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Obama Foundation Announces Inaugural 2018 Fellowship Class

April 16, 2018 at 6:12 AM CDT

Two-year, non-residential program will bring together a diverse set of 20 civic innovators from around the world to scale the impact of their community-driven work.

CHICAGO, IL -- Today, the Obama Foundation announced its inaugural 2018 Fellows class. This two-year, non-residential program brings together 20 leaders representing 11 countries around the world who are creating transformational change on many of the world’s most pressing problems. The Fellowship will offer hands-on training, leadership development, and a powerful network for Fellows to amplify the impact of their work and inspire a wave of civic innovation.

The 2018 Obama Foundation Fellows come from a variety of disciplines, including healthcare, community organizing, technology, and the arts. These leaders apply their talents to a range of missions, such as empowering parents and teachers to improve our schools, ensuring deaf children have equal access to literacy tools, and working across the healthcare system to treat addiction.

Over the course of the two-year program, Obama Foundation Fellows will participate in four multi-day gatherings to collaborate with one another, connect with potential partners, and break down silos to advance their work. The first Fellows gathering will be in Chicago in May.

Each Fellow will also develop and pursue with the Foundation a personalized plan to leverage the fellowship and Obama Foundation resources to take their work to the next level. As Fellows put their plans into action, the Obama Foundation will assist with access to mentors, coaches, and additional resources.

“The 2018 Obama Foundation Fellows come from diverse backgrounds but share a common desire to make positive change and create the world as it should be,” said David Simas, CEO of the Obama Foundation. “By bringing these individuals together to work with the Obama Foundation, we hope to help amplify the work of our Fellows so it has a widespread impact. On behalf of President and Mrs. Obama and the Obama Foundation family, I congratulate our new Fellows and look forward to working with them.”

In September 2017, the Obama Foundation announced the Fellowship program and began accepting applications. More than 20,000 people from 191 countries applied. The Obama Foundation weighed a variety of factors when selecting the 20 members of its 2018 Fellows class. Geographic diversity, commitment to the Obama Foundation’s values, and existing work all factored into the selection process.

The work of the 2018 Fellows will support the Obama Foundation’s broader mission to inspire, empower, and connect the next generation of civic leaders. Throughout 2017 and into 2018, the Obama Foundation has launched several programming initiatives to advance this mission, including the inaugural  Obama Foundation Summit Training Days in Chicago, Tempe, and Boston; the integration of  My Brother’s Keeper Alliance into the Foundation; and the  Obama Foundation Scholars Program.

A new class of Obama Foundation Fellows will be selected each year. The Obama Foundation will open applications this summer for its 2019 Fellows class.

To learn more about the Obama Foundation Fellowship, please visit A list of 2018 Obama Foundation Fellows can be found  HERE.


Contact: Elizabeth Kenigsberg, [email protected]