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The Barack Obama Foundation Announces Hire of Michael Strautmanis as Vice President of Civic Engagement

November 23, 2015 at 2:00 PM CST

Chicago, IL – Today, The Barack Obama Foundation announced that it is hiring Michael A. Strautmanis as Vice President of Civic Engagement. Strautmanis, a native of Chicago, will be tasked with developing and leading the execution of outreach efforts and civic engagement relating to the work of The Foundation. Strautmanis joins The Foundation from the Walt Disney Company, where he has held the position of Vice President, Corporate Citizenship since 2013. He will assume his role with The Foundation in January.

The Obama Foundation conducted a national search for this position in partnership with Koya Leadership Partners, an executive search firm dedicated to serving clients in the nonprofit field. Strautmanis was selected from a strong pool of talented candidates for this role, with his strong ties to both Chicago and the Obamas making him an ideal choice.

A native Chicagoan, Strautmanis grew up in Uptown and attended St. Ignatius College Prep. Strautmanis began his career with the Obamas as a paralegal at Sidley & Austin, where Mrs. Obama was working as a young lawyer. Later, he would serve as chief counsel on then-Senator Barack Obama’s Senate staff. A close aide to the President throughout his first term, Strautmanis served in a number of capacities across the Administration with a strong and continuous focus on engagement – including Director of Public Liaison & Intergovernmental Affairs on the Presidential Transition Team, followed by Counselor for Strategic Engagement, Deputy Assistant to the President in the Officer of Public Engagement and Intergovernmental Affairs and Chief of Staff to Senior Advisor Valerie Jarrett.

“I'm thrilled to come home to Chicago and join the stellar team at The Obama Foundation,” said Strautmanis. “Civic engagement has been at the center of President Obama's career in public service, from his start as a community organizer on the South Side all the way to the White House. I am honored to bring his unique and effective approach to civic and social change to The Foundation’s work with the vibrant community on the South Side, along with other communities across the city and beyond.”

“We are delighted to have Michael join The Foundation, and we look forward to his leadership on how to best engage the dynamic South Side and greater Chicagoland community throughout the construction of the Obama Presidential Center and beyond,” said Robbin Cohen, executive director of The Barack Obama Foundation. “This is an exciting time for The Obama Foundation, and we have a lot of work to do in the months and years ahead. We are pleased to be expanding our team, and Michael will help us continue to lay the groundwork for the post-presidential activities of the President and First Lady.”

Additionally, The Foundation announced that it will be moving into new office space, provided by the University of Chicago, in Harper Court on 53rd Street. The space will serve as The Foundation’s headquarters during the construction of the Obama Presidential Center. The move will be completed in two phases, with staff offices opening in the Harper Court tower in January and ground-floor space opening later in the year.