Trust for the National Mall Commemorates Ten Years of Partnership with the National Park Service

BALL for THE MALL benefit gala recognizes philanthropist David M. Rubenstein and underscores ongoing need to improve the National Mall

Press Contact:
Kate Greenberg

(202) 407-9412

WASHINGTON, D.C. (May 12, 2017) — The Trust for the National Mall celebrated its tenth anniversary as an official partner of the National Park Service yesterday evening with a benefit gala, the BALL for THE MALL. The evening event took place on the grounds of the National Mall, with views of the Washington Monument, Capitol building, and Smithsonian museums. CNN’s Wolf Blitzer served as the Master of Ceremonies for the program, which included a celebration of accomplishments to date and a look ahead to continued progress.

“The National Mall is home to the enduring symbols of our history and democracy. We have an enormous shared responsibility to not only maintain but also improve these sacred grounds,” said Catherine Townsend, President and CEO of the Trust for the National Mall. “Our successful partnership with the National Park Service has yielded meaningful progress, but there is more work to be done. A higher level of private support is critical to preserving the iconic landmarks on the National Mall as well as modernizing the grounds into a 21st century urban park.” 


As the centerpiece of the event program, the Trust for the National Mall honored philanthropist and Co-Founder and Co-CEO of the Carlyle Group, David M. Rubenstein, with the “History, Heroes, & Hope Award” for his dedication and continued support in restoring and improving the National Mall and visitor experience. Through multiple gifts, Rubenstein has become a model of “patriotic philanthropy” in support of the country’s most visited national park. He embodies a long-standing tradition of private funding for the monuments and memorials on the National Mall. 

Award-winning author and historian Douglas Brinkley presented Rubenstein with the honor. Brinkley is a professor of history at Rice University, Presidential Historian for CNN, and a contributing editor at Vanity Fair. Dubbed “America’s new past master” by the Chicago Tribune, Brinkley is a sought-after expert on U.S. political and environmental history.

The event also honored Volkswagen Group of America with the Distinction in Corporate Service Award as recognition for a generous gift of $10 million made to the Trust for the National Mall in 2012. Through its gift, the company has supported both national and grassroots initiatives to connect people with the mission of preserving and protecting the National Mall.

The benefit gala also included a VIP reception, seated dinner with guest speakers and live music and entertainment. Support for the event provided by: Diamond Patron sponsors, Altria Group and Shelly and Allan Holt; After Party Patron, American Airlines; and many other generous sponsors.

For a complete list of BALL for THE MALL patron sponsors, please visit

For additional images from the event, please visit our Facebook page for a full album.

Case for Support on the National Mall

Since its inception, the Trust for the National Mall has invested more than $22 million in private support and advocated for over $120 million in Federal funds for projects and programs on the National Mall. Notable completed projects include restoration of the Washington Monument following the 2011 earthquake, complete rebuilding of the Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool with sustainable water conservation features, installation of the Japanese Lantern Plaza on the Tidal Basin and the turf restoration project that created a healthy and water efficient landscape across the 18 acres of renowned green expanse on the National Mall. Work is in progress now to renovate the George Mason Memorial as well as relocate and restore the Lockkeeper’s House – the oldest structure on the National Mall.   

The benefit event helps bring additional awareness to the $840 million in deferred maintenance and needed upgrades across the National Mall. Work is needed on a number of critical projects including updates to the Jefferson Memorial and U.S. Park Police Stables, rebuilding of the Tidal Basin seawall and widening of the Cherry Tree Walk, and reimagining of Constitution Gardens and Sylvan Theater to improve the visitor experience with new amenities.

About Trust for the National Mall

Celebrating ten years of partnership with the National Park Service, the Trust for the National Mall is dedicated to sustainably restoring, improving and preserving the National Mall for present and future generations. Stretching from the U.S. Capitol to the Lincoln Memorial, the beloved but well-worn National Mall hosts 36 million visits each year but requires more than $840 million in deferred maintenance and needed upgrades. This public-private partnership is a model for bringing critical resources to the National Mall, home to the enduring symbols of our democracy. Learn more at, and find us on Facebook (@NationalMall), Twitter (@TheNationalMall), and Instagram (@TheNationalMall).