Obama Foundation

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The Barack Obama Foundation
Obama Foundation logo.svg
Formation2014; 7 years ago (2014)
TypeNon-operating private foundation
EIN 46-4950751[1]
Legal status501(c)(3) organization
HeadquartersJackson Park, Chicago, Illinois
David Simas
Valerie Jarrett
$143,158,266 (2019)[2]
Endowment$429,545,259 (2019)[2]

The Barack Obama Foundation is a Chicago-based nonprofit organization founded in 2014. It oversees the creation of the Barack Obama Presidential Center, runs the My Brother's Keeper Alliance, a program Barack Obama began while he was President, and operates a scholarship program through the University of Chicago's Harris School of Public Policy.


The Foundation held its inaugural summit on October 31, 2017, in Chicago. According to Barack Obama, he intends for his foundation to be central to many of his post-presidential activities, which he sees as having the potential to be more consequential than his time in the White House.[3] In 2018, contributions and in-kind gifts totaled $164.8 million, according to its filed annual report in June 2019— a drop of $67.8 million from the $232.6 million raised in 2017.[4][5]

The foundation's first President was Adewale Adeyemo, a Nigerian Economist and former Deputy National Security Adviser for International Economic Affairs who joined in August 2019.[6] In 2020, President-elect Joe Biden selected Adeyemo to serve as Deputy Secretary of the Treasury, and he was replaced by Valerie Jarrett.[7]

Barack Obama Presidential Center[edit]

The Foundation's major project as of March 2018 is to oversee the creation of the planned presidential library of former President Obama. In May 2015, the Foundation, along with Chicago mayor Rahm Emanuel, announced the development of the Center and its location in the Jackson Park neighborhood of Chicago's South Side.[8] The planning process met with criticism from some local leaders who questioned the benefit for the surrounding area and did not feel the community was sufficiently involved.[9][10] On February 26, 2019, Chicago residents voted to require a community benefits agreement in order to make the Center official, something to which the Obama Foundation has objected.[11][12]

Updated plans were released in 2019, with some changes based on feedback. The complex includes four buildings, with a museum, public space, public library branch, and athletic center. It was designed by the architectural firm Tod Williams Billie Tsien.[13]

As of December 2020, the center is set to begin construction sometime in 2021.[7]

My Brother's Keeper Alliance[edit]

The My Brother's Keeper Alliance (MBK Alliance) is a program inspired by President Obama's My Brother's Keeper Challenge that he started through the White House in 2014. Its purpose is to address challenges and opportunity gaps that boys and young men of color face, providing support through mentoring, education, job training, and other activities.[14][15] In 2017, MBK Alliance was moved into the Obama Foundation.[16]


In February 2018 the Foundation announced it had begun a scholarship program at the University of Chicago. The scholarships are awarded to 25 American and international master's students in the Harris School of Public Policy in an effort to cultivate leadership through the Presidential Center. It covers the students' tuition and living expenses while they work with the foundation and take classes.[17][18] It also began sponsoring fellowships called Obama Foundation Scholars at Columbia University, Obama's alma mater. In its first year, 2018, the non-degree-granting program paid the expenses and provided a stipend for 12 international students.[19]


  1. ^ "Ways to Give – Obama Foundation". www.obama.org. Retrieved 2020-11-14.
  2. ^ a b "2019 Annual Report – Financials" (PDF). www.obama.org. Retrieved 2020-11-14.
  3. ^ "Obama, opening his foundation's first summit, calls for fixing civic culture". Politico. October 31, 2017.
  4. ^ Sweet, Lynn (June 28, 2019). "Obama Foundation fundraising down in 2018, pay for top staffers went up". Chicago Sun-Times.
  5. ^ Bowean, Lolly. "Obama Foundation raised $165M last year toward Chicago presidential center, a drop from kickoff year". chicagotribune.com.
  6. ^ https://nairametrics.com/2019/08/07/adewale-adeyemo-appointed-president-of-obama-foundation/ Nairametrics.com
  7. ^ a b Sweet, Lynn (2020-12-07). "Valerie Jarrett to lead Obama Foundation; Obama Presidential Center groundbreaking set for 2021". Chicago Sun-Times. Retrieved 2021-02-26.
  8. ^ Bosman, Julie; Smith, Mitch (May 12, 2015). "Chicago Wins Bid to Host Obama Library". New York Times. Retrieved January 10, 2018.
  9. ^ Bowean, Lolly. "Obama Foundation delays presidential center groundbreaking until next year". chicagotribune.com. Retrieved 2021-02-26.
  10. ^ "Professors Join Chorus of Opposition to Obama Foundation and Presidential Library". Non Profit News | Nonprofit Quarterly. 2018-01-12. Retrieved 2021-02-26.
  11. ^ Rachel Hinton (March 1, 2019). "A rare election-night loss for Obama: Voters back benefits pact for presidential center". Chicago Sun Times. Retrieved March 1, 2019.
  12. ^ "South Side Voters Tell City Officials The Obama Center Needs A Community Benefits Agreement". Block Club Chicago.
  13. ^ Nelson, Tim. "The Obama Foundation Has Just Unveiled a New Set of Renderings of the Presidential Center". Architectural Digest. Retrieved 2021-02-26.
  14. ^ Capehart, Jonathan (October 3, 2017). "My Brother's Keeper forges ahead with Obama and despite Trump". Washington Post.
  15. ^ Horsley, Scott (December 26, 2016). "Obama's Post-White House Plans Include My Brother's Keeper Effort". All Things Considered. NPR.
  16. ^ Holly, Danielle (September 7, 2017). "My Brother's Keeper Merges with Obama Foundation". Nonprofit Quarterly.
  17. ^ Bowan, Lolly (February 28, 2018). "Obama Foundation announces new scholarships to groom leaders". Chicago Tribune.
  18. ^ Sweet, Lynn (February 28, 2018). "Obama Foundation: U. of Chicago scholars program; $4 million to cut youth crime". Chicago Sun-Times.
  19. ^ Chen, David W. (2018-06-28). "Coming to Columbia This Fall, Obama Foundation Scholars (Published 2018)". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2021-02-26.

External links[edit]