Historic Mount Vernon Receives Largest Gift in its History to Support New George Washington Library
MOUNT VERNON, Va., Feb. 19 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ – The Donald W. Reynolds Foundation today pledged $38 million to Mount Vernon, the home of George Washington, to construct a new library destined to be the international headquarters for knowledge about America’s most famous founding father.
As the nation’s first and only center for amassing and disseminating knowledge about Washington, the Fred W. Smith National Library for the Study of George Washington will safeguard Washington’s books and manuscripts, serve as a scholarly retreat, create educational outreach programs on Washington, and provide seminars and training programs with a special focus on Washington’s leadership. Construction of the 45,000-square-foot facility is expected to begin in early 2011, with a completion date in 2012.
As the longtime chairman of the Donald W. Reynolds Foundation, Fred W. Smith has championed a number of projects related to George Washington, including the construction of a museum and education center at Mount Vernon, a pair of major traveling exhibitions about Washington, and special programs focusing on Washington for students and teachers across the nation.
The Foundation’s gift is the largest in the history of Mount Vernon, which ranks as the oldest and most visited national preservation project in America. The Mount Vernon Ladies’ Association, which purchased the estate from the Washington family in 1858 and opened it to the public in 1860, is unusual in that it receives no funds from the local, state, or federal governments.
“Fred Smith and the Donald W. Reynolds Foundation have enabled us to remain a leader among historic sites around the globe, without calling upon the government for help,” noted Boyce Ansley, Regent of the Mount Vernon Ladies’ Association. “Mount Vernon is a totally different and far more exciting educational experience because of their support.”
The Association announced that it has entered the first phase of an $80 million capital campaign, with the commitment from the Donald W. Reynolds Foundation providing almost half the goal. In addition to building the Library and adjacent guest house, funds from the campaign will endow the Library’s operation, underwrite new positions, and create new programs, especially for students and teachers.
“We are pleased to be the lead donor in the Capital Campaign to build and endow the Fred W. Smith National Library for the Study of George Washington,” stated Steven Anderson, President of the Donald W. Reynolds Foundation. “We believe that this facility will enhance educational outreach from Mount Vernon in much the same way that the Donald W. Reynolds Museum and Education Center expanded the onsite experience for visitors to the historic estate.”
The Donald W. Reynolds Foundation is a national philanthropic organization founded in 1954 by the late media entrepreneur for whom it is named. Headquartered in Las Vegas, Nevada, it has committed over $69 million in support of Mount Vernon.
SOURCE Mount Vernon Estate & Gardens