The George W. Bush Presidential Library Foundation has raised more than $100 million for the forty-third president's library — and at a pace much faster than that of his recent predecessors, TIME magazine reports.
Much of the money for the library was raised in the roughly hundred days after Bush left the White House. By comparison, Bill Clinton's library planners had hoped to receive pledges of $100 million within a year of the end of his presidency, though a pardon scandal delayed that achievement for another year, according to Clinton library committee chair Skip Rutherford.
Bush Presidential Library Foundation president Mark Langdale said the names of contributors will not be released and would not disclose the exact total raised. However, other sources told TIME that the foundation has received commitments totaling more than a third of the estimated $300 million cost of the George W. Bush Presidential Center, which will include a museum and research institute to be built on twenty-five acres at Southern Methodist University in Dallas. Construction of the library is scheduled to begin in November 2010.
Unburdened by campaign finance regulations, former presidents traditionally raise money for their libraries the old-fashioned way: by meeting or calling a few dozen wealthy benefactors and asking for multimillion-dollar gifts. Although the Bush presidential library effort includes that approach, in other ways it has been organized much like a modern political campaign, complete with a national finance committee comprised of two co-chairs per state. According to TIME, the historically fast pace of the fundraising for the library has been all the more noteworthy for taking place
during a recession.
"He's struck a very positive nerve among a lot of financial sources across the country," said J. French Hill, a Little Rock banker who is leading the fundraising effort in Arkansas.
One of my very first posts on this webs log was an appeal for my readers to donate liberally (ugh) to the President's library fund. And boy, you stepped up to the plate to the tune of over $100 million! That's much faster than any other President library has done, but hey, none of those Presidents had a webs log like this one!
This is fantastic! My readers are the best! If we can build a library in a few short months, just think how we could help the needy, the impovrished, the embattled! Like, say, AIG.
Your next task: Let's help out a worthy cause (the President no doubt supports it) by donating $200 million to the Daniel Maynard Fund for an Unemployed Patriot. I (they, actually) expect this to take no more than a couple of months. Get out your diamond-encrusted checkbooks, readers. Let's roll.