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How a former White House intern and Obama Leader is making a difference today

Daniel Fairley II, a Black man with a light skin tone smiles at the camera. He has short black hair and glasses. He is wearing a light purple blazer and a dark purple hoodie.

Photo Credit: Joumana Altallal

As a former White House intern and youth coordinator for the My Brother's Keeper Alliance, Daniel Fairley II has a long history as part of the Obama network. He says his commitment to service is personal and continues to drive his work today.

“I've become a professional mentor,” Daniel explained. “This is my life. This is my passion, my dream—to help my community.”

In a recent interview, Daniel reflects on the impact of service and what it means for the next generation, especially as efforts continue to build our hub for change on the South Side of Chicago.

Q: You were a White House Intern during the Obama administration, a 2023 Leaders USA program participant, and former lead of the My Brother’s Keeper Alliance initiative in Charlottesville. That’s a lot of impactful work! At what point in your life did the call to pursue public service become clear to you?

A: The idea of service has been ingrained in me since I was born. I grew up in Stafford. It's near Quantico, Virginia; it’s a very small military town. Seeing both my dad and stepdad serve this country as Marines was a really big part of my understanding that my work in the community and even my work personally should never be limited to myself. It clicked for me years later when my dad took me to Washington D.C. for President Obama’s first inauguration.

Hear from Daniel about his family and the start of his leadership journey:

Q: How did your experience with the My Brother's Keeper Alliance equip you for your current position?

A: In my current role, I coordinate with grantors and potential grantees. It is my job to connect the vast resources of our community to the equally vast needs of our community. At MBK Charlottesville, I was the only person in my role as Youth Opportunity Coordinator, so everything that I did required me to work with partners to get the job done. Understanding the needs of the communities I serve has been beneficial for me when seeking funding and support from grantors.

Q: How has being a part of the Leaders USA program helped you accomplish your goals?

A: I wouldn’t be at my current role without the support of Leaders USA. The program gave me the confidence and guidance I needed to be successful. Being in the same room as 100 of the most incredible minds, all focused on different issues, boosted my passion in my own work. Additionally, my coach was absolutely instrumental in my success, guiding me through the application, interview, and even contract negotiation processes.

Q: What does 10 years of My Brother’s Keeper mean to you? 

A: It’s incredible! It's also my 10-year anniversary in Obamaland. Back in 2014, I interned at the White House, so it's amazing to see how far President Obama’s idea has grown. I’m excited to see where it’ll go next. The work continues, but I believe MBK is doing what it set out to do. From my perspective, we have made clear strides to support Black boys and men of color, and I’m looking forward to the next ten years. I’m proud to be one small cog in that wheel of change because it has really changed my life.

Hear from Daniel about how President Obama's call to service has impacted his life:

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The Barack Obama Foundation is registered as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization (EIN 46-4950751).

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