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Supporters Establish the Obama Foundation to Oversee Planning for Future Presidential Library

January 31, 2014 at 6:00 PM CST

Washington, D.C. – Three longtime supporters of President Barack Obama, Martin Nesbitt, J. Kevin Poorman, and Julianna Smoot, today announced the formation of The Barack Obama Foundation, in order to begin planning President Obama’s future Presidential Library.  Nesbitt, Poorman, and Smoot will manage the library planning process and serve on the Foundation’s Board of Directors.

The Barack Obama Foundation is tasked with planning the development of a Presidential Library that reflects President Obama’s values and priorities throughout his career in public service: expanding economic opportunity, inspiring an ethic of American citizenship, and promoting peace, justice, and dignity throughout the world. Additionally, the Foundation envisions a facility that, through its mission, initiatives, and physical and virtual presence, can become an anchor for economic development and cultivate a strong relationship with the library’s surrounding community.

“I’m humbled and honored that President Obama has entrusted me to lead this effort,” said Martin Nesbitt. “The President’s future library will one day serve as an important part of our nation’s historical record, and our mission is to build a library that tells President Obama’s remarkable story in an interactive way that will inspire future generations to become involved in public service.”

J. Kevin Poorman said, “As President Obama continues to lead the nation through a crucial period in our history, I’m honored to help establish a library that will chronicle his tenure and build on his work in office. I also look forward to working with the many organizations across the nation that have expressed interest in becoming home to the future Barack H. Obama Presidential Library.”

“I am so proud to have served President Obama in the White House, on two historic campaigns, and now, on the board of his future Presidential Library,” said Julianna Smoot. “The breadth of interest in hosting the President’s future library has already exceeded expectations, and that is a testament to how deeply his values and priorities have resonated with Americans, and how widely his career in public service has impacted communities across the nation.”

The Foundation will manage an open and accessible library planning process, in line with President Obama’s longstanding commitment to transparency and fairness. In February, the Foundation will release a Request for Qualifications (RFQ), which will solicit interest and enumerate the core elements and criteria for the site selection process. In May, the Foundation will issue a Request for Proposals (RFP) to the most competitive entities, requesting comprehensive proposals for evaluation. The Foundation expects to reach a decision and select a site in early 2015.

The Barack H. Obama Foundation is organized and will operate as a section 501(c)(3) organization, fulfilling all requirements for recognition of this status by the Internal Revenue Service, and will be eligible to accept tax-deductible contributions for its educational and charitable purposes.

For the remainder of President Obama’s term, the Foundation will follow strict donation guidelines in line with those adopted by the President for his campaigns. The Foundation will not accept donations from entities or organizations other than those also operating under section 501(c)(3), and it will also not accept support from foreign nationals, currently registered federal lobbyists or foreign agents. In addition, the Foundation will disclose all donors and donations over $200 on a quarterly basis. The disclosures will be made public on the Foundation’s website on the FEC quarterly reporting schedule. Additionally, the Board will organize fundraising activities for the Foundation; the president, First Lady and White House staff will not participate in fundraising efforts during the remainder of the president’s term.

For up to date information about the Foundation and President Obama’s future library, visit, or follow  @ObamaFoundation (Opens in a new tab) on Twitter.


Martin Nesbitt

Martin Nesbitt is a longtime friend of President Barack Obama and served as national treasurer for his two presidential campaigns.

Mr. Nesbitt is a co-founder and co-CEO of The Vistria Group, a private equity firm. He also currently serves on the Board of Directors of Jones Lang LaSalle, a global real estate company based in Chicago, as well as the Board of Directors of Norfolk Southern Corporation.

In addition, Mr. Nesbitt currently serves as a trustee of Chicago's Museum of Contemporary Art and on the Board of Directors of the Noble Network of Charter Schools.

Mr. Nesbitt is the former CEO of The Parking Spot, a successful company which owns and manages off-site airport parking lots around the country. He has also previously worked for LaSalle partners, predecessor to Jones Lang LaSalle, and is the former Chairman of the Board of the Chicago Housing Authority.

Mr. Nesbitt has a Masters of Business Administration degree from the University of Chicago and a Bachelor of Science degree and honorary doctorate from Albion College in Michigan.

J. Kevin Poorman

Kevin Poorman serves as the President and CEO of PSP Capital Partners and Executive Chairman of Vi Senior Living. Additionally, Mr. Poorman is currently the Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Loyola University of New Orleans, and a director of The New Orleans Jazz Orchestra, Inc.

Previously, Mr. Poorman was a partner in the law firm of Johnson & Swanson, and he remains a member of the American, Illinois and Texas Bar Associations. He received his Bachelor of Science and Juris Doctor degrees from the University of Oklahoma, and graduated law school with highest honors.

Julianna Smoot

Julianna Smoot is currently a principal and co-founder of the Smoot Tewes Group, a Washington, D.C.-based political and public affairs consulting firm. Ms. Smoot has served in senior roles in President Obama's Administration and on both of his presidential campaigns.

During the 2008 presidential election, Ms. Smoot served as National Finance Director for the Obama for America campaign. During President Obama's first term, she served as Chief of Staff to U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk, and later, as White House Social Secretary and Deputy Assistant to the President. In 2011, Ms. Smoot was asked to serve as a Deputy Campaign Manager for President Obama's re-election effort. During both election cycles, she set new fundraising records.

Ms. Smoot's previous experience includes work for numerous prominent Democratic senators, including Senators Dick Durbin, Tom Daschle, and Chris Dodd.

Ms. Smoot received her Bachelor of Arts from Smith College in Massachusetts.