of $18.5 million to the National Park Foundation to expand educational resources, foster public access, and repair and restore the Lincoln Memorial on the National Mall in Washington, DC. The park plans to create 15,000 square feet of visitor space beneath the memorial.[34] This gift, presented during National Park Service's centennial year, was Rubenstein's fourth gift to benefit US national parks.[35] Most recently, on December 2, 2016, Rubenstein in conjunction with the National Parks Foundation, has agreed to cover the eventual cost of elevator upgrades to the Washington Monument.[36]

Duke University[edit]

Rubenstein has made several gifts to Duke University. He donated $5 million to Duke's Sanford School of Public Policy in 2002, after which Rubenstein Hall was named for him. In 2009, he donated an additional $5.75 million to the school.[37] In 2011, he also donated $13.6 million to the Duke University Libraries in support of renovating the university's special collections library, which was named the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library.[38] In 2012, he donated $15 million to support the university's Innovation and Entrepreneurship Initiative.[39] That same year, he gave another $10 million to support Duke Athletics.[40] In 2013, Rubenstein donated $10 million to fund graduate fellowships and undergraduate internships at the Sanford School of Public Policy.[41] In 2014, Rubenstein donated $1.9 million to Jewish Life at Duke to expand programming, fund building renovations and enhance the college experience for Jewish students.[42] In 2015, Rubenstein gave $25 million towards the new $50 million, 71,000-square foot Arts Center, set to be inaugurated in 2017.[43]

University of Chicago[edit]

In 2010, 2013 and 2016, he provided a total of $33 million to the Law School for scholarships. The gifts will fund up to 60 full-tuition scholarships in three consecutive Law School graduating classes. Approximately 10 percent of all students from the Classes of 2017, 2018, and 2019 will be Rubenstein Scholars.[44]

In 2014, he provided the lead funding for a Forum to serve as the University's principal conference center.[45]



  • "The only game in Washington is the Fed." [60]
    (at the Aspen Institute, 2013)
  • "When history is written and people talk about the great protests, I don't think that this will be in that category." [61]
    (comparing what in his view were the great civil disobedience efforts of Gandhi and Martin Luther King to the protests by the Working Families Party concerning the tax treatment of private equity firms)
  • "I analogize private equity to sex ... You realize there were certain things you shouldn’t do, but the urge is there and you can’t resist." [62]
    (speaking at Harvard Business School about the buyout bubble)
  • "I think it's important to tell people the good and the bad of American history, not only the things that we might like to hear." [30]
    (referring to his wanting to put a face on slavery using his donation to rebuild slave quarters at Monticello)


  1. ^ Le Mémorial, N° 476, 6 May 2004, PDF page 14.
  2. ^ a b Forbes: The World's Billionaires - David Rubenstein September 2013
  3. ^ a b c The Carlyle Group - Team - David M. Rubenstein January 2014
  4. ^ https://www.brookings.edu/about-us/board-of-trustees/
  5. ^ Robin Pogrebin (September 30, 2009). "Donor Gives Lincoln Center $10 Million". The New York Times. Retrieved July 28, 2012. 
  6. ^ Aaron Leibel (October 7, 2009). "Five local Jews make Forbes richest list". Washington Jewish Week. JTA News and Features. Retrieved July 28, 2012. 
  7. ^ International Herald Tribune, Online Version, January 27, 2006
  8. ^ Reuters, February 22, 2006
  9. ^ Knowledge@Wharton, University of Pennsylvania, May 6, 2008
  10. ^ Mac William Bishop (June 1, 2011). "'The Deal I Missed': David Rubenstein". The New York Times. Retrieved July 28, 2012. 
  11. ^ "D.M. Rubenstein Wed To Alice Nicole Rogoff". The New York Times. May 22, 1983. Retrieved July 28, 2012. 
  12. ^ "The Billionaires' Loophole". The New Yorker. 
  13. ^ "40 billionaires pledge to donate half their wealth". Boston.com. 
  14. ^ "David M. Rubenstein Appointed to the Smithsonian's Board of Regents". Smithsonian Institution. May 8, 2009. Archived from the original on June 3, 2009. Retrieved July 28, 2012. 
  15. ^ Bone, James (December 19, 2007). "Magna Carta bought for $21m by US tycoon". The Times (London). Archived from the original on November 21, 2008. Retrieved July 28, 2012. 
  16. ^ Mike Nizza (March 4, 2008). "Magna Carta Returns to National Archives". The New York Times. Retrieved 26 March 2009. 
  17. ^ National Archives and Records Administration (June 2011). "$13.5 million gift to Foundation". Declarations (603): 3. 
  18. ^ "Carlyle CEO buys 1776 printing of Declaration of Independence". Reuters. 
  19. ^ "Billionaire Snaps Up Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation For $2 Million". Forbes. Forbes. 
  20. ^ "Carlyle Co-Founder Gives $10 Million for White House History Center". The Wall Street Journal. 
  21. ^ Jacqueline Trescott (March 4, 2010). "Carlyle Group co-founder named chairman of Kennedy Center board". The Washington Post. Retrieved July 28, 2012. 
  22. ^ Ruane, Michael E. (January 18, 2012). "Billionaire philanthropist Rubenstein to give millions to help fix Washington Monument". The Washington Post. Retrieved January 19, 2012. 
  23. ^ Ruane, Michael E. (December 19, 2011). "National Zoo announces $4.5 million gift to support panda program". The Washington Post. Retrieved 1 July 2013. 
  24. ^ Jacobs, Jereon. "National Zoo's Giant Panda Habitat Named for Donor David M. Rubenstein". GiantPandaZoo.com. Retrieved 1 July 2013. 
  25. ^ "Press Release - National Zoo- FONZ". 
  26. ^ Mak, Tim (January 19, 2012). "Billionaire David Rubenstein gives Washington Monument repair effort $7.5M boost". Politico. Retrieved January 19, 2012. 
  27. ^ Zonger, Brett (January 19, 2012). "Washington Monument Gets $7.5M for Repairs". ABC News. Associated Press. Retrieved January 19, 2012. 
  28. ^ "KC firm BNIM will help design $100 million expansion of Kennedy Center". KansasCity.com. Retrieved 2013-04-05. 
  29. ^ "Monticello's Historic Mountaintop Project to Receive Second $10 Million Gift". Monticello. 
  30. ^ a b Zongker, Brett (April 20, 2013). "$10M gift spurs restoration at Jefferson's estate". Huffington Post. Retrieved 20 April 2013. 
  31. ^ "World's most valuable book sells for record $14.1 million – Toronto Star". The Star. Toronto. November 26, 2013. 
  32. ^ "David Rubenstein Shines Light on James Madison's Montpelier with $10 Million Gift" (PDF). 
  33. ^ "David Rubenstein Donates $20 Million for New Building at the Institute for Advanced Study". 
  34. ^ The Associated Press. "Philanthropist David Rubenstein Gives $18M to Refurbish Lincoln Memorial". NBCnews.com. NBC News. Retrieved 17 February 2016. 
  35. ^ "David Rubenstein Donates $18.5 Million to the National Park Foundation to Restore the Lincoln Memorial". www.kctv5.com. Archived from the original on 2016-02-23. Retrieved 2016-02-15. 
  36. ^ https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/washington-monument-to-remain-closed-for-at-least-two-more-years/2016/12/02/c2aab9aa-b5ae-11e6-a677-b608fbb3aaf6_story.html?hpid=hp_local-news_monument-130pm%3Ahomepage%2Fstory&utm_term=.824d60d3b92e
  37. ^ Eric Ferreri (October 20, 2009). "Duke trustee donates $5.75 million for public policy school". newsobserver.com. Archived from the original on November 2, 2012. Retrieved July 28, 2012. 
  38. ^ Aaron Welborn (August 17, 2011). "Duke Libraries Receive $13.6 Million Rubenstein Gift". DukeToday. Retrieved July 28, 2012. 
  39. ^ Michael J. Schoenfeld (May 11, 2012). "Rubenstein Gives $15 Million for Duke's Innovation and Entrepreneurship Initiative". DukeToday. Retrieved July 28, 2012. 
  40. ^ "Blue Zone - The Chronicle". The Chronicle. 
  41. ^ "Rubenstein donates $10 million to the Sanford School of Public Policy". The Chronicle. 
  42. ^ "Rubenstein Gift to Enhance Jewish Life at Duke". 
  43. ^ "$25 Million Gift, $50 Million Center to Elevate Arts". Duke Today. 
  44. ^ "David Rubenstein, '73, Renews Rubenstein Scholars Program with Additional $10 Million Gift". The University of Chicago The Law School. 
  45. ^ "New building for south side of Midway". The Chicago Maroon. 
  46. ^ The Brookings Institution - Board of Trustees Archived July 5, 2014, at the Wayback Machine. January 2014
  47. ^ Council on Foreign Relations - Board of Directors January 2014
  48. ^ Duke University - Board of Trustees January 2014
  49. ^ Economic Club of Washington - About Us January 2014
  50. ^ New member of Harvard Corporation: David Rubenstein will assume role in July of 2017, May 25, 2016
  51. ^ Institute for Advanced Study - Board of Trustees January 2014
  52. ^ Johns Hopkins University - Board of Trustees January 2014
  53. ^ Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts - Board of Trustees January 2014
  54. ^ Lincoln Center - Board of Directors January 2014
  55. ^ Smithsonian Institution - Board of Regents January 2014
  56. ^ University of Chicago - Board of Trustees January 2014
  57. ^ World Economic Forum - Contributors January 2014
  58. ^ "Librarian of Congress Announces David M. Rubenstein as Chairman of James Madison Council". Library of Congress. 
  59. ^ David Oliver (October 17, 2016). "David Rubenstein to Host Bloomberg TV Series". U.S. News & World Report. Retrieved November 17, 2016. 
  60. ^ David M. Rubenstein, Robert Rubin, and David Leonhardt at Aspen Institute on YouTube
  61. ^ "Carlyle's Rubenstein the subject of tax protest". Reuters. September 18, 2007. Retrieved February 14, 2008. 
  62. ^ "David Rubenstein: Buyout Bubble Was Like Sex". The Wall Street Journal. February 2, 2009. Retrieved February 2, 2009. 

External links[edit]