Obama Foundation Annual Report 2018




In 2018, we set a goal of spending 32.5 percent of the Obama Presidential Center professional services budget with diverse vendors—firms that are at least 51 percent owned, operated, and controlled by women, people of color, people with disabilities, veterans, or members of the LGBTQ+ community. By the end of the year, we had exceeded that goal with more than 40 percent of our spend going to diverse vendors.


In October 2018, our construction manager Lakeside Alliance set up shop in the South Shore neighborhood of Chicago. Lakeside is a collective of five construction firms, four of which are local African-American owned businesses. Their new resource center is a space where local residents interested in learning about building things can stop by to enroll in workforce development training, explore construction and subcontracting opportunities for the Obama Presidential Center, or just learn about the construction industry as a whole.

So far, Lakeside has taken part in over 20 community meetings to discuss the Obama Presidential Center, hosted two union trade informational sessions, and organized two career and training opportunity fairs for those seeking job opportunities.

Lakeside also helped cofound the We Can Build It Consortium, a coalition of seven organizations led by Chicago Women in Trades, designed to recruit and place individuals into a pipeline for projects around Chicago and the country. The consortium includes two apprenticeship programs in partnership with the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) Local 134 and the Chicagoland Regional Council of Carpenters. IBEW Local 134 will work with Council of Carpenters to create and teach a test prep program to prepare aspiring electricians for the apprenticeship aptitude test.


Across our Chicago, D.C., and New York offices, 24 percent of our operations spend was with diverse vendors, a total of $7 million spent with 150 businesses. We define operations spend as the number of dollars spent on a variety of professional services, including event planning, production services, office services, technology, and consulting.

Our Partners

We pride ourselves on working with minority- and women-owned business enterprises around the country, especially at home in Chicago.



Agency EA is a minority- and women-owned brand experience firm based in Chicago. At our 2018 Summit, this boutique agency was critical in bringing our vision to life. From designing a stage for speakers from all walks of life to share their stories, to producing an experience that fostered rich connections among attendees, this team left attendees inspired and engaged.



Space Continuum is a certified minority business enterprise and furniture dealer based in Chicago that is known for curating dynamic and beautiful workplaces across the city. As the Foundation grew in 2018, Space Continuum helped design our collaborative and comfortable new office spaces in Chicago, New York, and Washington, D.C



“Build your future!” That’s what bowa means in Edo, a native Nigerian language. Our partner since 2018, Bowa Construction, a certified minority business enterprise, is an awarding-winning construction firm that focuses on renovation projects. Bowa is helping remodel our office space in Chicago and helping us solidify our footprint on the South Side.



We are proud to partner with Urban Alliance, a national youth development organization, to provide workforce development training to underserved high school students through the Obama Youth Jobs Corps. Beginning in the tenth grade, Obama Youth Jobs Corps students receive workforce readiness training at partner organizations and businesses throughout Chicago, culminating in a ten-month paid internship during a student’s senior year. There are currently 105 sophomores in the program, as well as 56 juniors who are poised for an internship placement in the fall

Jason Guzman is a senior at Curie Metropolitan High School and hopes to study computer science at DePaul University in the fall. Jason is currently interning at Hyatt, an Obama Youth Jobs Corps partner, and he considers the experience invaluable.

“I have grown so much both professionally and personally,” Jason said. “I have learned important real world skills through my job and from my mentor, such as how to confidently give a presentation in a room full of people, work cross-functionally with other teams, and remain professional in all environments. Working hard is the only way you can make a difference and become the best version of yourself.”

More than the skills he has learned, Jason’s favorite part of the experience has been the way he’s been embraced as a member of the Hyatt team. “I am given tasks that make an impact.”

Portrait Of Michael Straumantis

Inclusivity is not about reaching a magic number or spending a certain dollar amount... It’s about having a seat at the table and having your voice both heard and considered.”


Obama Presidential Center: History Our Programs