Businesswoman gives $35 million to Smithsonian

Saturday, May 5th 2001, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

WASHINGTON (AP) _ The Smithsonian Institution will receive a $35 million gift to establish a new exhibit that would provide a historical portrait of 75 to 100 prominent Americans, the Washington Post reported on Friday.

The gift will given by Catherine B. Reynolds next week, a Washington resident who sold her financial services company to a bank and then set up her own charitable foundation.

Reynolds' gift is the latest in a string of large donations to Washington cultural institutions. It is one of the largest gifts in the museum's history.

Reynolds, 43, has lived in the Washington area since the late 1980s, and she made her fortune here.

The Smithsonian has been extremely successful in attracting large donations in the last three years, raking in a record $300 million from private sources.

Kenneth Behring, a California real estate developer, has given $100 million to the Smithsonian, including the single largest donation _ $80 million _ which also went to American History.

Reynolds has proposed a permanent exhibit with the working title ``Spirit of America'' as the focus of her donation. Some examples of those who would be featured would include Jonas Salk, Michael Jordan, Dorothy Hamill and Martin Luther King Jr.