Vladimir Potanin Donates $5 Million to Kennedy Center
Vladimir Potanin is what’s known as a Russian oligarch and billionaire, which is to say he is one of the richest people in Russia and the world.
But don’t let that description mislead you.
Potanin, who founded the Interros Company in 1990 and turned it into one the largest private investment companies in Russia, is also a philanthropist, one of those super-rich folks who likes to give large chunks of his fortune away. He signed on to Bill and Melinda Gates’ “Giving Pledge,” which is a promise to give away half of his money.
In keeping with that, the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts announced last week that Potanin had given a $5 million gift towards the center’s operating and programming budget.
In addition, the Kennedy Center Golden Circle Lounge, on the Box Tier level of the Opera House, will undergo a major renovation this summer, a project that will be founded by the Vladimir Potanin Foundation.
For all that, the Golden Circle Lounge will become the Russian Lounge when it reopens in the fall of 2012, which seems only fair.
Potanin said, “This is such an honor for me to give this gift on the 40th anniversary of the John F. Kennedy Center. I believe the Kennedy Center has been playing a very important role in building strong cultural relations between our countries by presenting the greatest Russian artists to the American people. I’m very grateful for the Kennedy Center and Chairman David M. Rubenstein’s continued support to the Russian Lounge project that we launch today and that is aimed to open new dimensions of Russia to the public. I believe that our cooperation with the Kennedy Center is a natural expansion of the philanthropic activities that we carry out in Russia.”
Among other things, the renovated lounge may include a multimedia zone which highlights Russian culture and museums, as well as feature unique museum collections from the Foundation’s archives.