George W. Bush has raised more than $500 million for his presidential library, finishing off what was one of the most successful post-presidency fundraisers of all time.
The Bush library, which will be dedicated on April 25 and opened to the public on May 1,will be located on the campus of Southern Methodist University. The center cost an estimated $250 million to build, with the rest of the $500 million going to the George W. Bush Institute, a public policy foundation.
“The remainder of the funds, most of which is paid for over time in long term pledges, provides a strong financial foundation to build the George W. Bush Institute as a long standing contributor to advancing freedom and the principles that have guided President and Mrs. Bush in their service to their country,” Mark Langdale, president of the George W. Bush Center, told Time magazine.
To put the importance of George Bush’s $500 million campaign in perspective, former President Bill Clinton was barely able to raise the $165 million for the construction of his presidential library when it opened in 2004.
Bush has not said if he will disclose the identities of his donors, though library officials have praised the campaign and those who pitched in. They are not required by law to disclose donors, though some presidents have in the past.
“It was our goal to raise $500 million by the time the George W. Bush Presidential Center was dedicated, and we reached that goal,” Langdale said.
The foundation’s last public financial report from 2011 shows that it had already raised close to $415 million. The final total of its fundraising will be released with the Bush foundation’s 2012 report to the Internal Revenue Service.
The $500 million George Bush raised for his library is higher than Bush took for either of his presidential bids.