WASHINGTON (AP) – Laura Bush is joining a major effort to raise hundreds of million dollars from corporations and individual donors to restore the National Mall in Washington.

Interior Secretary Ken Salazar on Thursday named Bush the honorary chair of the $350 million fundraising effort during a luncheon on the mall. Organizers say the annual luncheon raised $1.75 million for the mall this year.

READ MORE: Dallas Police Release Video Prior To Shooting Of Armed Robbery Suspect

Bush will head a team of high-profile individuals who will support the nonprofit Trust for the National Mall. Since Jan. 1, the group has raised more than $3 million for the nation’s most visited national park.

READ MORE: Young Man Shot To Death Behind The Wheel Of Car In DeSoto; Witnesses Saw Passenger Run Off

Its dead grass, broken sidewalks and stagnant pools of water have drawn attention in recent years. The group says the mall needs $400 million for deferred maintenance and more to meet visitor needs.

MORE NEWS: Exclusive: Inside The North Texas Factory Making Syringes For COVID-19 Vaccines

(© Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)