Obama Foundation Annual Report 2018

Portrait of David Simas

Dear Friends,

Here at the Obama Foundation, we’re focused on building the world we all hope to see. A world that is more inclusive and participatory. A world that is more generous. A world that is more just. A world where people discover and harness their own power and voice. A world where people see their lives as being deeply intertwined with the lives of others and see themselves as capable of transforming their communities for the better.

That vision serves as our North Star, guiding everything we do, from community leadership trainings here in Chicago to global leadership roundtables and programs in countries around the world.

We believe that to solve the most pressing problems we face—to build that world we want to see—we need to invest in people. We need to develop leaders who come together in a cooperative, inclusive, thoughtful, and constructive way, focused on bridging our divides and building stronger communities for the common good.

And 2018 was a milestone in our effort to do just that. After months of preparation, research, care, and thought, we introduced several programs that we believe will define our work for years to come. After reviewing 20,000 applications, we selected and supported our first class of 20 Obama Foundation Fellows. We launched our first international program, Leaders: Africa, a year-long program that we kicked off by gathering 200 of the continent’s most promising emerging leaders in Johannesburg. We graduated our first cohort of the Community Leadership Corps, young leaders from Columbia, Phoenix, and Chicago, who are poised to make their cities—and our nation—better. We launched the Girls Opportunity Alliance, a global network of grassroots leaders who are helping ensure that every girl gets the education she deserves.

All of this work happened—and much, much more—while we continued our preparations for the Obama Presidential Center, a dynamic museum and public gathering space here on the South Side of Chicago. When constructed, the Obama Presidential Center will inspire and empower millions of visitors to make a positive impact in their own communities, while providing amenities and economic opportunity to the community that gave President and Mrs. Obama so much.

Throughout the report, you’ll read about this place we’re working to build and the programs that advance our mission. But more importantly, you’ll read about the people we’re investing in today that will help build the future we want to see tomorrow.

Thank you for being part of this journey. We’re looking forward to your partnership in the years ahead.

David Simas signature

David M. Simas
Obama Foundation

Letter from President Obama Our Mission