Together we will create a movement of engaged citizens who are changing their communities, nations, and ultimately, their world.”
—David Simas, CEO, Obama Foundation
This report marks a milestone for the Obama Foundation.
Though we’ve been hard at work for some time, both fulfilling our core mission of helping people become active citizens around the world and designing a landmark Presidential Center on the South Side of Chicago, this is our first annual report. I’d like to welcome you to this in-depth look at the Obama Foundation, a foundation that aims to be unlike any other.
This annual report isn’t just a place to share financial data or metrics. We want to share our story. It’s a story that details how strangers who met at a Foundation training event came together to form a new nonprofit to mentor Chicago-area students and help them become more civically involved. It’s a story about how diversity and inclusion are core to our calling and our conduct. And above all, it’s a story about how the Foundation is inspiring and empowering people around the world to reimagine their civic responsibilities, while equipping them with the tools, resources, and networks to bring about change.
Within all these stories, you’ll hear a familiar echo from President Obama’s 2017 farewell address: an encouragement to believe—not in his ability to create change, but in your own.
The past year saw many new initiatives at the Foundation, but it was also a year of listening. Both at home and abroad, we looked to citizens, advocates, and leaders to help us understand how we could create a global network of change. We’re already putting what we learned into practice, incorporating community feedback into how we shape our programs, our trainings—even the Center.
As we look toward the future of the Foundation, we see a lot of progress ahead. As a start-up on the South Side with one of the world’s most recognizable names on our door, we have a scrappy mindset and a broad ambition. We will have triumphs and we will have setbacks, but together, we will create a movement of engaged citizens who are changing their communities, nations, and ultimately, their world.
Thank you for being a part of our story.
David M. Simas