We've devoted a lot of ink to David Rubenstein as of late, but we'd argue that the first "patriotic philanthropist" was Bob Hope.
For over five decades he travelled the world entertaining U.S. troops. He didn't cut massive checks, but instead provided invaluable laughter and escape to those who needed it most. In 1977 he was rewarded with a unanimous congressional resolution naming him the first United States honorary veteran. He passed away in 2003.
Now comes word that the Bob and Dolores Hope Foundation will bring the story of his role in World War II into the exhibits at the National World War II Museum in New Orleans. The $3 million gift will integrate Hope's wartime legacy throughout the museum by, among other things, financing a documentary, a film series, interactive exhibits, and the display of artifacts from Hope’s career.
And what about the foundation that bears Bob's name?
Well, for starters, it's based in Burbank, California. Its primary areas of focus include education, museums, human services, and veterans affairs. That being said, the foundation seems to lack a Web site, rendering it somewhat of a black box. Nonetheless, some Googling can help fill in the blanks around its most pressing priorities.
Take the subject of veterans affairs, for example. In 2009 the foundation donated $200,000 to the PGA TOUR Charities, Inc. Birdies for the Brave program to help raise awareness around the Wounded Warrior Project.
"This contribution is a perfect fit honoring both the veterans that my dad so admired, and the game of golf which played such an important role in his life," said Linda Hope, Bob Hope's daughter, at the time. "We hope that our donation in my dad's name will help lighten the burdens of some of our returning heroes much as Dad was able to do during his lifetime."
Meanwhile, way back in 2002, the foundation established two acting fellowships and created the Bob Hope Endowed Fellowship Fund at Columbia University's School of the Arts to benefit second-year graduate students studying acting.
Add it all up, and the foundation appears committed to three of Hope's most cherished pastimes: supporting veterans, acting, and golf.
Which brings us back to the foundation's most recent give. "The gift," according to National World War II Museum President and CEO Gordon "Nick" Mueller, "makes it possible to continue to pass on this incredible story of Bob Hope’s ability to bring laughter into one of the darkest periods in history to new audiences around the world."