Thank you for engaging with The Barack Obama Foundation (the “Foundation”)! Our mission is to inspire, empower, and connect people to change their world.
We are a tax-exempt 501(c)(3) organization, and our status means we can receive tax-deductible donations and are exempt from paying many taxes. It also means we are prohibited from certain activities, including directly or indirectly participating in, or intervening in, any political campaign on behalf of (or in opposition to) any candidate for elective public office – whether or not such a political campaign takes place in the U.S. or in another country. We also do not lobby or encourage others to lobby by persuading local or foreign lawmakers to vote for or against pending legislation, or by calling on voters to reach out to their elected officials to vote a certain way.
These rules reinforce the Foundation’s mission and help us stay focused on developing citizenship and civic leaders rather than on defeating one’s opponents; to rise above partisan conversations and engage in true dialogue; and to think about long-term solutions rather than political headlines.
Below are some guidelines to help you have engaging, productive conversations at Foundation events, functions, programming (“Foundation Events”):
The following are some examples of some statements to avoid. If you have a question about whether a particular statement crosses the line into political campaign intervention, please reach out to a member of the Foundation’s Legal Team by writing to [email protected].
Overtly partisan statements:
Support for or opposition to any candidate for public office:
Approval or disapproval of a political candidate’s positions or actions:
Making or soliciting contributions for political organizations or candidates for public office:
Expressing support for or opposition to a specific political party or ideology
Encouraging others to engage in lobbying (direct or grassroots) for proposed legislation at any level (international, national, state, or local):
Even if you do your best to avoid political statements during a Foundation Event, other participants in your conversation may veer into prohibited territory. If this happens, consider the talking points below as a way to steer the conversation back on track.
Acknowledge the statement, but then move on:
Remind participants that this Foundation Event is a chance to talk about something other than politics and to connect with others in your area of the world who care about active citizenship:
Use the statement as a way to further the group’s understanding of the speaker’s individual situation:
Use the statement as a way to discuss how it could lead to civic action:
Use the statement as a way to inspire others to civic action:
If you have questions about a specific issue, statement, or activity, please contact a member of the Foundation’s Legal Team by writing to [email protected] Opens in a new tab.