WASHINGTON, DC--(Marketwired - May 2, 2013) - The Trust for the National Mall, the official non-profit partner of the National Park Service for restoring and improving the National Mall, today announced a gift of $10 million from Volkswagen of America, Inc. The donation, which will be granted over a five-year period, is designed to sustain and advance efforts to preserve and protect America's most visited national park.
"There are few places that can educate and inspire people like the National Mall," said Jonathan Browning, President and CEO, Volkswagen Group of America. "But America's most visited national park is also a treasure that's in dire need of help if we want to preserve it for future generations. Working with the Trust for the National Mall, we're excited to roll out a program with both national and grassroots initiatives aimed at connecting people from all over to join the cause of preserving and protecting America's Front Yard."
Each year, the National Mall hosts about 25 million visitors -- more than Yosemite, the Grand Canyon and Yellowstone combined. Conceived more than two centuries ago and largely built almost 100 years ago, the National Mall wasn't designed to accommodate its current level of use. In order to address this, the Department of Interior in 2010 approved the National Mall Plan, which outlines a future vision of the park that protects its historic landmarks and improves the visitor experience. To support the $700 million plan, the Trust for the National Mall is leading a $350 million fundraising campaign and the federal government will supply the remaining $350 million.
"We're building a once-in-a-generation campaign to realize the first major restoration of the National Mall in nearly 40 years," notes Caroline Cunningham, President, Trust for the National Mall. "We are so grateful to Jonathan and Volkswagen of America for their pace-setting contribution, which will benefit people from all corners of the globe and from all walks of life who come here to experience, learn about and shape the American story."
Volkswagen's $10 million investment in the National Mall will support the collaborative efforts of the Trust for the National Mall and the National Park Service to move forward on the National Mall Plan, starting with the redesign and restoration of Constitution Gardens and the Washington Monument Grounds at Sylvan Theater, two high-impact design projects that are based on the winning plans of a national juried design competition. The first of those two projects is expected to be substantially completed in 2016, coinciding to mark the 100th anniversary of the National Park Service.
"The National Mall is one of the most inspiring combinations of architecture and landscape in the world and stands as a symbol of our nation," said Bob Vogel, Superintendent of National Mall and Memorial Parks. "It deserves to reflect the vision of its original designer and live up to the expectations of our millions of visitors. Today's tremendous contribution from Volkswagen, along with the donations of other corporations and private citizens, will get us closer to achieving our vision of a more functional, beautiful and sustainable park that respects our historic landscape and structures."
Volkswagen's $10 million donation is not the first gift from the company for a project on the National Mall. In August 2011, Volkswagen Group of America made a $1 million contribution to the Martin Luther King, Jr. National Memorial Project Foundation for the construction of that memorial.
Mr. Browning is the president and CEO of Volkswagen Group of America. Under Mr. Browning's leadership, this iconic brand is posting significant gains in the U.S. market, where sales were up 35 percent in 2012. Prior to joining Volkswagen, Mr. Browning held numerous executive sales and marketing posts worldwide at General Motors (GM) and Ford Motor Company. A native of England, Mr. Browning received his MBA from Duke University.
Editor's Note: Mr. Browning will be the keynote speaker at the Trust for the National Mall's Benefit Luncheon later today. The event begins at 11:30 am on the National Mall (Madison Drive and 13th Street, NW).
About the Trust for the National Mall
The Trust for the National Mall is the official non-profit partner of the National Park Service dedicated to restoring and improving the National Mall, while providing new educational and volunteer opportunities that connect the park's 25 million annual visitors to the Mall's rich history. For more information on the Trust for the National Mall, please visit www.nationalmall.org.
About Volkswagen of America, Inc.
Founded in 1955, Volkswagen of America, Inc. is headquartered in Herndon, Virginia. It is a subsidiary of Volkswagen AG, headquartered in Wolfsburg, Germany. Volkswagen's operations in the United States include research and development, parts and vehicle processing, parts distribution centers, sales, marketing and service offices, financial service centers, and its state-of-the-art manufacturing facility in Chattanooga, Tennessee. Volkswagen is one of the world's largest producers of passenger cars and Europe's largest automaker. Volkswagen sells the Beetle, Eos, Golf, GTI, Jetta, Jetta SportWagen, Passat, CC, Tiguan, Touareg and Routan vehicles through approximately 600 independent U.S. dealers.
About National Mall and Memorial Parks
National Mall and Memorial Parks is home to some of America's most iconic structures and landscapes, including the National Mall, the Washington Monument, Thomas Jefferson Memorial, the Lincoln Memorial and many other historic memorials, statues, and urban squares, circles and triangles, all part of the 401 parks of the National Park Service.