Former President George W. Bush has raised more than $500 million for his presidential library, making him one of the most successful post-presidency fundraisers, Time Magazine reported Wednesday.
According to Time, numerous sources close to the former president -- including Mark Langdale, president of the George W. Bush Presidential Center -- have confirmed that fundraising for the library has surpassed the $500 million mark, a goal that Bush wanted to reach prior the center’s dedication ceremony later this month.
Bush’s multi-million dollar fundraising feat is significant because no former president has raised as much in the same four-year timeframe after leaving the White House. In comparison, former President Bill Clinton raised funds at a much slower rate to support his $165 million library project.
The amount raised for the George W. Bush Presidential Center -- which is located at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas -- has also surpassed the funds raised in either of Bush’s 2000 and 2004 presidential campaigns, according to Time.
The $500 million in contributions from private, undisclosed donors will be used to cover various short- and long-term expenses associated with the project, Langdale told Time.
“Half of the money was spent to build the Bush Center itself, a portion of the funds go to a mandatory endowment to the Federal Government ... and another portion of the funds will go to Southern Methodist University for [an] endowment that is intended to strengthen our relationship with their programs,” Langdale explained.
“The remainder of the funds, most of which is paid for over time [sic] 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,” Langdale added.
The library -- which Bush dubbed as “a place of learning” -- will also house numerous archives symbolic of the Bush presidency.
Presidential library fundraisers are not required by law to disclose the names of donors, although there is a bill currently floating in the House that would enforce stricter standards on presidential foundations. The bill -- introduced by Rep. John Duncan (R-Tenn.) in March -- would require that presidential library fundraisers reveal the name of donors who contribute more than $200 on a quarterly basis, much like campaign finance regulations.
The measure, titled the Presidential Library Donation Reform Act of 2013, has gained bipartisan support in the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee.
The foundation supporting the George W. Bush Presidential Center, however, has pledged to make the names of almost all of the 315,000 donors public, with the exception of those who request anonymity.
The Bush presidential library, which is slated to be open to the public on May 1, 2013, will be officially dedicated on April 25. The dedication ceremony will feature all five living presidents -- Jimmy Carter, George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama -- and their spouses.