THE OBAMA FOUNDATION news

THE OBAMA FOUNDATION

2022

 

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Hi jean,

Happy New Year—and what a year it’s been.

When Barack and I left the White House in 2017, we created the Obama Foundation to inspire the next generation of leaders to create the change they want to see in the world.

In a classroom setting, Mrs. Obama stands and smiles at two young girls seated in chairs. Both girls have medium deep skin tones and dark hair. Mrs. Obama has her right hand outstretched to greet the girl closest to her. “Donate Tonight – Double your Gift” is written in white text along a blue background on the bottom quarter of the image.

Like Barack, I’m deeply proud of the young people I’ve had the chance to meet from around the world who are already making progress on a range of issues, from protecting and strengthening our democracies, to helping the girls get the education they deserve, to supporting our boys and young men of color.

And you’ve been a part of it.

Your support has helped us create these meaningful opportunities for the leaders we serve. I hope you’ll make a donation today so we can create even more in the year ahead.

Thanks to your support, we’ve launched leadership programs in the United States and abroad that are connecting emerging changemakers and equipping them with the tools and support they need. We’ve created new opportunities for college students to explore a career in public service.

And we’ve made incredible progress on the construction of the Obama Presidential Center in my hometown of Chicago—a city that means so much to me and will become the hub for all of our work.

This is just the beginning, and we can’t wait to continue our work together. Donate tonight by 11:59 pm CT—your gift will be matched dollar for dollar thanks to a generous $1 million match opportunity!

Here’s to making even more of a difference in 2023.

—Michelle


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Hi jean,

Tomorrow is the last day in 2022 to make a charitable donation to the Obama Foundation for a potential tax deduction.

As the calendar turns to a new year with new possibilities and opportunities to inspire positive change around the world, we hope you’ll celebrate by making a donation to support our work. 

We’ve checked and the $1 million matching gift opportunity is still available! Just donate by tomorrow, December 31 at 11:59pm CT to have your donation matched dollar for dollar.

President Obama looks thoughtfully into the distance behind a podium with two microphones on it. He wears a dark suit jacket with a white collared shirt. Behind him, a sign partially shows “Obama Foundation” with the rising sun logo, as well as a portion of a rendering of the Obama Presidential Center campus.

As President Obama says, “Change will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time. We are the ones we’ve been waiting for. We are the change that we seek.”

Make your gift today!

–The Obama Foundation

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Hi jean,

We’re building a world class institution on the South Side of Chicago—and you’re an important part of it.

This holiday season, we’re asking you to donate to help us build the Obama Presidential Center on the South Side of Chicago. Your support will give hope a new home base.

So far, we’ve made significant progress on the construction of the Obama Presidential Center, announced beautiful spaces that will be named in honor of some of the trailblazers and leaders who came before us, and introduced a slate of art pieces that will be featured across the campus.

When it’s complete, visitors from across the street or from around the globe will be able to dive deeper into President and Mrs. Obamas’ journeys, learn and connect with others on the ideals that are essential to our democracy, and discover new ways to make an impact wherever they are.

We’re encouraged by the progress we’ve made in 2022 and are hopeful for what we can accomplish together in the new year.

A rendering shows a snowy day at the Obama Presidential Center. A crowd of people of varying ages and skin tones walk, stand, or sled on the rolling hill scenery with scattered trees. The Museum building—a light stone tower with words carved on the upper left corner—can be seen in the background.

If you donate by Saturday, December 31 before the clock strikes midnight central time, your tax-deductible donation will not only be matched dollar for dollar up to $1 million, but it will also get us closer to opening the doors of the Obama Presidential Center.

Let’s bring hope home.

—The Obama Foundation

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Hi jean,

In keeping with the longstanding tradition that started in the White House, President Obama recently dropped a list of his favorite books, movies, and music of the year. Enjoy!

President Obama smiles broadly, holding a microphone up to his mouth with his right hand. He wears a dark suit jacket and a blue collared shirt. “President Obama’s 2022 Favorites” is written in navy lettering against a sky blue background. A thin, mint circle animates around “2022.”

The Obama Presidential Center will house a new branch of the Chicago Library—a perfect place for young people and visitors from around the world to check out some of the titles included on his list. It will also house a recording studio so future generations can explore their own artistic talents.

Here’s to the power of the arts,

—The Obama Foundation

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Hi jean,

The countdown is on. There are just ten days left before the end of the 2022 tax year.

As you consider how you’ll create positive change through your end of year giving, we invite you to consider donating to the Obama Foundation to accomplish your goals.

Four young girls of a range of medium deep skin tones smile to camera. They have their hair in braids of different lengths and colors, and wear an array of colorful shirts. All four have blue masks resting under their chins. On a table in front of them lie an assortment of small plants in terracotta pots.

In 2022, we provided more than 70,000 lunches on the South Side of Chicago to young people who needed them most, launched a global campaign to empower adolescent girls around the world through education, and hosted our first-ever Democracy Forum. We also expanded our global network of leaders and supported communities and organizations that help young boys and men of color succeed. The promise of our future generations is worth investing in.

Your tax-deductible donation will not only be matched dollar for dollar up to $1 million before the clock strikes midnight central time on December 31, but it will fuel our mission throughout 2023.

Double your donation today.

—The Obama Foundation


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Hi jean,

This is big.

Yesterday, we experienced how people working together can create positive change. Thanks to overwhelming generosity from people like you, the momentum of Giving Tuesday continues.

We’re excited to share that your opportunity to have a donation matched continues today.

Mrs. Obama wears a black leather jacket and olive green pants. She smiles with both arms outstretched towards a young girl seen in profile, who is wearing a blue shirt, glasses, and a headband on her dark hair. she has medium skin and is holding out both hands in an embrace with Mrs. Obama. A blue bar at the bottom of the image reads "Double my impact" in white text.

That means the Obama Foundation will be able to grow our efforts to tackle the most pressing issues of our time, from climate change and racial injustice, to expanding opportunity for girls through education.

Double your gift today.

DOUBLE MY GIFT
—The Obama Foundation

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Hi jean,

Michelle and I started the Obama Foundation to help a new generation build a better tomorrow.

Right now, we’re facing our share of challenges. Democratic ideals are under assault around the world, climate change is threatening more and more communities, growing inequality is making it harder for families to get a fair shot, and we’re still recovering from the effects of a global pandemic.

But what makes me hopeful for the future are the inspiring leaders I’ve had the chance to meet through the Obama Foundation who are pointing the way forward.

President Obama wears a navy suit jacket and light blue collared shirt, smiling at and shaking hands with a young man with short dark hair and a deep skin tone. Light blue and royal blue panels are in the background, as well as a group of smiling young people of a range of skin tones who are looking on. An aqua button reads “Donate Today” in black text.

These leaders aren’t waiting for someone else to solve these big problems. Instead, often in the face of long odds, they are rolling up their sleeves to make a difference, one neighborhood, one school, one community at a time.

The challenges we face are too great for any one person to solve. It will take sustained effort from brave leaders, organizations, and committed supporters like you willing to work together to make progress possible.

By chipping in during Giving Tuesday, your donation will be matched—dollar for dollar—today only.

There is no time to waste.

DOUBLE YOUR DONATION

I hope you’ll join us,—Barack

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Hi jean,

Yesterday I joined the Obama Foundation’s inaugural Democracy Forum to talk about how we can preserve and strengthen democracy around the world.

President Obama stands behind a podium as he speaks at the Obama Foundation Democracy Forum. The president has a medium skin tone and is wearing a black suit. In the background is a blue, green, and yellow gradient graphic that reads, “Democracy Forum.” At the bottom of the graphic is a blue rectangular button that reads, “see highlights.”

At the Forum, I was happy to announce that the Foundation is expanding its work to train young people across this country with the new Leaders United States program that will allow more people to be a part of our growing network of leaders from around the world. And while these young people are working on the front lines of a range of issues, one thing that has become obvious is that progress on so many of them is linked to a broader commitment to democratic values.

Right now, democratic ideas are under assault around the world. This has nothing to do with traditional partisan lines or policy preferences. What’s being challenged are the foundational principles of democracy itself. That’s why we decided to hold this Forum – to bring together some of the remarkable young leaders in our network with some of the top thinkers and practitioners in the field so we can protect – and improve – democracy.

Doussouba Konaté, Landisang Kotaro, Nick Antipov, Natalia Herbst, and President Obama clap as they stand on a stage at the Obama Foundation Democracy Forum. All speakers are of medium and deep skin tones. In the background is a graphic that reads “Democracy Forum.”

It’s fair to say that we won’t solve this in 48 hours. The reasons for democratic backsliding are complicated and varied, but we identified a few issues where we can start digging deeper. We explored ways to create a more inclusive and sustainable model of capitalism, so that people feel they’ve got real economic opportunity; reimagine both our traditional and social media platforms to curb toxic disinformation and encourage a healthier exchange of ideas; and strengthen the forces of pluralism in an increasingly diverse world by looking at the story we’re telling about our culture, values and identity – because for any genuine democracy to function, all people need a seat at the table.Rather than shy away from these cultural questions, we have to take them head on and find a way to affirm the best of traditional values and create a space for our differences, while also insisting that our politics and governmental institutions uphold the overarching principles of equality for all people.

We have to rebuild healthy mediating institutions – worker organizations, civic associations, religious associations, trade groups – both in the real world and virtual world. We need to expand the civic education we provide our children – make it hands-on and relevant, so they can practice the skills of citizenship. And we must find ways to harness the power of information technologies – through better industry practices, government regulation, and innovative new business models – to promote more trust and cooperation and less anger and fear.

Making progress on these issues is a project that will take decades, not years. But it will be driven by the ideas and insights of a new generation of leaders who are better attuned to the changes that are taking place around the world.

I hope you’ll take a few minutes to hear from those young leaders directly at the Forum.

We’re proud to support them through our work at the Obama Foundation and look forward to them carrying democracy’s torch into the future.

– Barack

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Hi jean,

Recently, we hosted the inaugural Obama Foundation Democracy Forum, in partnership with Columbia University and the University of Chicago, to bring together experts from around the world, leaders in our global network of changemakers, and President Obama to discuss the role we can all play in protecting and strengthening democratic values and institutions.

Nick Antipov sits on stage and speaks into a microphone on a panel alongside Doussouba Konaté, Landisang Kotaro, Natalia Herbst, and President Obama. All the speakers are a range of light and deep skin tones. In the background is the Obama Foundation logo, an abstract rising sun in the shape of the letter O.

See the highlights.

At the Forum, President Obama shared the stage with four of our leaders, where they discussed opportunities to strengthen democracy in their own communities, work they’re doing to move progress forward, and their hopes for the future. He also announced an expansion of our domestic work to support changemakers, Leaders United States.

The next day, President Obama joined many of our leaders for workshops exploring the opportunities and challenges they face on the ground as they work to advance values-based leadership.

President Obama sits on a stage between a young women and a young man with deep skin tones. In the background are blue and white graphics that read, “Obama.org” and “The Obama Foundation Democracy Forum.”

Coming away from the forum, it’s clear that more unites us than divides us. As President Obama said, it’s up to us to carry democracy’s torch into the future.As we head into the holiday season, I wanted to leave you with some ways that you can practice a culture of democracy:

1. Use your Voice
Your voice matters. Recognize your own agency by speaking up for the causes and people you care about and enlisting allies in the fight.
2. Embrace Human Connection
Don’t shy away from cultural differences, create space for them. There is so much more that unites us than divides us, and it’s the best way to strengthen a democratic culture.
3. Verify Facts
Be mindful of the messages and information you consume. Examine sources, think before you share, and help others in your life be critical thinkers who can separate opinion from fact. The divisions that can exist within our democracies aren’t going away any time soon, but the information we choose to consume can encourage the better angels of our nature.
4. Participate
Engage in the democratic process by voting, holding your leaders accountable, and working toward diverse and inclusive institutions. The future depends on how we act today.

At a time when democracy is under threat, it’s inspiring to see how the leaders I work with have joined together to meet the needs of our world. You’re a part of that, too.Thank you for being a part of this work.

—Laura

Laura Lucas Magnuson
Executive Vice President, Global Programs
Obama Foundation 

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Hi jean,

Yesterday I joined the Obama Foundation’s inaugural Democracy Forum to talk about how we can preserve and strengthen democracy around the world.

President Obama stands behind a podium as he speaks at the Obama Foundation Democracy Forum. The president has a medium skin tone and is wearing a black suit. In the background is a blue, green, and yellow gradient graphic that reads, “Democracy Forum.” At the bottom of the graphic is a blue rectangular button that reads, “see highlights.”

At the Forum, I was happy to announce that the Foundation is expanding its work to train young people across this country with the new Leaders United States program that will allow more people to be a part of our growing network of leaders from around the world. And while these young people are working on the front lines of a range of issues, one thing that has become obvious is that progress on so many of them is linked to a broader commitment to democratic values.

Right now, democratic ideas are under assault around the world. This has nothing to do with traditional partisan lines or policy preferences. What’s being challenged are the foundational principles of democracy itself. That’s why we decided to hold this Forum – to bring together some of the remarkable young leaders in our network with some of the top thinkers and practitioners in the field so we can protect – and improve – democracy.

Doussouba Konaté, Landisang Kotaro, Nick Antipov, Natalia Herbst, and President Obama clap as they stand on a stage at the Obama Foundation Democracy Forum. All speakers are of medium and deep skin tones. In the background is a graphic that reads “Democracy Forum.”

It’s fair to say that we won’t solve this in 48 hours. The reasons for democratic backsliding are complicated and varied, but we identified a few issues where we can start digging deeper. We explored ways to create a more inclusive and sustainable model of capitalism, so that people feel they’ve got real economic opportunity; reimagine both our traditional and social media platforms to curb toxic disinformation and encourage a healthier exchange of ideas; and strengthen the forces of pluralism in an increasingly diverse world by looking at the story we’re telling about our culture, values and identity – because for any genuine democracy to function, all people need a seat at the table.Rather than shy away from these cultural questions, we have to take them head on and find a way to affirm the best of traditional values and create a space for our differences, while also insisting that our politics and governmental institutions uphold the overarching principles of equality for all people.

We have to rebuild healthy mediating institutions – worker organizations, civic associations, religious associations, trade groups – both in the real world and virtual world. We need to expand the civic education we provide our children – make it hands-on and relevant, so they can practice the skills of citizenship. And we must find ways to harness the power of information technologies – through better industry practices, government regulation, and innovative new business models – to promote more trust and cooperation and less anger and fear.

Making progress on these issues is a project that will take decades, not years. But it will be driven by the ideas and insights of a new generation of leaders who are better attuned to the changes that are taking place around the world.

I hope you’ll take a few minutes to hear from those young leaders directly at the Forum.

We’re proud to support them through our work at the Obama Foundation and look forward to them carrying democracy’s torch into the future.

– Barack

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Hi jean,

Tune in tomorrow, Thursday, November 17, to the first-ever Obama Foundation Democracy Forum!

The livestream begins at 12:30pm ET on Obama.org. You can also watch the Forum live on Twitter and Facebook.

The Forum will bring together leading democracy thinkers, leaders, and activists from around the world to discuss how we can all strengthen and advance democracy. President Obama will close out the day at 5pm ET with remarks and a conversation with Obama Foundation Leaders.

Centered text reads, “Democracy Forum'' and “Tune in tomorrow.” At the bottom of the image, a white rectangular button reads, “Obama.org.” The background is an abstract gradient of blue, yellow, and green.

We hope you’ll join us on Obama.org and in conversation online using #DemocracyForum.

—The Obama Foundation

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Hi jean,

This week, Michelle and I traveled home to Chicago to meet with students on the South and West Sides and see the impact the Obama Foundation is already having on the ground there.

Take a look.

President Obama speaks on a panel alongside Ayo Dosunmu, point guard for the Chicago Bulls, Adeeb Borden, and Aniya Hill, moderated by Chicago influencer and entrepreneur Don. C. The speakers are a range of darker skin tones, and they all sit on a stage facing an audience of people with a range of skin tones. Multiple signs in the background read,“Obama Foundation.”

It’s always inspiring to hear directly from young people about the best ways to support them. That’s why I sat down with several students to discuss the role that organizations like the Obama Foundation can play in helping them make their dreams a reality.

I also connected with local business leaders to discuss barriers to success, the impact of the Obama Presidential Center on the local economy, and how we can work together to help grow the economy on the South and West Sides.

President Obama listens as Marion Gross speaks on an economic development panel in Chicago, IL, alongside Nicole Hayes, Charles Smith, and Lata Reddy. All panelists have a range of skin tones and sit on a stage with signage in the background that reads, “Obama Foundation.”

The last time I visited students at Hyde Park Academy High School, just across the street from where we’re building the Obama Presidential Center, one student’s first question was, “Where’s Michelle?”So this time, Michelle surprised them to formally kick off the Obama Foundation Futures Series for the 2022-2023 school year. She also met with students from a new counseling program that helps middle and high school girls.

Michelle Obama smiles as she sits and holds a microphone at Hyde Park Academy High School in Chicago, IL. A sign in the background reads, “Futures Series at Hyde Park Academy High School.”

These young people inspire us. Their courage, their resilience, and their belief in a better future shows what’s possible when we work together to change things for the better.See more of our visit.

Thanks for being a part of this work.

—Barack

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Hi jean,

This past May, I shared that Michelle and I have teamed up with Brian Chesky, the co-founder and CEO of Airbnb, to create something really special: the Voyager Scholarship for Public Service.Now, I’m excited to introduce the 100 college students who make up the very first cohort of Voyagers.

An illustration shows two people standing on the edge of a brick bridge that creates a round overpass. Each figure is holding another piece of brick as if they are completing the bridge between them. They are set against a greenish-blue sky with fluffy clouds. The top of the graphic reads “Meet our inaugural class of Voyagers” in light yellow font, with “TheObama-Chesky Scholarship for Public Service” below it in smaller, white font.

These outstanding young people are planning to tackle a wide range of important issues–from reforming the criminal justice system and expanding access to affordable health care in the United States, to fighting climate change and protecting the rights of marginalized communities around the world.

Together, they give Michelle, Brian, and I so much hope—and I think they’ll inspire you, too.

I can’t wait to see what these leaders accomplish, and how they’ll transform our communities through public service. I hope you’ll follow along.

—Barack

Hi jean,

We are celebrating President Obama’s 61st birthday in a very special way.

Today we launch the alumni campaign to fund the Ann Dunham Water Garden at the Obama Presidential Center that will be named in honor of the President’s mother.

Ann Dunham believed in the power of human connection and the inherent dignity in all of us. She instilled those values in her children. And those values were the foundation that inspired a movement of hope and carried President Obama to the White House. That’s why we’re so proud to honor the life and legacy of Ann Dunham by making her name forever a part of the Obama Presidential Center experience.The Water Garden will also include a stunning sculptural water feature from one of the President’s favorite artists, Maya Lin, who is best known for designing the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C.

The Ann Dunham Water Garden will be a hallmark space for families to take a quiet moment for reflection or go for a splash through the water fountain. The special space will be surrounded by amphitheater-style seating great for poetry readings, informal performances, and special convenings. We’re excited for you to see it.

Happy birthday, Mr. President!

—ValerieValerie Jarrett
Chief Executive Officer, Obama Foundation 
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Hi jean,

Here at the Obama Foundation, we have always believed in the idea that it is up to all of us to meet the challenges of our world.

It’s the heart of our programs and initiatives, and it’s why President Obama joined nearly 60 Obama Foundation Leaders from across Europe in Copenhagen, Denmark, last week to discuss challenges facing our democracy and to dig into the many ways they are driving change in their communities.

Together, they engaged in small group workshops on values-based leadership and explored innovative solutions to issues like disinformation and the rise of populism.

As part of his trip, President Obama closed out the Copenhagen Democracy Summit with remarks on the importance of a positive vision for democracy, and he shared the stage with a few of our Obama Foundation Leaders to demonstrate the promise of the next generation to chart a better course. Check out highlights here. 

Our Obama Leaders are building diverse coalitions to bring out the very best in our communities, and we are deeply inspired by their work—and the relationships they’re building with one another.

They are the ones we’ve been waiting for.

— The Obama Foundation

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Hi jean,Ten years ago, our nation strengthened its commitment to the principle that every American deserves a chance to build a better life here. Amid congressional gridlock and decades of failure to address our broken immigration system, my administration took action to protect hundreds of thousands of young people who were American in every way but one.

These Dreamers came to this country very young, sometimes as infants, and did everything right. They studied hard, worked hard, and proved to their parents that the risk of coming to America had paid off. Many did not know they were undocumented until they applied to college or tried to enlist in the military. And not only did a piece of paper suddenly stand in the way of their aspirations, it added a threat of deportation to a country they might not know with a language they might not speak.But rather than accepting defeat and living in fear, so many Dreamers did the opposite: They publicly proclaimed their immigration status. They showed how much the American Dream meant to them, sharing their stories of hope and heartbreak. And they called on their elected officials to do something to fix the system.

That’s who I was thinking about when our administration made it possible for them to apply for work authorization and protection against deportation through Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). DACA made it possible for these promising young Americans to continue to thrive in the only country they had ever called home. It lifted the shadow of deportation from people of extraordinary promise. And the results—for them and for us all—cannot be denied, as we’ve seen more than 800,000 people who have received DACA protection now thriving as teachers, service members, business owners, doctors, and parents.

A few weeks ago, I met with several DACA recipients who are excelling in medicine, organizing, and more. To me, they’re exceptional in part because I know they’re not exceptions—there are hundreds of thousands of stories like theirs. We are a better nation—a stronger nation—because of DACA recipients.

It is not lost on them or me that the DACA program was, and is, temporary. Much work remains for our country to reform our immigration system and offer Dreamers a permanent resolution to their status that honors our heritage as a nation of laws and a nation of immigrants. It’s on all of us to finish this work.—Barack


            ⓒ 2022 Obama Foundation

Hi jean,

In an increasingly globalized world, forging connections is more important than ever. We know that young leaders with a passion for public service will be the ones to bridge divides and set a better course for our future. And that means we need to do everything we can to nurture their talents and curiosity.

In service of that mission, we’re so pleased to announce we’ve teamed up with Brian Chesky, Airbnb CEO, to create something really special: the Voyager Scholarship for Public Service.

On the surface, Brian and I might not seem all that similar. He was born in New York; I was born in Hawai’i. He’s a tech founder; I’m not. But we have more in common than most people realize. Both of us traveled unlikely paths to get where we are today. I grew up in Hawai’i and Indonesia, raised by a single mom, and worked as a constitutional law professor before getting into politics. Brian’s parents were social workers and he went to design school. But both of our parents instilled in us the importance of helping others from a very young age.

Michelle, Brian, and I all share the belief that connection doesn’t just enrich our own lives—it helps communities come together, forge common bonds, and solve big problems. It’s why Michelle and I started the Obama Foundation—to bring together the next generation of leaders and help them build connections and learn from each other. And it’s why we couldn’t be more excited about the Voyager Scholarship.

For so many young people who want to pursue public service, financial obstacles stand in the way. That’s why the Voyager Scholarship helps students with financial aid, meaningful travel experiences to expand their horizons, and a network of leaders who can support them.

I hope you’ll take a moment to discover what the Voyager Scholarship is all about. Applications are open now until June 14 to rising juniors in the United States—so please help us spread the word to eligible undergraduate students.

As we’re seeing around the world, we can’t take democracy, or tolerance, or progress for granted. We have to work for it. And that means supporting the individuals who want to be forces for good.

—Barack

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Hi jean,

On Thursday, I traveled to Stanford University to talk about disinformation and the role we can all play in combating threats against democracy.

I’m convinced that one of the biggest reasons we’ve seen democracy increasingly under attack, in the United States and globally, is changes in how we communicate and consume information. The same technologies that make it possible to connect with nearly anyone in the world in real-time are increasingly being used to create alternate realities that fan the flames of ethnic violence, promote authoritarianism, and spread conspiracy theories. The result has been a gradual erosion of trust in the public officials, media organizations, and political institutions that are necessary for democracy to function.

Disinformation is nothing new. Inflammatory rhetoric that contributes to divisions in our society did not start with tech or media companies. And some of what we’re seeing now is an inevitable consequence of new technology. But it’s also the result of very specific choices made by the companies that have come to dominate the internet generally and social media platforms in particular–decisions that, intentionally or not, have made democracies more vulnerable.

Despite these challenges, what keeps me hopeful is the new generation of activists that have already recognized the problem and are doing their part to fix it. Leaders like Obama Foundation Fellow Tiana Epps-Johnson, who started an organization to make election administration more safe and secure. Or Obama Foundation Leader Timothy Franklyn, who founded the National School of Journalism and Public Discourse in India to train journalists who are committed to justice and democracy.I hope you’ll take a few minutes to learn more about their work and how the Obama Foundation is supporting other leaders like them around the world.

Progress won’t be easy. But it’s an opportunity for all of us to do what America has always done at our best—to recognize when the status quo isn’t working, and build something better together.

I hope you agree, and look forward to working together to make that a reality.

– Barack

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Hi jean,

Our hearts continue to go out to all those affected by the escalating war in Ukraine.

Throughout the darkness and chaos, what continues to give us hope is seeing people come together to take action—including many of our Obama Leaders in Europe. We’ve compiled a growing number of stories that speak to the inspiring display of character and humanity that continues to be revealed during this crisis.

TAKE A LOOK

Please take a moment to get to know the people, organizations, and companies all over the world that have stepped up to support those in Ukraine and across the region. You’ll also find ways you can support their work.—The Obama Foundation


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Hi jean,

Twelve years ago, I signed the Affordable Care Act (ACA) into law.

I’ve said before that the night the ACA passed was one of the most meaningful in the White House. To me, it was a bigger deal than the night I was elected president, because I knew the law would make a difference in millions of people’s lives.

Today, we continue to see the impact of what became known as ObamaCare. In just the past year, enrollments are up, the percentage of uninsured Americans is down, and more people than ever are benefiting from the economic security that health care provides.

LEARN MORE ABOUT THE ACA AT 12

When we open the doors of the Obama Presidential Center, visitors will be able to learn more about the Affordable Care Act and the activists, staff, and elected officials who fought for decades to make health care a reality. I hope they’ll leave inspired by their example, and hopeful about the ability we all have to make change happen.Thanks for your support.

–Barack

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            ⓒ 2022 Obama Foundation

Hi jean,

The impact of Russia’s unprovoked invasion of Ukraine has been devastating. And while the situation continues to escalate, so does the need for help—from emergency relief on the ground, to support for those fleeing to neighboring countries.

For all of us at the Obama Foundation, our hearts go out to the people who call Ukraine home and to the Obama Foundation Leaders in Europe who are on the front lines of this war. Devoted to creating lasting change in their communities, and advancing the principles of democracy, equality, and human dignity, our leaders are assisting along the border and adapting their work to bravely support those in Ukraine during this time of crisis.

We reached out to our leaders network to identify several organizations that are doing critical humanitarian work right now. Organizations like Fight For Right, led by Yuliia Sachuk in Ukraine, who are coordinating accessible shelter, evacuations, and emergency services for those living with disabilities.As President Obama stated, “people of conscience around the world need to loudly and clearly condemn Russia’s actions and offer support for the Ukrainian people.”

We hope you’ll consider making a donation to help amplify the work of these organizations leading the work on the ground.

PLEASE HELP

Please join us in support.—The Obama Foundation


           
Hi jean,

We are thrilled to announce that the first piece in our series of commissioned art for the Obama Presidential Center will be created by Chicago-based artist Richard Hunt!Watch this video to learn more about Richard’s story and to see a special preview of the sculpture he will create for the Center.

Richard Hunt was born and raised in the Woodlawn neighborhood on the South Side of Chicago and has made history throughout his decades-long career. President Obama describes him as “one of the greatest artists Chicago ever produced.”We believe art is a powerful mechanism to discover our common ground, as well as inspire and empower our visitors to be change agents in their communities. We’re working to elevate the importance of art throughout the Obama Presidential Center, and we hope that the sculpture Richard will create for the Reading Garden outside the Center’s Chicago Public Library branch will inspire community members and visitors from around the world.

—The Obama Foundation

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Hi jean,

Ten years ago today, Trayvon Martin was killed.

Trayvon wasn’t so different from me. I resembled him as a teenager, and as a young Black man, the way I was perceived was similar to the way Trayvon was perceived. Luck might have been the only thing that separated us.

Recently, I reflected on what Trayvon’s death 10 years ago meant to me as president, and as a Black man—as well as what it meant for our country. I also shared more about the movement sparked by the tragedy, which continues to press forward.

Trayvon’s death and the resulting jury decision was an expression of a longstanding sense that our country is overdue in recognizing all Americans as equal—not just in the eyes of the law, but in the eyes of each other.I shared the frustration of millions of Americans in the wake of Trayvon’s death, and I was left with a question of what my administration could do to address the systemic issues that led to this tragedy.

Learn more about our response, which led to the creation of the My Brother’s Keeper initiative during my time in the White House, and see how its work continues at the Obama Foundation through the My Brother’s Keeper Alliance.

In addition to My Brother’s Keeper, one of the most important things that came out of this dark moment to me was the activation of an entire new generation of civil rights leaders who took grassroots organizing to a new level. By leveraging social media, building a coalition, and making their voices heard, they were able to move so many people from anguish to action.

It will take sustained engagement at multiple levels to ensure no Black life is cut short. That’s one reason we’re proud to be connecting and training the next generation of leaders through the Obama Foundation, and supporting boys and young men of color through the My Brother’s Keeper Alliance.

We have a long way to go. But my hope is that we can look back on this moment and the movement that emerged in response to this tragedy as one more step in our country’s journey to come to terms with our past. It will take all of us to make that a reality.

Thank you for your support of this work.

–Barack


            ⓒ 2022 Obama Foundation

Hi jean,

It’s hard to believe that 15 years have passed since I stood in front of the Old Capitol in Springfield, Illinois, and announced my candidacy for President.

It’s easy to look back on that morning, and the nearly two year campaign that followed, and think that our efforts were destined for success. But at the time, our campaign was viewed as a longshot—historic perhaps, but unlikely to end in the White House.

What gave me the confidence to move forward in spite of the odds were the people I met, including the people who came out to see us in Springfield. They didn’t stand in the cold for hours just for me. They did it because they believed in what this country could be, and that together, we could create change.I would go on to see that same spirit in the faces of organizers, staff, and thousands of volunteers across the country who took it upon themselves to organize their own communities. They’re the reason our campaign succeeded, and I carried their stories—about a loved one who lost their health care, or a parent whose retirement account had been wiped out by the financial crisis, or a family struggling to pay their bills—with me to the White House.

Today, we face our own set of challenges. But my faith in what we can achieve when we work together is as strong as ever, in part because so many of the people who got involved for the first time in 2008 continue to find ways to serve. I hope you’ll take a minute to read a few of their stories.

What happened in 2008 and in the years since serves as proof that, in the face of long odds, people who love their country can change it for the better. That’s part of the reason we have focused our efforts at the Obama Foundation on inspiring, connecting, and training the next generation of leaders, and it’s a story we’ll be proud to tell at the Obama Presidential Center.

–Barack

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            ⓒ 2022 Obama Foundation

2021

 

Hi jean,

As we gather with family and friends this holiday season, I want to offer some thoughts on what this year has meant to me and invite you to explore highlights from the Obama Foundation’s work in 2021.After the year we’ve had, it feels especially important to reflect on just how far we’ve come as individuals, as communities, and as a society—as well as how far we still have to go.

While we have plenty of hard work ahead of us, Michelle and I are encouraged by the stories of progress that came from 2021—especially the example set by a new generation of young leaders. This year, I got a chance to meet some of them.

In Glasgow, I heard from passionate activists who are demanding real, lasting action in response to the climate crisis. In Chicago, I sat down with inspiring young students and community leaders to talk about how they’re working to protect and improve their communities. And no matter where I went or who I met with, every single person held an unshakeable belief that things can and will get better if we put in the work.

These leaders—and many more like them—kept me going this year. And they reaffirmed why Michelle and I started the Obama Foundation: to inspire, empower, and connect people so they can change the world. It’s why we’re giving hope a new home base on Chicago’s South Side with the Obama Presidential Center. And it’s why we were able to make so much progress during another challenging year.

If you haven’t already, I encourage you to take a look at the work that came out of the Foundation over the past year. You’ll see highlights from our Road to Groundbreaking, global programming, fundraising efforts, and more.

Finally, I want to thank you for your energy and interest in the Foundation. At a difficult time, you’ve helped make a real difference, and I am deeply grateful.

—Barack

Hi jean,

Throughout history, art has helped move society forward. Songs become anthems of global movements, films awaken our consciences to the lived reality of our neighbors, and books help us find common ground by revealing universal truths. In the White House, President Obama celebrated artists, musicians, and writers who used their voices to make a difference. So it’s no wonder that in his post-presidency, he’s continuing the tradition.Recently, President Obama shared the music, books, and films that were some of his favorites this year. Check it out.

Here at the Foundation, we also believe that the arts have the power to change things for the better. That’s why we’re proud to support leaders like Asia-Pacific Leader Minkyung Michelle Cho. Minkyung founded an organization called Singing Beetle to support and empower artists and songwriters in South Korea to make their voices heard—yes, K-pop is involved.Right here on the South Side of Chicago, Candice Washington put her admiration of Toni Morrison into action by founding Brown Books and Paintbrushes, where she educates young children of all races on Black culture and healthy racial identity through art, literacy, and cultural programming.

Two of our Europe Leaders, Isabel Broian of Armenia and Farhad Shamo Roto of France who identify as Yezidis, worked together to create a film about child marriage in the Yezidi community, using the documentary to spark conversations about the harmful practice and hopefully bring it to an end.

As you reflect on the year, we hope you’ll treat yourself by checking out President Obama’s final picks of 2021.

Here’s to the power of art,

—The Obama Foundation

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            ⓒ 2021 Obama Foundation
Hi jean,
Michelle and I are always energized by a return trip to Chicago. Coming home is a powerful reminder of the values that define us, and the work of the Obama Foundation. That’s why we decided to make a special holiday visit to the South Side last week.

As you’ll see in our video recap, this trip was an opportunity for us to meet with members of a new generation of leaders taking on some of the city’s most serious challenges. And it was an opportunity to listen to them about what’s working, and where they need more support.We also spent time with some inspiring young people—from students at Hyde Park High School, to girls participating in local mentorship organizations, to aspiring athletes at the South Side YMCA. Their enthusiasm and optimism were infectious, and drove home the importance of making sure they have the safe spaces, resources, and opportunities they need to be successful.

There is so much work to be done—in Chicago and all around the world. But what continues to give us hope is the knowledge that young leaders everywhere are ready to step up and make a difference. They’re the reason the Foundation and the future Obama Presidential Center exist, and why your continued support matters more than ever.

Thank you!

—Barack

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Hi jean,

As we enter this season of gratitude and giving, I want to thank you for your support of the My Brother’s Keeper Alliance this year. I’d also like to share some of the remarkable work we’re doing, and invite you to continue on this journey towards a more equitable future.From the beginning, our mission has been clear: To build safe and supportive local communities for boys and young men of color where they feel valued and have clear pathways to opportunity. That mission could not be more urgent, which is why we continue to train and educate leaders working to take on the most critical issues facing our communities.

Thanks to your support, we’ve been able to create and deploy the My Brother’s Keeper Equity Framework. This proven method for systems change provides community leaders all across the United States with the tools and action plans they need to address everything from literacy rates to environmental racism. Coupled with our focused local grant programming, we are making a real difference, community by community.We’re also continuing to drive change through our powerful Reimagine Policing initiative — a program that calls on local government officials to engage in open communication with their residents in an effort to review and reform the use of force. To date, more than 60 million Americans live in places that have taken the Reimagine Policing Pledge.

But there’s so much more we can do to create real opportunities for all young men of color. That’s why I hope you’ll consider making a gift to the Obama Foundation this Giving Tuesday.

$25
$10
$50
$100

Systemic change doesn’t happen overnight. It requires thorough research, investment, and community support. With your help, we can ensure that more boys and young men can live up to their full talent and potential.I sincerely hope you’ll join us in this life-changing work.

—Barack


            ⓒ 2021 Obama Foundation
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Hi jean,

Happy International Day of the Girl!Today, I’m celebrating the power and promise of young women all over the world who have proven, time and again, that they are a force to be reckoned with. One of those girls is Rachel, an 18-year-old student who is taking part in a program in Namibia that is in our Girls Opportunity Alliance Network.

Girl Talk - Watch on POPSUGAR

Raised by a single mom who has always pushed her to work hard, Rachel is determined to get ahead. While some of her peers have already been forced to drop out of school to marry, Rachel has committed herself to getting her education—and through an organization in the Girls Opportunity Alliance, she has the support she needs to do just that.Physically Active Youth Namibia, an after-school program in Katutura, gives Rachel access to extra classes and to mentorship that she says has changed her life. During the pandemic, they delivered food to her family and homework to her house so that she could keep learning while schools were closed. And because of them, Rachel is now applying to college.

Today, Rachel will be taking over my Instagram account to share her storyBut she won’t be the only Girls Opportunity Alliance member you’ll see online. Girls from Uganda, Guatemala, Kenya, and Vietnam will also be taking over the accounts of my friends Kerry Washington, Orlando Bloom, Shonda Rhimes, and Brie Larson in honor of International Day of the Girl.

Stories like these are what inspired my work to empower girls as First Lady, and they’re what led us to start the Girls Opportunity Alliance at the Obama Foundation three years ago. I truly believe that every single one of us should do our part to support young women like Rachel. So I hope you’ll donate to the Girls Opportunity Alliance Fund today in honor of a girl in your life. Every bit of support makes a difference—not just on this day, but all year long.

—Michelle

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            ⓒ 2021 Obama Foundation

Hi jean,Today, President and Mrs. Obama announced that virtual groundbreaking celebrations for the Obama Presidential Center are slated to begin on Monday, September 27!

Watch President and Mrs. Obama’s exciting announcement, including their reflections on what Chicago means to them.

Our entire road to groundbreaking has been building towards this moment. While we won’t be able to gather in person this fall, we are excited to connect virtually so we can celebrate Chicago and everyone who has helped bring the Obama Presidential Center to the South Side.Together, we’re one step closer to creating a new destination to move visitors from hope to action, breathing new life into historic Jackson Park, and delivering amenities and economic benefits to the community the Obamas called home.

We hope you’ll mark your calendars and stay tuned for ways you can participate online!

—The Obama Foundation


           

Dear jean,In May 2021, we hosted the MBK Leadership Forum, a virtual gathering of MBK Communities that are making notable progress to reduce barriers and expand opportunity for boys and young men of color. Today, we’re excited to announce that the mainstage and breakout sessions from the two-day event are now available online for on-demand viewing.

The gathering, held on May 26-27, celebrated the program’s collective progress, centered racial equity as a core driver to meet MBK goals, highlighted best practices from communities with proven success, and introduced the new MBK Equity Framework. The Forum also featured a conversation with President Obama and youth and community leaders on the unprecedented activism that has taken place in the year following George Floyd’s tragic murder.

Finally, when you visit the MBK Leadership Forum website, you’ll be able to hear from leading changemakers from across sectors who were featured in the following mainstage and breakout sessions:

  • Changing the Narrative
  • Centering Racial Equity in Data Strategies
  • Building a Backbone
  • Building Public Commitment and Engaging Diverse Stakeholders
  • Mayoral Leadership
  • Philanthropy in the Age of COVID-19
  • Lessons From Loíza: Unique Approaches & Perspectives For Supporting Boys and Young Men of Color
  • Indigenous Intersections: Allyship with Tribal Communities

We hope you will take a moment to be inspired by the dynamic conversations that took place at the MBK Leadership Forum, and learn more about the MBK Equity Framework. The MBK Equity Framework is a resource designed for any community looking to improve the lives of boys and young men of color and underserved youth. The Framework has been rigorously developed from the ground up in partnership with organizations on the frontlines of youth and community development.

If you are an MBK Community that wants to learn more about the MBK Equity Framework, sign up for one of our MBK University sessions below. If you’re interested in becoming an MBK Community or joining the MBK Alliance, click here.

MBKU 101: Aligning Cross-sector Partnerships and Strategic Collaborations: Who should be at the table with you as you become an MBK Community? 

June 19, 2021 2:00-3:30PM ET Register Here

The MBK Community Challenge charges communities with laying the groundwork to launch a comprehensive plan and commitment to boys and young men of color in your community. The first step in answering the call to become an MBK Community is making a public declaration. The second step is confirming your MBK Community Stakeholder Roundtable. Steps 1 and 2 require cross-sector partnerships and strategic collaborations. Join us for this MBKU 101 course to engage in a workshop that will walk you through this strategic process–allowing you to walk away with a clear plan of action to complete Steps 1 and 2 of the MBK Community Challenge. You will also hear from Local MBK Communities who have successfully aligned cross-sector partnerships and strategic collaborations.MBKU 101: Conducting Your  Local Data and Policy Review 

July 21, 2021 2:00-3:30PM ET Register Here

The third step of the MBK Community Challenge focuses on conducting your local data and policy review. This requires your MBK Community Stakeholder Roundtable to scour local policies, programs, and metrics in search of ways to introduce or expand on existing efforts to better serve youth. Participants will engage in a data and policy review training and walkthrough with an MBK Community and additional data review expert–ultimately providing the strategy and tools to execute this review, and walk away with a clear plan of action to complete Step 3 of the MBK Community Challenge.MBKU 101: Developing and Launching Your Local MBK Action Plan & Your Local Action Summit 

July 23, 2021 2:00-3:00PM ET Register Here

The fourth step of the MBK Community Challenge leads communities to develop and launch your MBK Community Local Action Plan. This plan will serve as a living, breathing document that guides work, is reported out on, and is assessed and evolved as necessary. Participants will gain additional insights and strategies to complete their local action plan, as well as hear directly from an MBK Community about their journey launching their plan and honoring the ongoing work post-summit.MBKU 201: MBK Equity Framework

July 28, 2021 2:00-3:30PM ET Register Here

This course will delve into the MBK Equity Framework with participants—providing a high-level overview of the vision and intention of the framework, eight elements of success, and the ongoing use of this tool. Participants will have an opportunity to engage in 2-3 breakout rooms where they can explore an element of success in each room with a community strongly leading this work.We look forward to being in community with you soon.

Best,

—Michael

Michael D. Smith
Executive Director, My Brother’s Keeper Alliance
The Obama Foundation

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            ⓒ 2021 Obama Foundation

Hi jean,If you’ve followed Barack Obama’s career at all, you know that when it comes to music, books, art, and all things pop culture, he is something of a Tastemaker-in-Chief.

As President, he and Mrs. Obama welcomed dancers, artists, and musicians into the halls of the White House for special performances and ceremonies—including a few where President Obama grabbed the mic himself!

An extension of his appreciation for a snappy lyric and an undeniable bass line, he put out his first-ever Spotify playlist in 2015. It quickly turned into a groovy tradition that’s still going strong.

This week, he dropped a new list of his favorite summer tracks and summer reads. Check it out.

Here at the Obama Foundation, we’re finding new ways to celebrate the President and First Lady’s commitment to the arts through the Obama Presidential Center. The campus will feature a recording studio for young musicians to perfect their craft, a new branch of the Chicago Library where kids can get lost in a good book, and art that will make us all marvel at what we can accomplish when we work together to create change. We can’t wait.We hope you’ll take a listen to President Obama’s summer playlist and find your next read from his latest book picks.

—The Obama Foundation

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Hi jean,

As we near the end of Women’s History Month, there’s no better time to celebrate the power that lies inside every girl and pay it forward to the next generation of inspiring young women.That’s why I’m so thrilled that tonight POPSUGAR is hosting “Girl Talk: Knowledge Is Our Superpower,” a virtual event dedicated to girls’ education and empowerment and featuring the stories of the Girls Opportunity Alliance.

Girl Talk - Watch on POPSUGAR
You’ll get to meet girls all over the world, hear a musical performance from Kelly Clarkson, and get advice about how to pursue your goals and support each other. Auli’i Cravalho will share why it’s so important for girls to dream big. Maitreyi Ramakrishnan will discuss how girls can carve out their own paths, even when they’re the first or the only person to try something new. And Marsai Martin will teach a new course: Stepping Into Your Power 101. Along the way we’ll be joined by many other special guests, all in support of adolescent girls’ education around the world and our work with the Girls Opportunity Alliance.

I also can’t wait to introduce you to two remarkable students during the special: Sonali Pathak from India and Turipamue Kazohua from Namibia, who are both 15 years old and who joined me and Lilly Singh for a conversation about what their education has been like during the pandemic. Of course, these young women faced challenges to getting an education even before COVID-19, but organizations in the Girls Opportunity Alliance community have helped them to keep learning while remaining healthy and safe. Tonight you’ll learn about their challenges and their dreams, from Turipamue’s love for the debate club at her school to Sonali’s favorite karate lessons in her community.

These young women are going to inspire you as much as they inspire me—I know it. And the truth is, there are girls like them in every corner of the globe, who are eager to learn and absolutely determined to get an education worthy of their promise. So join us tonight, and then do your part to pay it forward to the next generation of young women. We’ve made it easy to do just that by releasing a new fundraising toolkit on the Girls Opportunity Alliance website that will help you to take action, from hosting a virtual trivia night to leading a solo fun run—and if you’re a parent, you can do this with your kids and show them what it means to give back.

You can watch the special tonight at 9 PM ET at POPSUGAR and TLC, or catch an encore presentation at 10 PM ET on OWN. So I hope you’ll spread the word and tune in to join us in celebration of all of the women and girls in your life and all around the world.

I hope this special hour of girl power motivates and inspires you to help us ensure the world knows that, as Sonali says, “girls are magic.”

—Michelle

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            ⓒ 2021 Obama Foundation

Hi jean,

Happy International Women’s Day! This past year, we’ve seen just how much women accomplish every single day—they’ve been the ones putting in overtime as frontline healthcare workers, taking on activist roles in their communities, and stepping up to care for their families during these tough times. It’s awe inspiring. And what gives me so much hope is that the next generation of women are just as determined, especially as they pursue their education in the face of great challenges and a rapidly changing educational landscape.That’s why I couldn’t be more excited to celebrate girls’ education on Thursday, March 25, with POPSUGAR. I’ll be speaking with Lilly Singh and girls from the Girls Opportunity Alliance as they share what their education has looked like during the pandemic and how organizations in our global community have helped them to keep learning safely.

Girl Talk - Watch on POPSUGAR

This issue is so important to me, because we know that girls around the world were already facing challenges to their education, and those challenges only get tougher during times like these. Early studies predict that an additional 20 million girls of secondary school age may never return to school due to ripple effects from the pandemic. We can’t let that happen. These girls deserve an education worthy of their potential, and the world deserves the full expression of their brilliance, talent, and ideas.So I hope you’ll tune in on March 25 and support girls’ education and empowerment today through the Girls Opportunity Alliance Fund. This week, we added three new projects from grassroots organizations that help girls access virtual learning, learn about their health, and stay in school.

International Women’s Day is the perfect time to support girls around the world, so take action however you can—because when girls get the opportunities they deserve, we all benefit.

—Michelle

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            ⓒ 2021 Obama Foundation
Dear jean,

Today is a historic day. 56 years ago, marchers armed only with their courage crossed a bridge in Selma, Alabama, determined to fight for a more just future. When President Obama honored those marchers on that same bridge 50 years later, he delivered a speech that not only captured his idea of what America should be, but one that called on each generation to take up the baton and build on the legacies of those who came before.

I’m thrilled to share that a portion of that meaningful speech will appear on the exterior of the Obama Presidential Center on the South Side of Chicago. Watch the video to see the words that were selected.

Watch this special reveal
This selection also speaks to one of the themes of the Obama Presidential Center Museum: the power of words. Visitors will learn more about the movements that inspired President Obama to come to the South Side, see how that history shaped the Obama presidency, and be asked to reflect on how their own story fits into the ongoing work of creating a better future for all.I hope you’ll take a moment to watch this special reveal. When you visit the Center and look up and see these powerful words, we hope you’ll feel inspired to continue the work that so many before us undertook to make our world a better place.

Thank you,

—Louise

Dr. Louise Bernard
Director, Obama Presidential Center Museum 

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            ⓒ 2021 Obama Foundation
Hi there,

As we come to the end of another powerful Black History Month, we wanted to make sure you saw a few of the stories we shared. From highlighting moments in history that will be included in the Obama Presidential Center Museum, to lifting up the voices of Chicago’s youth, we hope these stories remind you of how far we’ve come as a nation—and how much further we have to go.

—The Obama Foundation

THREE YEARS WITH THE OBAMA PORTRAITS
THREE YEARS WITH THE OBAMA PORTRAITS
Three years ago, Kehinde Wiley and Amy Sherald became the first Black artists to create official, Smithsonian-commissioned portraits of a former President and First Lady. Revisit when President and Mrs. Obama revealed their historic portraits at the National Portrait Gallery in Washington, DC.
THE POWER OF ART IN THE OBAMA WHITE HOUSE
THE POWER OF ART IN THE OBAMA
WHITE HOUSE
During their time in the White House, President and Mrs. Obama always recognized and embraced the power of art. By showcasing pieces that depicted important chapters in the American story, White House visitors and staffers alike were reminded of how far we’ve come as a nation—and the work that remains to create a more just society for allExplore the artwork. 
A Chorus of Hope
A CHORUS OF HOPE
Based in Chicago’s Hyde Park neighborhood, the Chicago Children’s Choir always ends Black History Month with a performance of “We Shall Overcome,” an iconic song of the Civil Rights Movement. See how the Choir is using the power of music and community to get through these difficult times.
The Black History of Jackson Park
CELEBRATING THE BLACK HISTORY OF
JACKSON PARK
When Frederick Douglass traveled to Jackson Park to attend the World’s Columbian Exposition in 1893, he made the park a part of Black history. The Obama Presidential Center will add another chapter to its storied history. See how.

Like what you see? Forward this email to a friend who could use a little inspiration!


            ⓒ 2021 Obama Foundation

“And that’s what ‘My Brother’s Keeper’ is all about—helping more of our young people stay on track; providing the support they need to think more broadly about their future; building on what works, when it works, in those critical life-changing moments.”—President Obama, February 27, 2014It’s been seven years since President Obama called on the nation to address the persistent opportunity gaps boys and young men of color face and to ensure all young people can reach their full potential.

From an adage to a thriving national alliance over these past seven years, My Brother’s Keeper (MBK) has reached hundreds of thousands of youth in nearly every corner of the country: From 40 mentees engaged in résumé workshops, pick-up basketball games, and career shadowing at the White House, to countless served by the nearly 250 cities, towns, counties, and tribal nations in our network; from the young people impacted by 50,000 new mentors recruited with our NBA family, to the ever-expanding benefit of significant policy initiatives like the Second Chance Pell pilot or MBK Success Mentors Initiative.

Charting this path, we’ve met young men who have prepared for and finished school, joined the workforce, found their voices and passions, and poured themselves into improving outcomes for their peers and the next generation.

To honor seven years of accelerating impact through youth-centered initiatives, we’re sharing seven snapshots from our walk with boys and young men of color. Here’s some of what we’ve learned about our movement—through them—on this journey.

Every day, these remarkable young kings teach us something new. In 2021 and beyond, while there is so much ground left to cover to realize a better future for boys and young men of color, may we keep walking and learning until each one—and all young people—can go as far as their dreams and hard work will take them. By joining the Alliance, you can help us reach even more.

—MBK Alliance


            ⓒ 2021 Obama Foundation
Hi jean,

Three years ago today, Kehinde Wiley and Amy Sherald became the first Black artists to create official, Smithsonian-commissioned portraits of a former President and First Lady.

Revisit when President and Mrs. Obama revealed their historic portraits at the National Portrait Gallery in Washington, DC.

Since the portraits’ installation in 2018, four million people have traveled to the National Portrait Gallery to view them—essentially doubling the museum’s attendance.The arts have always been central to the American experience, and we’re thrilled that the portraits will be coming to the Art Institute of Chicago later this year.

Take a look back at the unveiling of President and Mrs. Obama’s presidential portraits.

Here’s to the power of art,

—The Obama Foundation

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            ⓒ 2021 Obama Foundation

Hi jean,

Next Monday, January 18, is Martin Luther King Jr. Day here in the United States. Since before he was inaugurated, President Obama has urged people to turn MLK Day into a day of service—and millions have taken up the call. Although the COVID-19 pandemic has made serving tougher than usual, there are still safe ways to serve your community on Monday.

Make a plan to serve on MLK Day

Together, we can make a huge collective difference on Monday—so begin by making a plan to serve today.Take care of your community,

The Obama Foundation


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Hi jean,

Next Monday, January 18, is Martin Luther King Jr. Day here in the United States. Since before he was inaugurated, President Obama has urged people to turn MLK Day into a day of service—and millions have taken up the call. Although the COVID-19 pandemic has made serving tougher than usual, there are still safe ways to serve your community on Monday.

Make a plan to serve on MLK Day

Together, we can make a huge collective difference on Monday—so begin by making a plan to serve today.Take care of your community,

The Obama Foundation


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Hi jean,Every year, on January 1st, people throughout the world sit down to write their New Year’s resolutions—to usher in a new year by taking steps to ensure it plays out differently than the last. With hope that we may eventually see the other side of the COVID-19 pandemic, many of us are probably making lists that involve reconnecting with friends and loved ones, taking a well-deserved vacation, or simply spending less time in front of a screen.

But one thing I hope everyone adds to their list of resolutions today is to look after their communities. Just committing to a few hours of service can mean the world in the lives of those around you.

Throughout 2020, amidst moments of anguish and anger, tragedy and turmoil, I was heartened again and again by the sacrifices so many made on behalf of others—and I don’t just mean our frontline or essential workers. Millions of everyday people checked in on their neighbors and supported local businesses, started up mutual aid networks, or simply spent a Saturday morning volunteering their time.Resolving to serve is easy—and our Foundation has simple steps to help you get started.

As we close the chapter on a trying year, resolve to start this new year with a commitment to service.

—Barack

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Hi jean,

When Michelle and I began this Foundation, we knew that empowering talented young leaders to make a difference in their communities was the most powerful way we could give back. We knew there were young people all over the world ready to step up and tackle the great challenges of our time.

By giving to our Foundation this holiday season, you’re not just helping to train leaders for the future, you’re supporting the folks on the front lines working to rebuild our communities right now.
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The events of this year have only proven that impassioned young people, organizing to support their communities, are one of the most powerful forces for good in our world.Whether confronting a global pandemic or marching for equal justice and real change, it was young people across the globe who inspired us all by making sure their voices were heard this year.

So, jean, this holiday season, I’m asking you to join Michelle and me in supporting the courageous young leaders working to build a better world for all of us.

The young people we support are working to ensure a future filled with more hope, opportunity, and equality. We need your help to ensure their work continues.

Gratefully,

—Barack

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Hi jean,

This year has been filled with inspiring stories of ordinary citizens volunteering their time to help their neighbors overcome incredible challenges—everyday heroes lending their time to sort groceries at a food bank or deliver PPE to the elderly have helped ensure that aid reaches those who need it most in their communities.

This winter, pledge to spend time helping those in need in your community. Volunteer with your local food bank, shelter, or another organization to ensure they’re able to help all those who need it.

Food banks and other charities rely on volunteers to deliver critical resources to the communities they serve. That’s why one of the most powerful gifts you can give this season is spending a little bit of your time volunteering to help others.

Take our #OFCareChallenge and volunteer a couple of hours with an organization doing good work in your community.

As older volunteers stay home to stay safe, it’s up to all of us to step up and give of our time to ensure that help reaches those who need it most.

Take care of your community,

—The Obama Foundation

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Hi jean,

In a year of tremendous hardship, one of the most inspiring trends we’ve seen is the emergence of mutual aid hubs—simple networks that identify the needs within a specific community and look for volunteers to help meet them. Volunteers find out what neighbors need—like a prescription pick up, groceries, or PPE—and organize to provide that service.

Your community could use a hand. If you’re in the U.S., connect with your local mutual aid hub to see what your neighbors need—and how you can help.

If there isn’t a mutual aid hub in your area, consider starting something powerful for your community. Putting a pop-up lending library or community fridge in your neighborhood can make a difference in the lives of your neighbors.

Pledge to take the latest #OFCareChallenge, and find tips to help you start a mutual aid project of your own. 

It will take all of us working together to get through these next few months. Help ensure that you and your neighbors are well-prepared this holiday season.

Take care of your community,

—The Obama Foundation

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Hi jean,If you caught President Obama on 60 Minutes, you saw him offer a vision of the Obama Presidential Center. More than just a world-class museum, the Center will engage visitors and connect them with ways to shape their own future for the common good.
But we can’t build it without your help, jean. Before Giving Tuesday is over, donate and help bring the Obama Presidential Center to life. 
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Rooted in our Foundation’s mission to inspire, empower, and connect people to change their world, the Obama Presidential Center will allow visitors to experience a historic presidency firsthand.
jean, you’ve followed the Foundation for some time, so you know the Center will be more than just a world-class museum—it will offer inspiration to young people who are interested in service, and beautify a park to serve a community that has been underserved in the past.
And we can’t bring President Obama’s vision to life without you. Donate on Giving Tuesday and help us build the Obama Presidential Center.
In 2008, supporters like you helped drive a campaign that inspired the world and sent President and Mrs. Obama to the White House.The Obama Presidential Center is an opportunity to make history once again.

—The Obama Foundation

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Hi jean,This holiday season, I’m reflecting on all the ways we can continue to support each other as this challenging year comes to a close. 2020 was marked by an unprecedented amount of uncertainty, as people around the world faced devastating losses and unexpected changes to their daily lives. Young people, especially, have had to abruptly adapt to school closures and new ways of learning as their families deal with the difficult realities of this pandemic.

Even before COVID-19, millions of girls faced barriers that kept them out of school—and sadly, we know these hurdles are heightened in times like these, from dwindling access to education to increased violence at home. Early studies predict that 20 million more girls of secondary school age may never return to school due to ripple effects from the pandemic.

We can’t let that happen. The stakes are just too high. That’s why I’m so inspired by the organizations in the Girls Opportunity Alliance community—they’ve always worked tirelessly to support girls who wouldn’t otherwise have the chance to pursue their education. And, after the onset of COVID-19, they stepped up to keep girls learning safely in these very challenging circumstances. These organizations got creative, helping girls continue to study through radio, cellphone, and virtual classes. They also delivered masks and food to girls and their families to help them stay safe and healthy. I am so proud that when these girls needed them most, these organizations were there for them.

On #GivingTuesday, meet some of these extraordinary girls and the organizations that empower them:

Meet some of these extraordinary girls and the organizations
If you can, I hope you’ll take a minute today and donate to support this important work for girls’ education and empowerment through the Girls Opportunity Alliance Fund. Your support can help these girls get through these challenging times and ensure that their dreams are not knocked off course by the pandemic. Because we know that when girls get an education, they have the tools they need to transform our world and create a better future for us all.Thank you for supporting these girls however you can—and wishing you all a restful and safe holiday season.

—Michelle

The future of our world is only as bright as our girls.
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Take our first #OFCareChallenge
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Hi jean,

The economic pain from COVID-19 has touched every corner of the world, but here in the U.S. it’s hitting Black-owned businesses especially hard. Over 40 percent of Black-owned businesses have shut their doors this year.

But you can help—and help take care of your community at the same time. 

By taking the next #OFCareChallenge and supporting Black-owned businesses in your community—especially while shopping for gifts during Black Friday and Small Business Saturday—you can support African-American entrepreneurs, help close the racial wealth gap, create jobs, and amplify Black voices.

Help build a stronger community by taking our second #OFCareChallenge and supporting Black-owned businesses this holiday season.

You can ensure that your money has an even bigger impact in your community this holiday season by donating and shopping at Black-owned businesses and organizations.

Take care of your community,

—The Obama Foundation

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Dear jean Paul ,When I arrived at the White House on the morning of June 26, 2015, I didn’t know it would be a day for the history books. But by evening’s end I had the chance to witness one of the most extraordinary days of President Obama’s eight years in office. The Supreme Court ruled in favor of marriage equality, President Obama paid tribute to Reverend Pinckney and his eight parishioners, and the White House shone with a new pride for all to see.
To mark the five year anniversary, watch this video, which tells the story of that unforgettable day through those of us who experienced it firsthand.That morning’s decision was decades in the making. It was a moment made possible by the work of activists who demanded justice, government leaders who took action, and millions of ordinary Americans who dared to live openly and challenge their government to honor their commitment.

These are the types of stories we’re working to bring to the Obama Presidential Center—the moments of joy and hardship, celebration and anxiety, loss and grace that pave the road of progress.

The work of perfecting our union can often feel slow, sometimes unbearably so, and steps toward equality can be met with steps backward. But once in a while, decades of protest, advocacy, and leadership lead to days like that of June 26, five years ago, when justice arrived “like a thunderbolt.”

I hope you’ll spend some time reliving this incredible day.

—Valerie

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Hi jean,“I want to take this moment to say that Black fathers matter.”
Father's Day matters
Ten years ago, Chicagoan Sheldon Smith had a daughter, Jada. He wanted to find resources to help guide his journey as a father, and through that process, founded the Dovetail Project to help other young African American fathers looking for similar support.This Father’s Day, we want to share Sheldon’s message and lift up the meaningful work he does. Since the Dovetail Project’s founding, over 500 young men have graduated from its 12-week program in parenting skills, life skills, and felony street and family law.

Dovetail Project - find out more
Today, the Dovetail Project is still serving young fathers across the city—and making sure their families can weather the storm of the COVID 19 crisis. Through their Fatherhood Relief Fund, fathers can request support and personal supplies like diapers and baby formula.“The babies are what keep me going,” Sheldon said. “The knowledge that babies are growing up with their fathers because of our work means everything to me.”

And Sheldon hopes, with the global reaction in the wake of George Floyd’s killing, there’s an opportunity to talk about systemic injustices like police violence and mass incarceration that separate Black fathers from their families—and to affirm the importance of fatherhood. “To all the young Black and Brown dads out there, you matter,” he said. “Your babies need you, and we know how much you love them. We’re here for you so you can be here for them.”

This Father’s Day, take a second to learn  about Sheldon and the work of the Dovetail Project.

Happy Father’s Day,

—The Obama Foundation

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Hi jean PaulTonight, President Obama will offer a special message to this year’s graduating class of high school and college seniors, as part of YouTube’s virtual commencement, “Dear Class of 2020.”

While our nation grapples with anguish and grief, rituals like graduation still serve as important rites of passage; moments to acknowledge and celebrate. We hope President Obama’s message can offer some optimism to this year’s class. Even as we face the dual pandemics of COVID-19 and racism, it will be up to this generation to set the world on a better path.

Tune in to the commencement
You can watch the President’s message today at 6:40 pm ET. The full commencement—including a message from Mrs. Obama, begins at 3 pm ET.As we celebrate the next generation of leaders, we know the stress and trauma of racism and police violence are ever-present. President Obama recently joined Congressman John Lewis, founder and executive director of the Equal Justice Initiative Bryan Stevenson, writer and survivor of police brutality Leon Ford, Jr., and youth leader LeQuan Muhammad, in an intergenerational conversation, moderated by activist and author Darnell Moore, to discuss the mental toll racism takes on people of color.

You can watch this powerful and poignant conversation—and find mental health resources for dealing with racial stress and trauma here.

Watch President Obama's town hall
Finally, if you have not already, take a moment to watch President Obama’s town hall with national and local leaders who are working to end police violence in America.In anguish, in action,

—The Obama Foundation

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jean,Please join President Obama, along with local and national leaders in the police reform movement, to discuss the tragic events of recent weeks, the history of police violence in America, and specific actions needed to transform a system that has led to the loss of too many lives.
Reimagining Policing in the Wake of Continued Police Violence - Find out more!
The conversation will be livestreamed beginning at 5:00 pm ET.President Obama will be joined by Former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, President of Color of Change Rashad Robinson, Minneapolis City Council Representative Phillipe Cunningham, and MBK Columbus Youth Leader Playon Patrick, in a conversation moderated by Campaign Zero co-founder Brittany Packnett Cunningham.

This virtual event is being hosted in solidarity with our key national partners to provide a safe space for community leaders and youth to connect, learn, and take action as our communities grieve and demand a better tomorrow.

We hope you join us.

—The Obama Foundation

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Dear jean, PaulIn the last several weeks—and the last several months before that—we have seen the kinds of epic changes that are as profound as anything that I’ve seen in my lifetime.

Although all of us have been feeling pain, uncertainty, and disruption, some have felt it more than others. Most of all, the families of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery and Tony McDade and Sean Reed and too many others to mention.

Michelle and I—and the nation—grieve with those families. We hold them in our prayers. And we are committed to the fight of creating a more just nation in memory of their sons and daughters.

This evening, I joined our My Brother’s Keeper Alliance in a conversation with local and national leaders to discuss the tragic events of recent weeks, the history of police violence in America, and specific actions we can take to encourage reform of our law enforcement system.

Part of what’s made me hopeful in these days, despite it all, is the fact that so many young people have been galvanized and motivated and mobilized. So much of the progress that we’ve made in our society has been because of young people. Dr. King was a young man when he first got involved. Malcolm X was a young man. Dolores Huerta was a young woman. The leaders of the feminist movement were young people. Leaders of union movements were young people. The movement to make sure that members of the LGBTQ community finally had a voice and were represented were young people. And the leaders of the gun violence and environmental movements in this country are young people.

Today, when I see young people all across the country stepping up and speaking out in such meaningful ways—when I see their talent and sophistication and passion—it makes me feel optimistic. It makes me feel as if this country is going to get better. But real change starts with a focus on results, and everyone committed to doing their part.

We’re calling on everyone—from mayors to city council officials to everyday citizens—to recognize and root out the tragic, painful, maddening effects of systemic racism and to take concrete steps to address police use of force policies in their communities.

It will take all of us working together to ensure we can reimagine policing so it recognizes the humanity of every person—so it honors the dignity of every person.

“My daddy changed the world,” Gianna Floyd, George’s six-year-old daughter, said yesterday.

Yes he did.

Yes we can.

—Barack

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Dear jean,In the last several weeks—and the last several months before that—we have seen the kinds of epic changes that are as profound as anything that I’ve seen in my lifetime.

Although all of us have been feeling pain, uncertainty, and disruption, some have felt it more than others. Most of all, the families of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery and Tony McDade and Sean Reed and too many others to mention.

Michelle and I—and the nation—grieve with those families. We hold them in our prayers. And we are committed to the fight of creating a more just nation in memory of their sons and daughters.

This evening, I joined our My Brother’s Keeper Alliance in a conversation with local and national leaders to discuss the tragic events of recent weeks, the history of police violence in America, and specific actions we can take to encourage reform of our law enforcement system.

Part of what’s made me hopeful in these days, despite it all, is the fact that so many young people have been galvanized and motivated and mobilized. So much of the progress that we’ve made in our society has been because of young people. Dr. King was a young man when he first got involved. Malcolm X was a young man. Dolores Huerta was a young woman. The leaders of the feminist movement were young people. Leaders of union movements were young people. The movement to make sure that members of the LGBTQ community finally had a voice and were represented were young people. And the leaders of the gun violence and environmental movements in this country are young people.

Today, when I see young people all across the country stepping up and speaking out in such meaningful ways—when I see their talent and sophistication and passion—it makes me feel optimistic. It makes me feel as if this country is going to get better. But real change starts with a focus on results, and everyone committed to doing their part.

We’re calling on everyone—from mayors to city council officials to everyday citizens—to recognize and root out the tragic, painful, maddening effects of systemic racism and to take concrete steps to address police use of force policies in their communities.

It will take all of us working together to ensure we can reimagine policing so it recognizes the humanity of every person—so it honors the dignity of every person.

“My daddy changed the world,” Gianna Floyd, George’s six-year-old daughter, said yesterday.

Yes he did.

Yes we can.

—Barack

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jean,We work to help leaders change their world—and the world needs changing.

Over 1,000 people are killed by police every year in America, and Black people are three times more likely to be killed than White people. We can take steps and make reforms to combat police violence and systemic racism within law enforcement.

This is America. Take Action Now!
We’re inspired by those protesting for accountability and change, even in the face of a pandemic. If you’re looking for additional ways to advocate for change, we’ve gathered resources to learn about police violence and antiracism, as well as actions you can take to encourage reform, from organizations who have been working on these issues at the local and national level for years.While now is a time for grief and anger, it is also a time for resolve. It is a time to meet anguish with action.

—The Obama Foundation

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Hi jean,When the COVID-19 pandemic ricocheted around the world, it upended our societies and brought our lives to a standstill. But today in the US, we wake up in a country where it is clear not everything has stood still. Racism has not stood still. Bigotry has not stood still. The fatal disparity that people of color face—whether at the hands of law enforcement or the whims of our health care system—has not stood still.
On Friday, President Obama shared this video from 12-year-old Keedron Bryant, putting into song the anguish and heartbreak millions share after the senseless killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and too many more.We wanted to share this video with you today, as well as the President’s own words about the tragic events of the past several weeks.

It’s natural to wish for life “to just get back to normal” as a pandemic and economic crisis upend everything around us. But we have to remember that for millions of Americans, being treated differently on account of race is tragically, painfully, maddeningly “normal” – whether it’s while dealing with the health care system, or interacting with the criminal justice system, or jogging down the street, or just watching birds in a park.⁣ ⁣

This shouldn’t be “normal” in 2020 America. It can’t be “normal.” If we want our children to grow up in a nation that lives up to its highest ideals, we can and must be better.⁣ ⁣

Six years ago, President Obama launched My Brother’s Keeper so that every boy and young man of color in America would know that their dreams mattered—that Keedron’s dreams would matter—as much as any other child’s. Today, that urgent work continues through the My Brother’s Keeper Alliance and through the work of several of our leaders who are fighting systemic racism throughout the world.

While now is a time for grief and anger, it is also a time for action and resolve.

Follow these links to find resources for Black people struggling to process this needless trauma and information on how we all can take action to combat systemic racism in the United States.

And read the story below about how our neighbors here in Chicago are helping care for the communities of color disproportionately affected by COVID-19.

This is no time to stand still.

—The Obama Foundation

We Got Us - Find Out More
After a Chicago community call with President Obama, community organizers from across Chicago collaborated to create We Got Us, an initiative delivering packages of essential supplies to the city’s South and West Sides. Their mission goes beyond providing immediate aid to the communities that have been disproportionately affected by the virus—these organizers want to help restructure systems to be more inclusive of the neighborhoods they serve.
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Hi jean,On Saturday, President Obama had three pieces of advice for the graduating class of 2020:

  1. Don’t be afraid.
  2. Do what you think is right.
  3. Build a community.

In case you missed it, you can see his full message to high school seniors—alongside the voicemails and messages you’ve shared to celebrate them.

Below you will find some hopeful stories from this past week—and be sure to take a look at the resources we gathered with ways for you to get involved in your own community.

Help us share more stories of social connection in this time of social distancing at obama.org/HOPE.

Stay healthy, stay hopeful.

—The Obama Foundation

The Hacey Health Initiative was created by Obama Foundation Scholar Isaiah Owolabi over a decade ago to close the inequality gap that limits women and girls’ access to health and economic empowerment. Today, to adapt to the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, Isaiah’s organization has helped over 500 pregnant women, health workers, and birth attendants in Nigeria by providing counseling, hygiene kits, protective gear, food, and essential medicines.
In our hometown of Chicago, neighbors across the city have stepped up to care for one another during this pandemic. They’ve shared meals, called to check in on each other, found ways to connect virtually, and even set up a socially-distant scavenger hunt. No matter how they’ve gotten involved, these Chicagoans define the spirit of the city we are so proud to call home.
Ready to lead in your community? We’ve gathered some resources to help you get started in caring for yourself, your loved ones, and the most vulnerable among us.
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Hi jean,In just a few minutes, President Obama will join notable voices like LeBron James, Malala Yousafzai, Yara Shahidi, Lena Waithe, and Megan Rapinoe to celebrate America’s graduating high school seniors.
Graduate Together: America Honors the High School Class of 2020 is about to air on more than 30 broadcast and cable networks in the U.S., beginning at 8 pm ET/PT and 7pm CT/MT.
And starting at 11 pm ET/10 pm CT, you can stream it right here from anywhere in the world. 
You won’t want to miss it.

—The Obama Foundation

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Hi jean,Last night, President Obama addressed America’s graduating high school class of 2020, and offered them three simple pieces of advice. First, don’t be afraid—America’s gone through tough times before. Second, do what you think is right and you’ll be part of the solution. And third, build a community. If you missed his message, be sure to catch it in full.

Below you’ll also find a few of the hopeful stories we’ve witnessed in the past week. Help us share more stories of social connection in this time of social distancing at obama.org/HOPE.

Stay healthy, stay hopeful,

—The Obama Foundation

Chicago women making a difference. Meet them.
President and Mrs. Obama joined the Chicago Public Library’s Live from the Library story time to read “The Word Collector” by Peter H. Reynolds. It’s a book about the transformative power of words and no matter your age, we think you’ll enjoy it.
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One of our Obama Scholars, Pavel Kounchev, co-founded Fine Acts—a playground for social change. In response to the pandemic, they launched Spring of Hope online, where they are sharing new uplifting illustrations on their website every day until the end of May.

Read the 2018 Annual Report.
Obama Foundation Africa Leader Goto Cooper collaborated with seven emerging community organizations across Liberia to create the COVID-19 Partnership Network. The network is educating rural communities about the symptoms of the virus and how to prevent its spread in coordination with the Liberian government and the World Health Organization.
Read the 2018 Annual Report.
Last week, President and Mrs. Obama gave a few hundred Chicago Public School teachers and students quite a surprise! They joined CPS’ first-ever virtual Civic Life Student Town Hall featuring Eric Liu, the co-founder and CEO of Citizen University, and four incredible student moderators.

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Hi jean,The COVID-19 pandemic won’t stop us from celebrating our graduates. This Saturday, President Obama will deliver a virtual commencement message to the high school class of 2020. His remarks will be featured as part of a primetime special called Graduate Together: America Honors the Class of 2020, airing on broadcast networks and streaming online at 8 pm ET/7 pm CT.

And we want you to be part of the celebration, too. Call us at (773) 657-9284 and leave us a voicemail to share your own words of encouragement with the class of 2020.

We’ll share some of these messages with our audience ahead of President Obama’s speech, as we help celebrate America’s graduating seniors.Below you’ll also find a few of the hopeful stories we’ve witnessed in the past week. Be sure to leave your own hopeful voicemail message for the graduating class of 2020—and help us share more stories of social connection in this time of social distancing at obama.org/HOPE.

Stay healthy, stay hopeful,

—The Obama Foundation

Great teachers make a lasting impact on all of us. Watch President Obama recognize some legendary educators here in Chicago on Teacher Appreciation Day.
We’ll never forget the ways we’ve seen leaders step up in their communities across the world. In southwest Nigeria, Africa Leader Edem Dorothy Ossai is distributing packages filled with food and sanitation items to help teenagers most at risk from the COVID-19 pandemic.
Combining her passion for running with a desire to help her community, 15-year-old Maya Mor organized the Stronger Together Virtual 5K. With hundreds of participants, she was able to raise nearly $12,000 for the United Way Minnesota’s COVID-19 Response & Recovery Fund.
Support students and families impacted by COVID-19.
CONTRIBUTE TO THE CPS COMPASSION FUND

Note that your calls and submissions will be subject to our submission terms—before you call or submit, please review the terms at obama.org/terms-conditions.

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Hi jean,Since the COVID-19 pandemic began, many of you have reached out asking how you might help those in need weather these difficult times. While the toll of this crisis is difficult to imagine, there are still meaningful steps we can take to lessen its impact.

Today marks both Teacher Appreciation Day and #GivingTuesdayNow, a new day created to direct resources to those responding to COVID-19. To honor both days, we’re asking those who are able to support the Chicago Public Schools’ Compassion Fund.

With schools currently closed, the Chicago public school system has shifted to an entirely remote learning plan for 350,000 students. But that shift has highlighted a deep disparity in our city: a digital divide that limits technology and internet access. And that disparity is especially prominent on Chicago’s South Side, our home and the site of the future Obama Presidential Center.While Chicago Public Schools has committed to distributing laptops and WiFi hotspots to many families in the weeks ahead, a significant gap remains for the rest of the school year into summer, depriving teachers of their ability to connect with their students.

Your donation will help bridge the digital divide for Chicago students at risk of falling behind their peers by connecting them with the teachers who are helping them succeed.

We understand this is a difficult time for everyone. No one is immune from this virus or the effects it’s having on our communities. But if you want to help this #GivingTuesdayNow, consider supporting students here in Chicago to help keep this health crisis from turning into an educational crisis.

Thank you,

—The Obama Foundation

Support students and families impacted by COVID-19.

CONTRIBUTE TO THE COMPASSION FUND
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Hi jean,As stories of hope continue to pour in from around the world, we wanted to share some of the inspiring actions we’re seeing right here in our hometown of Chicago. Below you’ll find examples of Chicagoans doing their part to cope with the crisis—including President Obama’s special message to the volunteers of the Greater Chicago Food Depository.

These are just a few of the stories we’ve witnessed in the past week. Help us share more stories of social connection in this time of social distancing at obama.org/HOPE.

Stay healthy, stay hopeful,

—The Obama Foundation

Chicago women making a difference. Meet them.
During a past trip to Chicago, President Obama volunteered at the Greater Chicago Food Depository. This week, he called the organization and their volunteers to hear how they’ve stepped up during this crisis, and to thank them for helping their neighbors in need. If you’d like to lend them your support, you can donate to the Greater Chicago Food Depository here.
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Meet Albie, a five-year-old Chicagoan who recently launched the Keep Away Corona podcast with the help of his dad. Albie talks to friends and family about the coronavirus and even sings the show’s theme song, which will get stuck in your head (you’ve been warned). Listen to Albie’s podcast here.

Read the 2018 Annual Report.
RN Natalie Amidei decided to spread some cheer by baking cookies for her fellow staff in the Emergency Department at Rush University Medical Center. The best part? Each cookie was decorated with a facemask emoji.
Read the 2018 Annual Report.
Anne Miles wanted to feel connected to her Jackson Park neighbors while social-distancing. That’s why she decided to rally everyone together to create a teddy bear scavenger hunt throughout their community. Get a glimpse of the 🐻 hunt in the video.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, our community faces unprecedented challenges. Help support the increased need for food with a donation.

Help the Greater Chicago Food Depository
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Hi jean,This week, we wanted to make sure you heard directly from President and Mrs. Obama as they offered words of thanks and encouragement to community leaders here in Chicago and around the world, as well as healthcare workers on the frontlines—and even sat down for a little storytime.

We hope you take a minute to watch these videos from President and Mrs. Obama—and continue to share more stories of social connection in this time of social distancing at obama.org/HOPE.

Stay healthy, stay hopeful,

—The Obama Foundation

Chicago women making a difference. Meet them.
Last week, President Obama joined a call with community leaders from across Chicago who are responding to this moment. Hear the words of encouragement he shared.
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Mrs. Obama joined former first lady Laura Bush for Global Citizen’s “One World: Together at Home” special to thank the essential health care workers who are risking their lives every day on our behalf.

Read the 2018 Annual Report.
“In a lot of ways crises like this sharpen our focus and I hope for all of you have underscored why the work you do is so important.”
President Obama met with our Obama Foundation Scholars to offer some words of advice as they find creative ways to continue their inspiring work.
Read the 2018 Annual Report.
To all those children in need of a good story—and those parents in need of a little break—watch Mrs. Obama read one of her favorite children’s books, “The Gruffalo.” Be sure to tune in Mondays at 11 am CT to PBS KIDS’ Facebook page or YouTube channel.

Many of you are already doing so much to keep your families, loved ones, and communities healthy, but if you’re able, you can find ways to support others in need by donating to an organization near you.

TAKE ACTION NOW
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Hi jean,After another difficult week in our battle against COVID-19, we continue to find inspiration in the stories we hear of people stepping up in ways large and small to meet this moment—and the creative ways people are using to safely celebrate their traditions.

Obama Foundation leaders from around the world are shifting their existing projects and resources to look after their communities. Families are gathering together virtually to celebrate holidays and share meals, strengthening bonds while staying safe. As developing countries brace for the spread of COVID-19, changemakers are helping protect the most vulnerable from the worst of the virus. And people everywhere are showing their appreciation to the healthcare workers who are making tremendous sacrifices to treat our loved ones.

These are just a few of the stories we’ve witnessed in the past week of citizens doing their part to cope with the crisis. Help us share more stories of social connection in this time of social distancing at obama.org/HOPE.

Stay healthy, stay hopeful,

—The Obama Foundation

Chicago women making a difference. Meet them.
Watch this video featuring the work of Obama leaders Rashvin Pal Singh, Gabriela Galilea, and Harry Grammer—three changemakers whose initiative and resourcefulness are helping counter this crisis.
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When a global health crisis hits, impoverished urban communities can be hit even harder due to limited resources and disparities in healthcare access. That’s why Obama Leader Kennedy Odede and his organization, Shining Hope for Communities, have taken a proactive approach to fight COVID-19 across Kenya. To flatten the curve, they installed over 30 hand washing stations throughout Kenya, in addition to providing accurate temperature readings and distributing supplies and educational pamphlets.

Read the 2018 Annual Report.
Deborah from Soquel, California shared her ritual of making Shabbat dinner together with her family each week online, while they shelter-in-place. ”We speak about how to move through difficult times by aligning with love and community. Even the little kids are thinking how they can help.”
Read the 2018 Annual Report.
Katie from Narbeth, Pennsylvania shared this heartwarming letter from her daughter, Naomi, who was given the assignment to write a letter of thanks to a healthcare worker. Naomi chose her father, an infectious disease doctor who is working tirelessly to fight the pandemic.

Many of you are already doing so much to keep your families, loved ones, and communities healthy, but if you’re able, you can find ways to support others in need by donating to an organization near you.

TAKE ACTION NOW
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Hi jean,When I was growing up, my parents made it very clear: I could do anything my brother could do, from playing sports to going to college. That was one of the greatest gifts my family gave to me—a belief that, as a girl, my voice and my talents mattered.

I want every girl on this planet to have the same opportunities that I’ve had to pursue their education and their dreams. But right now, more than 98 million adolescent girls around the world are not in school. That’s why the Obama Foundation started the Girls Opportunity Alliance, a program dedicated to empowering adolescent girls through education and supporting the grassroots leaders who remove the many barriers that girls still face.

Recently, Liza Koshy, Prajakta Koli, and Thembe Mahlaba visited Girls Opportunity Alliance projects around the world to see this important work in action. From the Study Hall Educational Foundation in India to Physically Active Youth in Namibia and Room to Read in Vietnam, these programs are transforming girls’ lives and creating a powerful ripple effect across communities. I hope you’ll tune in to watch their stories on YouTube Originals on March 17.

Watch a Sneak Peak

I hope you are as moved as I am by these stories, and I hope you’ll take action to support adolescent girls’ education around the world through the Girls Opportunity Alliance Fund. Your support creates a ripple effect all its own—because when girls get the opportunities they deserve, our whole world benefits.That’s something we can celebrate on International Women’s Day—and all year long.

Michelle

The future of our world is only as bright as our girls.
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Hi jean,When the Obama Presidential Center opens, it will forever make Jackson Park a part of presidential history. In 1893, Frederick Douglass made it a part of Black history.

While attending the World’s Fair in Chicago—a celebration of America’s progress—he challenged our nation to recognize the contributions that Black Americans had made.

Watch our video exploring his stirring call, the last in our series of features exploring Black history in Chicago.

President Obama’s story was only possible because of a long line of leaders who pushed America to live up to its founding ideals. The Museum at the Obama Presidential Center won’t just tell the story of our nation’s first Black president; it will acknowledge generations of courageous leaders like Frederick Douglass who have worked to create a more equitable future.Take a few minutes to watch how Frederick Douglass made Jackson Park a part of Black history—and catch up on how we’ve honored Black history all month long.

—The Obama Foundation

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Hi jean,Six years ago today, I was standing in the East Room of the White House surrounded by young men of color from across the country. Together with mayors and business leaders, teachers and mentors, moms and dads, we launched an initiative whose work has remained core to my life since leaving the White House: My Brother’s Keeper.

We started My Brother’s Keeper so that every boy and young man of color in America would know that their dreams mattered as much as any other child’s. And when I reflect on that day six years ago, I can still feel the energy, hope, and possibility I felt then.

Since that day, our movement has grown into an Alliance that has brought together hundreds of communities with thousands of Americans, all committed to helping young people across this country achieve their dreams.Here in Chicago—as in many communities across the nation—the My Brother’s Keeper Alliance is investing in innovative organizations that are saving lives. We’re helping Youth Guidance expand its Becoming a Man program to more schools, connecting young men with caring adults who can support their development and academic success. We’re supporting New Life Centers of Chicagoland’s efforts to provide street outreach, violence mediation, and counseling to help reduce the rates of gun violence that have impacted too many of our children and their families.  And our partners at Thrive Chicago are collectively leading these efforts, helping ensure we deliver results for our city.

Growing up there were times when I fell adrift; where I stumbled. But what made the difference in my life were people who encouraged me; who offered me guidance; who gave me a second chance. That’s why, today, I’m asking you to join me—not just in celebrating six years of breaking down barriers and expanding opportunity for boys and young men of color, but by showing up for a young man near you.

Every child deserves caring adults that will have their back and help them on their path to success. So visit IamMBK.org, find a mentoring opportunity, and sign up today.

We can only reach our potential if all of our nation’s children can reach theirs. I hope you’ll join us. Because we are all our brother’s keeper.

—Barack

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Hi jean,With the NBA All-Star game in Chicago this year, I had the chance to sit down with my good friend Mike Wilbon and three players I truly admire—Giannis Antetoukounmpo, Chris Paul, and Kevin Love. They’ve thrilled us through the years with their performances in the league, but it’s what they’ve done in their communities, that makes them especially inspiring.
As someone who didn’t grow up with much, Giannis has always made it a point to support those in need through food drives and charity events. Chris’ family foundation has partnered with a number of youth organizations—from Save the Children to the Boys and Girls club—to help young people prosper no matter their circumstances. And Kevin has fought to make emotional well-being as important as physical fitness by speaking openly and honestly about his own struggles with mental health.These players recognize that making lasting change starts by investing in our communities. For Michelle and me, that means investing in Chicago, the place where we met and had our girls. It’s where I taught and first ran for office. It’s the city that gave us everything. And that’s why we decided to put the Obama Presidential Center and the Obama Foundation right here in Chicago.

As I said on stage with them: Everybody’s got a contribution to make, everybody’s got a gift that they can give. If all of us are making that effort, then there’s reason for hope.

Take a minute to watch my conversation with Giannis, Chris, and Kevin; I bet you’ll come away inspired to invest in your own community.

—Barack

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Hi jean,There’s something invigorating about the new year—the fresh start, the opportunity to take up something new, the possibility of what’s ahead.

As Michelle and I reflect on the last year and look toward the next one, we’re encouraged by the stories of progress that came from 2019.

If you haven’t already, I encourage you to take a look at the work of the Foundation over the past year. The stories of compassion, resilience, and connection couldn’t be more energizing.

Start with our Year in Photos—a collection of images from 2019 that showcase the incredible work that your support has made possible.

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It’s because of your commitment that we can invest in emerging leaders and amplify the impact they’re already making. It’s because of you that we can highlight and support the community leaders of today—and help them become the global leaders of tomorrow. And it’s because of you that we’re bringing the Obama Presidential Center to life.I want to thank you for every ounce of energy, passion, and guidance you bring to our mission. Thank you for sharing our voice and vision for a better tomorrow. And thank you for making 2019 an incredible year.

But I have one more ask of you.

On a day of fresh starts and new beginnings, I challenge you to take a step toward change in your community. If everyone reading this can commit to one positive change for their neighborhood in 2020, our collective impact will be extraordinary. Even if we don’t always feel it ourselves, I know that we’ll keep making the world a little bit better in the next year and in the many, many years to come.

Here’s to another year full of hope,

—Barack

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2019

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Hi jean,
One of our highlights of the year was launching our Community Collections Gathering events, with a kick-off event here on the South Side of Chicago. We followed this with a road trip to Iowa, connecting with dedicated Obama campaign alumni in North Liberty, Mason City, and Des Moines. In each location, we saw hope undiminished—volunteers who drove from two hours away to share their #ObamaKeepsakes and supporters who still teared up thinking about the President. Many of the stories and artifacts they shared will become part of our founding museum collection—and they’re empowering and uplifting in equal measure.
Take a closer look at this remarkable photo—and check out the other beautiful moments that make up the Obama Foundation’s Year in 44 Photos.

Scroll through these photos and you’ll see changemakers join hands in the warm glow of the setting Honolulu sun. You’ll come back to Chicago and see communities cleaning up beaches and reclaiming their neighborhoods. And all along the way, you’ll nearly be able to feel every hug and hear every laugh from people meeting, listening, and working alongside President and Mrs. Obama.

Thank you for making all of these moments possible. It’s your support that powers our work with the community leaders of today—and helps us build new spaces to connect them, like the Obama Presidential Center.

And if you’d like to hear more about our time in Iowa, please read this post chronicling our inspiring visit.
​​​​​​
We couldn’t do it without you,

Thanks,

—Louise

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THE YEAR IN HOPE
This is a natural time of year for lists—best of’s, top 10’s, your 2019 wrapped. But while I work on getting my favorite books, songs, and films of the year in order, I wanted to share a different kind of list with you: the Year in Hope.
A collage of 3 photos with the text "EXPLORE THE YEAR IN HOPE" overlaid
The Year in Hope is a collection of stories from 2019 that showed us the best of who we are:A class of third graders surprising a classmate with gifts after he lost his home in a fire. Breakthrough treatments for Ebola that dramatically increase prospects for survival. An educator who brought the families of low-income and refugee students into the classroom to help broaden perspectives and invigorate their children’s education. And of course, there was Greta, who proves every day what she told me when we met earlier this year: “No one is too small to make a difference and change the world.”

Take some time to read and reflect on these stories. I think you’ll come away with a little more optimism about the new year—and with a renewed sense that each of us can do our part to create the future we want.

That’s my hope, anyway.

—Barack

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Hi jean,Making change on your own is not easy—but when you find people who are passionate about the same issues as you are, a lot can happen.

That’s just one of the lessons that 200 young leaders learned as they ended their six-month journey in the Community Leadership Corps. Over the last several months, these leaders identified an issue in their community and began their journey to tackle it.

The four young leaders of Info 312 pose with the #CommunityLeadership and other decals.
For example, Info 312, a group based in our home of Chicago, discovered just how much trouble parents with small children were having accessing food banks after work. So the four young leaders decided to create a way to make food banks more accessible for everyone in their community.
President Obama speaking into a microphone at the Leaders: Asia-Pacific design workshop in Hawaii.
And in Hartford, Connecticut, five young women who call themselves Team H.E.R. recognized how many young people around the city didn’t have access to banking and resolved to develop a financial literacy program to help them manage and navigate their financial futures.From meeting community members for one-on-one conversations to exploring what it means to be a design thinker and develop projects with the end user in mind, these members tried, tested, and improved their projects throughout the year.

Though their program is over, the journey is not. These young people are committing to taking the next step to stay active in their communities—and we hope you’ll share a few words of encouragement with them as they carry forward.

—The Obama Foundation

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Summit
Hi jean,

Our third Obama Foundation Summit just wrapped here in Chicago, and we are in awe of the conversations we witnessed.

From Michelle Obama and her brother Craig talking about their roots in Chicago and how the city defined the rest of their lives…

…to President Obama giving advice to young leaders on successfully creating change…
See All the Highlights
…to the stirring discussions between Ava DuVernay and Theaster Gates, Billy Porter and Lulu Wang, and Dolores Huerta and a young Chicago-based community leader named Oscar Sanchez…Relive your favorite moments from the Summit on obama.org. It’s your support that allows us to bring these visionary leaders together.

—The Obama Foundation

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Summit
Hi jean,

Back when I first met her, Michelle asked her brother Craig to size me up on the basketball court. Craig—who was the two-time conference player of the year at Princeton—didn’t take it easy on me. Somehow, though, I passed the test.

This morning, Michelle and Craig will take the stage at the Obama Foundation Summit with the author and journalist Isabel Wilkerson. I’m sure it’ll be a rich, meaningful conversation about their childhood in Chicago and the city’s lasting effect on their lives—just one of several inspiring conversations today at the Obama Foundation Summit.

I hope you’ll tune in at obama.org now to watch.

Spending time with Craig and Michelle always lifts my spirits, and I have a feeling it will for you, too.—Barack
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Summit
Hi jean,

This morning, I had a remarkable conversation with my brother, Craig. Now Barack’s about to take the stage.

He’ll be speaking with Yara Shahidi, a gifted actor and passionate advocate—someone whose youth belies her wisdom.

Tune in now to watch them in a conversation with the Obama Foundation’s young leaders.

I’m so thrilled Yara was able to join us. You will be too.Hope you’re able to tune in,

—Michelle

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President Obama fist-bumps with climate activist, Greta Thunberg
Hi jean,I wanted to tell you about a conversation I had yesterday with Greta Thunberg. Greta’s a teenager from Sweden, but at just 16 years old, she embodies why Michelle and I started the Obama Foundation in the first place.

Last year, Greta started sitting outside of her country’s parliament in Stockholm with a sign reading: “School Strike for Climate.” Today, that humble beginning has transformed into a global movement of millions of young people organized to combat climate change and promote clean energy.

That’s the power of young people—unafraid to believe that change is possible and willing to challenge conventional wisdom, Greta and her generation are making their voices heard, even at a young age. That’s what’s possible when we let young people lead the way.

And that’s an example of the idea behind the Obama Foundation: If we foster the next generation of leaders with the tools, resources, and connections they’ll need down the road, then they’ll handle the rest.

I hope you’ll take a minute to watch Greta’s message for the leaders of tomorrow.

—Barack

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Leaders: Africa
Hi jean,

What does the future of Africa look like? I’ve just arrived in Johannesburg, South Africa to get a first-hand look. Tomorrow, we kick off year two of our Leaders: Africa program with five days of inspiring events and speakers.

Last year, we were overwhelmed by the imagination and talent of our inaugural class of Leaders—a group of 200 changemakers from nations across Africa who continue to lift each other up as they chart the future of their continent.

This year, we’re looking forward to bringing a new class together, as well as a few Leaders from last year, for a week of activities and discussions about what it means to lead.

And one of the best parts? You can join us for two powerful conversations—wherever you are. We’ll be livestreaming the following sessions at obama.org/Africa (and we’ll host them there afterwards if you want to catch up).

Ethical Leadership in Africa with Trevor Manuel and Nozipho Mbanjwa
Thursday, July 11 at 6:30AM CDT / 1:30PM SAST
Tune in Thursday, July 11
Trevor Manuel, the former Minister of Finance of South Africa, will sit down with entrepreneur and broadcaster Nozipho Mbanjwa for a powerful conversation about ethical leadership—even when it’s difficult or lonely. Hear their thoughts on making unpopular, but principled, choices and overcoming unique obstacles to obtain positions of leadership.
Leadership and Legacy with Fred Swaniker and Ben Rhodes
Sunday, July 14 at 10:00AM CDT / 5:00PM SAST
Tune in Sunday, July 14
Fred Swaniker, founder of the African Leadership Academy and African Leadership University—as well as one of Time’s most influential people in the world in 2019—joins Ben Rhodes, former senior advisor to President Obama, to discuss the journey of leadership, the work of empowering and training ethical leaders, and how the next generation can tackle timely challenges.
Be sure to catch these livestreams at obama.org/Africa and meet the new class of Leaders we have joining us in Johannesburg this year.

I can’t wait to meet these new Leaders and hear how we can support them as they help drive Africa’s future. And I hope you follow along with our livestreams and on social media—there will be no shortage of inspiration!Bernadette Meehan
Chief International OfficerP.S. Next Thursday, July 18, is Mandela Day, a day to step up and participate in an act of service in your community. Save the date—and start thinking about what you can do to make your world better.

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Dear friends,

When Michelle and I first began thinking about what the Obama Presidential Center could be, one thing was clear to us both: We didn’t want to build only a monument to the past—we wanted to build a Center for the future. We hoped to create a place that would nurture and inspire the young people who walked its halls and played in its parks. A place that would invigorate the community that gave us so much. A place that could anchor Chicago as a destination for anyone who wanted to make a difference.

That’s why what happened this week is such a big victory. After a thorough review, a judge dismissed a lawsuit against the City of Chicago that sought to prevent the construction of the Obama Presidential Center in Jackson Park. It’s a win that will benefit the whole city.

The campus we’ve got planned will be far more than a museum—it will be a tribute to Chicago’s rich history, its defining legacy of progress, and its extraordinarily bright future. It will include a branch of the Chicago Public Library for people to reflect and read. An auditorium for performances and special events. A recording studio to bring in the city’s dynamic voices. A plaza that can host everything from film screenings to festivals. An athletic center that can teach sportsmanship as much as sports. A playground that will light up your child’s imagination, and a garden that will teach them how to grow something from the ground up. And—this one’s really exciting to me—a sledding hill on the South Side.

 

The Obama Presidential Center

We want to give every family in the community the kind of safe, welcoming, enriching environment they deserve. That’s why we consulted directly with people throughout the South Side and the City to make sure we’re delivering on that promise. And that’s why the vast majority of this campus will be free and open for the entire community to enjoy.

To make all this a reality, we can still use your help. I hope you’ll consider making a donation that will help revitalize Jackson Park and bring the Obama Presidential Center to life.

So let’s do this together. Let’s construct a Center for the community—with the community. Let’s build from the deep foundation of pride, talent, and possibilities on the South Side. Let’s write the next chapter of our shared history.

Thanks, everybody. Michelle and I look forward to working together with you in the months and years ahead.

Barack Obama

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Hi there,

We believe the global leaders of tomorrow are out in their communities today, demonstrating their potential by lifting up those around them. That’s why we’re inviting 100 of them from Chicago this weekend (and we’ll invite another 100 from Hartford next weekend), to join our Community Leadership Corps, a six-month changemaking boot camp.

But we know that everyone has the capacity to lead change—and if you’re ready, we have just the thing.

Answer five quick questions to find out what type of changemaker personality you have—and we’ll share some customized ideas for how to make an impact:

Find your change agent personality! Get started.
Do you like to create things? Are you great at bringing people together? Do you always speak up for what you believe in? Whatever your strengths and passions are, we can all play our part to make improvements in our communities.Deciding where to start can be challenging, but we’re here to help you take the first step. Change is possible, and it starts with you.

Take the quiz to get started.

Here’s to the first step,

The Obama Foundation

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Hi there,Educational inequality. Recent grads unable to find jobs. Neighbors who want to improve their communities but need help getting started. The growing opioid crisis.

These are some of the issues 2018 Obama Foundation Fellows Dominique Jordan Turner, Erin Barnes, Navdeep Kang, and Kalani Leifer are working tirelessly to solve. But they don’t do it alone—they work hand-in-hand with their communities to spur transformational change.

Kalani Leifer: Helping recent grads succeed
Kalani Leifer’s time as a public school teacher taught him that higher education does not guarantee success in the job market for all students. To help close the social gap, Kalani founded COOP, which invests in diverse, low-income, and first-generation grads from urban public colleges.See how Kalani is building a movement of diverse and upwardly mobile college grads through digital skills and peer connections.
Erin Barnes: Driving resident-led change
As a fifth grader, Erin Barnes wrote to her city’s mayor about speeding cars near her neighborhood playground. As a result of her actions, new traffic signs were put up. That experience was one of many that led Erin to found ioby (In Our BackYards), a civic crowdfunding and leadership development platform.Learn more about the work Erin is doing to motivate local leaders across the country to improve their neighborhoods through resident-led, crowdfunded community change.
Dominique Jordan Turner: Preparing the next generation of leaders
As the first in her family to attend college, Dominique Jordan Turner knows firsthand that an education has the potential to change young people’s lives. As CEO of Chicago Scholars, Dominique is passionate about preparing every student in Chicago to get into and through college, no matter their zip code.See how Dominique is preparing youth for college and helping them become the next wave of Chicago leaders.
Nav Kang: Changing how addiction is treated
As a psychologist in Cincinnati, Nav Kang witnessed people with substance use disorders slipping through the cracks. Now, he’s working to change how addiction is identified and treated, to make sure patients get the help they need.Read more about how Nav is shaping a collaborative, community-based approach to stem the opioid crisis in Ohio.
Leaders like Erin, Kalani, Dominique, and Nav are powerful examples of how change is possible through innovative solutions and shared action. We hope these Fellows inspire you to spot challenges in your own community and take a brave first step towards solving them.

Here’s to solutions,

The Obama Foundation

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Happy spring! We’re excited to share an update from the Obama Foundation. You’re an important part of this community, so we want to make sure you’re up to date on all you’ve helped make possible. Take a look!
"You, too, can make his life's work your own" -Barack on Nelson Mandela
To mark 100 years since Nelson Mandela’s birth, President Obama joined Graça Machel for a conversation on Mandela’s legacy and the future of Africa, moderated by Obama Foundation Africa Leader Lesley Williams.

Watch the whole thing and learn how the Leaders: Africa program is continuing Mandela’s quest for change.

Introducing the 2019 Obama Fellows
After thousands of applications from more than 160 countries, the 2019 Obama Foundation Fellows class is here!

Meet these inspiring educators, organizers, problem-solvers, and entrepreneurs from around the world.

Photo Essay: Finding Nima
After seeing local fishermen in Denmark forced out of business by big industrial fisheries, Europe Town Hall participant Nima Tisdall co-founded tech startup Blue Lobster.

Learn how her app is upending the seafood industry by helping local fishermen sell directly to customers and restaurants.

"You are the ones who are going to make a difference and make an impact." -President Obama, MBK Rising
Tell us today!
There are people in all of our communities doing amazing things to create positive change. Who is making a difference in your neighborhood? Tell us today!
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Hi everyone,

As Mother’s Day approaches, it’s our privilege to honor some of the powerful moms who are making a difference while raising the next generation of leaders. Like so many, these women are driving change around the world while serving as inspirations at home.

Learn more about Obama Foundation moms who are changing the world and leaving it a better place for their children.

Leaders like Veronica Crespin-Palmer, Dr. Mwansa Ketty Lubeya, and Ana Maria Gonzalez-Forero have picked up the baton of leadership from their own mothers and grandmothers and are now demonstrating that same love, patience, and tenacity to their own children.

In Colorado, Veronica, an Obama Fellow, is working to ensure that marginalized communities have access to a quality education.

In Zambia, Africa Leader Dr. Mwansa Ketty Lubeya works as a gynecologist to treat cervical cancer and improve women’s health while caring for her five children.
And in Colombia, Obama Foundation Scholar Ana Maria Gonzalez-Forero works to ensure sustainable development for indigenous communities.
Veronica, Dr. Mwansa, Ana Maria, and countless moms across the globe are working tirelessly to create a safer, kinder, and more just world for their children to inherit. They show us that inspiration doesn’t just come from within—it’s also handed down through generations.Learn more about them and other mothers doing remarkable work here.

To those who we wouldn’t be here without,

Obama Foundation

Help us help these moms build a better world.
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Hi there,

If you spend your life hoping and working for change, you know there are some days when you just need some inspiration—some days when you could use a few rays of hope to brighten the horizon.

I’ve got 20 for you.

I’m proud to introduce you to our 2019 class of Obama Foundation Fellows. They’re 20 leaders from ten countries who are poised to lead their communities, their countries, and our world into the future.

You can learn more about them here.

Over the next two years, we’ll bring this new class of Fellows together for specialized coaching and leadership trainings. We’ll offer them resources and connections that can amplify their impact. And we’ll highlight them in every way we can as the inspiring examples of change that they are.

Our new class of Fellows is already addressing some of the most pressing problems of our time. They’re boosting economies and supporting entrepreneurs in places where too many people are being left behind. They’re protecting our land and our water for sustainable development. They’re showing the world that criminal justice can be restorative justice, that urban development can be equitable, that our most disadvantaged and disconnected communities can also be our most vital and innovative. They’re even finding ways to grow food in the desert.

Above all, they’re giving the world hope—hope that generational challenges are no match for people who believe there’s no problem we can’t solve together.

That’s the other thing about this class of Fellows: They know that meaningful progress can only happen if it includes everyone. Change is a team sport, not something we can do alone.

So please join me in welcoming this remarkable class of Fellows to our team.

Thanks,

Barack Obama

Donate today to support the Obama Foundation’s work:
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Hi there,From the day the Obama Foundation opened its doors, we’ve been inspired by what we’ve heard and seen from folks like you—whether you’ve posted on social media about how you’re taking action in your own community, told us about a community leader who changed the course of your life on Obama.org, recorded an oral history reflecting on President Obama’s historic election, or sent in a donation to help sustain our mission.

You’ve been there for us. And by engaging with our work, you’ve helped support the work of emerging leaders all across the world.

In the past two years—with your help—we’ve supported thousands of emerging leaders across mission-driven, evidence-based programs designed to create a global network of changemakers.We still have a lot of work to do—and we need your help. If you can, please support our work.

As President Obama said, “We cannot solve the challenges of our time unless we solve them together.” Every dollar we raise makes a difference. And we won’t be able to do it without you.

Thank you,

Obama Foundation

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JEAN PAUL,During MBK Rising! last month, hundreds of boys and young men of color joined us to celebrate the progress of the My Brother’s Keeper movement. There were many inspiring moments on stage—whether it was President Obama engaging with young leaders or Steph Curry sharing his story on the power of mentorship. But we want to share with you something special that happened behind the scenes.

Amid the steady buzz of activity and energy, time stood still for a moment.

A few attendees stepped into our portrait studio so we could capture their photo and hear how they were building a brighter future for boys and young men of color in their community.

If there’s one thing that unites their stories, it’s the joy they feel and exude as they help break down barriers and expand opportunity in their communities.

Take a look at these beautiful portraits and the proud, inspiring voices they represent:

 

I coach a sport and my entire coaching philosophy is rooted in the belief that the sky is not the limit, the mind is. I teach young men that as long as they have vision, action, and commitment, they can achieve greatness in any endeavor they pursue. -Elliott Kelly Jr.
I am bettering my community for boys and young men of color by providing a sense of fun, unity, and love through the work I do. Whether I'm helping at a community engagement event, or providing services to those in need, or just simply going to a high school to speak with students about their day, I try to incorporate those three things. - Emanuel Milton