Smithsonian Launches National Capital Campaign

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  • The Smithsonian Board of Regents and Secretary G. Wayne Clough formally announced the launch of the Smithsonian Campaign to raise $1.5 billion at its annual Public Forum. This capital campaign is the largest in history for any cultural organization and the first in the Institution's 168-year history. Every Smithsonian museum, center, and program is participating. The Smithsonian Campaign is designed to help the Smithsonian become a stronger Institution, while at the same time build a diverse network of friends and donors across the country. The early or "quiet" phase of the campaign began in October 2010; the campaign will continue through 2017. The Smithsonian has raised more than $1 billion, or two-thirds of its overall goal, through gifts from individuals, foundations, corporations, and other donors. Upon completion in 2017, the campaign and its thousands of donors will have provided new resources to the Smithsonian, all of them aligned with our four campaign themes: Spark Discovery, Tell America's Story, Inspire Lifelong Learning, and Reach People Everywhere. The Campaign website features in-depth information on every museum, center, and program, as well as the latest campaign progress.
  • Three well-known philanthropists serve as co-chairs of the Smithsonian Campaign's steering committee and leaders of the fund raising effort: David Rubenstein, member of the Board of Regents and donor to many Smithsonian museums, such as the National Museum of Natural History, National Museum of American History, Smithsonian American Art Museum and the National Zoo; Barbara Barrett, a Regent and major contributor to the science education center in the National Museum of Natural History; and Alan Spoon, Regent Emeritus and donor to Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum in New York, research fellowships, and broadening access to Smithsonian collections. Virginia B. Clark, director of the Office of Advancement and Planned Giving, and Cynthia Brandt-Stover, director of the Capital Campaign, lead the work by the Office of Advancement and Smithsonian-wide staff members to bring the planned campaign to fruition.
  • Twenty-one distinguished Americans have shown their commitment to the SI by joining the Honorary Committee. Led by President and Mrs. George W. Bush and President Bill Clinton and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, the committee includes 17 other distinguished Americans who have made significant contributions to the fields of art, culture, science, business, technology, politics, and sports. They are the Honorable Ben Nighthorse Campbell, Senator from Colorado (1993-2005) and Native American leader; Renée Fleming, opera singer and soprano performing in styles from classical to rock and the first opera singer to perform at the Super Bowl (2014); Mia Hamm, retired soccer player, forward for the U.S. women's national soccer team, Olympic gold medal winner, and founding member of the Washington Freedom soccer team; Mellody Hobson, business executive, TV financial commentator, philanthropist, president of Ariel Investments, LLC and chair of DreamWorks Animation SKG, Inc.;
  • Ellsworth Kelly, painter, sculptor, and print maker associated with hard-edge painting, color field painting and the minimalist school; Michael Krzyzewski, Duke University basketball coach since 1980 and coach of the U.S. men's national basketball team that won gold medals in the 2008 and 2012 Summer Olympics; Robert Langer, MIT professor, engineer, biotechnology pioneer, and inventor, who founded more than 25 companies and holds more than 1,000 patents; Ralph Lauren, philanthropist fashion designer and founder of Ralph Lauren Corp., which owns the Polo brand; Eva Longoria, film and TV actress, producer, director, activist, businesswoman, and philanthropist; Captain James A. Lovell, USN (Ret.), former NASA astronaut, member of Apollo 8 crew and commander of Apollo 13; George Lucas, film director, screenwriter and producer, who created Star Wars and Indiana Jones films and has been nominated for four Academy Awards; Yo-Yo Ma, cellist, performing in styles from classical to bluegrass, and winner of 16 Grammy Awards who has recorded more than 75 albums; Arnold Palmer, golfer who has won 92 professional victories and seven major championships, including four Masters Tournaments, and a 2012 Congressional Gold Medal recipient; Cal Ripken, Jr., former Baltimore Orioles shortstop and third baseman, businessman, record-holder for most consecutive games played, and member of the National Baseball Hall of Fame; Dr. Condoleezza Rice, U.S. Secretary of State (2005-2009), political scientist, presidential advisor, and diplomat; Eric Schmidt, CEO of Google (2001-2011), business leader, software engineer, and philanthropist; and Edward O. Wilson, biologist, researcher, theorist, naturalist, author, environmental advocate who is known as "the father of biodiversity."


  • Campbell, Ben Nighthorse
  • Spoon, Alan G
  • Rubenstein, David M (8/11/1949- )
  • Bush, George W (George Walker) 1946-
  • Bush, Laura Welch 1946-
  • Barrett, Barbara McConnell 12/26/1950-
  • Clark, Virginia B
  • Brandt-Stover, Cynthia
  • Clinton, Hillary Rodham
  • Hamm, Mia 1972-
  • Hobson, Mellody
  • Clinton, Bill 1946-
  • Lucas, George 1944-
  • Kelly, Ellsworth 1923-
  • Krzyzewski, Mike
  • Langer, Robert S
  • Lauren, Ralph
  • Longoria, Eva 1975-
  • Ma, Yo-Yo 1955-
  • Palmer, Arnold 1929-
  • Ripken, Cal Jr. 1960-
  • Rice, Condoleezza 1954-
  • Wilson, E. O
  • Clough, G. Wayne
  • Lovell, Jim
  • Schmidt, Eric 1955 April 27-
  • Smithsonian Campaign 2014-2017
  • Board of Regents


Chronology of Smithsonian History


Smithsonian Press Release, October 20, 2014

Contact information

Institutional History Division, Smithsonian Institution Archives, 600 Maryland Avenue, SW, Washington, D.C. 20024-2520,


October 20, 2014


  • Fund raisers (Persons)
  • Women
  • Capital Campaign
  • Benefactors
  • Donors
  • Philanthropists
  • Fund raising
  • Capitalists and financiers
  • History
  • Volunteers
  • Development
  • Women--History

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