Private Equity Billionaire And Philanthropist David Rubenstein Elected As Smithsonian Board Chairman

Oct 25, 2016 @ 01:52 PM 289 views The Little Black Book of Billionaire Secrets

Philanthropist and private equity billionaire David Rubenstein was elected as chairman of the Smithsonian Institution’s Board of Regents on Monday. He has served on the board since 2009 and has given $44.7 million to the Smithsonian over his lifetime. 

Rubenstein’s appointment to the chairman role was announced at the Smithsonian’s annual public meeting of its governing board. Fellow billionaire and AOL founder Steve Case was elected as vice-chairman of the board and Dr. Risa Lavizzo-Mourey was elected to the executive committee. The three will begin their tenure on January 31, 2017.

Rubenstein, whose net worth FORBES estimates at $2.4 billion, made his fortune as the cofounder and co-CEO of private equity firm The Carlyle Group, which has $176 billion in assets under management. In addition to his role at The Carlyle Group, 67-year-old Rubenstein chairs four other institutions and serves on a number of other boards. He is co-chairman of think tank The Brookings Institution, chairman of the board of trustees at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, chairman of the board at Duke University and vice-chairman of the Council on Foreign Relations.


When asked by a Washington Post reporter after the meeting where he would find the time for another leadership position, Rubenstein said: “I don’t play golf, I don’t drink alcohol so I’m not going to bars. At this point in my life, I only do the things I want to do. This isn’t work. This is pleasurable.”

Calling himself a “patriotic philanthropist,” Rubenstein has supported historical and cultural institutions with his giving. He was one of the earliest signers of The Giving Pledge in 2010, created by Bill Gates and Warren Buffett to encourage more philanthropic donations by the world’s wealthiest. In 2011, he donated $4.5 million to the panda program at the National Zoo. In 2012, he donated $7.5 million to help repair the Washington Monument and $13.5 million to the National Archives. In 2013, he gave $10 million to Monticello for restoration and another $10 million to Mount Vernon. He gave $5 million to the White House Visitor Center in 2014. In January 2016, Rubenstein donated $10 million to the National Museum of African American History and Culture at the Smithsonian, bringing his total gifts to the Smithsonian to $44.7 million.

“I have a lot of institutions that I am very deeply involved in. I can’t just pick one because I like organizations that have been helpful to me in my life or are part of my life in Washington D.C.,” Rubenstein told FORBES in 2012.

Rubenstein has also purchased a number of historical documents for public display. In 2007, he bought the Magna Carta from fellow billionaire Ross Perot for $21.3 million in an auction and displayed it in the National Archives. One year later, he bought a copy of the Emancipation Proclamation, which was displayed in the White House. In 2009, he bought a copy of the Declaration of Independence for display in the State House.

Outside of Washington, D.C., Rubenstein gave $10 million to Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in 2012 and $25 million to Duke University in 2015.

Private Equity Billionaire And Philanthropist David Rubenstein Elected As Smithsonian Board Chairm

Jeff Bezos Becomes Second Richest Person On The Forbes 400, Ending Warren Buffett's 15-Year Reign Kate Vinton ,  Forbes Staff

October 25, 2016

Soaring tech stocks upset the ranks of the richest 20 billionaires on The Forbes 400 this year, as Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos and Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg moved into the top five for the first time. Berkshire Hathaway’s Warren Buffett lost his spot as the second-richest person in the country for the first time in 15 years, and Oracle Chairman Larry Ellison fell out of the top 3 for the first time since 2007.

The top 20 people on The 2016 Forbes 400 have a combined net worth of $813.5 billion, one-third of the total wealth all of 400 members of the list. Thirteen of the 20 made their own fortunes, and just two are women. While nearly one-third of the overall list got poorer over the past year, the every member of the top 20 got richer over the last year.

No one in America had a better year than Bezos. He was the biggest gainer on the on the list for the second year in a row, adding $20 billion to his fortune as Amazon stock soared 46%. That was enough to put him in the No. 2 spot on the Forbes 400, behind only Microsoft founder Bill Gates. Buffett, who had held the rank for 15 years, dropped to third place, a spot previously occupied by Ellison.

The last time Buffett wasn’t the second-richest person in the country, Bezos had a net worth of just $4.7 billion, and he had only been on The Forbes 400 for three years. Now, Buffett has been surpassed by someone three decades years his junior, a member of a group of ultra-successful tech billionaires whose industry was still in its infancy when Buffett first appeared on The Forbes 400 in 1982.

Photo credit: Nick DeSantis

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg made more money than anyone besides Bezos, adding $15.2 billion to his fortune in the last year, enough to make him the fourth richest-person in America. He is now worth $55.5 billion. On his way to fourth place, Zuckerberg passed Oracle Chairman Larry Ellison and the Koch brothers. Despite adding $1.8 billion to his fortune this past year, Ellison is now the fifth-richest person in the country, down two spots from last year.


Google cofounders Larry Page and Sergey Brin are both in the top 10 for the first time since 2007. (Page was America’s 10th-richest person last year, but Brin ranked 11th). In October, Page became CEO of Google’s newly created parent company, Alphabet, and and Brin became president. The search giant’s stock is up nearly 22% this year, driven by the strong performance of Google. Alphabet’s “other bets” including Nest, Google Fiber and life-sciences firm Verily, were not profitable and generated only $448 million in combined 2015 revenue compared to Google’s $74.5 billion.

Former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer and Dell founder Michael Dell both rejoined the top 20 of The Forbes 400 this year. Ballmer fell out of the top 20 last year but is now 15th-richest person in America.  He added $5.9 billion to his fortune in the past year as Microsoft stock climbed 32%. Dell is also back in the top 20 for the time since 2011. He is now the 20th-richest person in the country, with a net worth of $20 billion. In July, shareholders approved the $60 billion merger between Dell and computer storage giant EMC, which was first announced in October 2015.

See below for more details on the 20 richest billionaires in America:

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