Skip to content

Obama Foundation teams up with Chicago community for Earth Day 2023

Chicago knows how to show up! This Earth Day, hundreds of volunteers joined the Obama Foundation for a day of giving back to the community.

“In true Chicago fashion, we experienced all four seasons on Earth Day,” Kim Patterson, Senior Events Associate for the Foundation said with a smile. “But that did not stop our neighbors from across the city from coming here to the South Side.”

In partnership with  Emerald South Economic Development (Opens in a new tab), volunteers were spread across three South Side locations including Washington Park, Rainbow Beach, and Jackson Park-–the home of the future  Obama Presidential Center.

On a sunny day, a group of volunteers smile in front of a blue Obama Foundation banner. They huddle together and pose as someone takes a photo on their cell phone.

Earth Day volunteers pose for a photo together at Washington Park.

Valerie Jarrett, Obama Foundation CEO, welcomed the Earth Day volunteers who met initially at the Washington Park Refectory.

“Washington Park holds many dear memories for me,” Jarrett shared. “And of course you know how dear it is to the Obamas. The Obama Presidential Center will be a stone’s throw away from here.”

Valerie Jarrett, Obama Foundation CEO, holds a microphone and speaks in front of a crowd of volunteers. She is wearing a red coat and a blue scarf around her neck.

Valerie Jarrett, Obama Foundation CEO, welcomes Earth Day volunteers at Washington Park in Chicago.

“As you know the Obama Presidential Center is under construction, so I hope you drive by, ride your bikes by, walk by, and take pride in the fact that it is going to be an economic engine for the South Side of Chicago,” Jarrett added. “It’s also going to be a beacon of hope for the world…we can’t wait to showcase this amazing community.”

Under a cloudy sky, four Black teens with a range of light to deep skin tones stand in the grass in front of the Obama Presidential Center construction site in Jackson Park.

Earth Day volunteers stand in front of the Obama Presidential Center construction site in Jackson Park.

On a cloudy day, eight volunteers stand near water as they clean up trash around Jackson Park in Chicago.

Volunteers cleaned up across the South Side, including Jackson Park, the future home of the Obama Presidential Center.

“The young people conveyed a great deal of leadership and passion by beautifying the parks on the South Side,” Chris Crater, Senior Associate for My Brother’s Keeper Alliance said. “No rain, sleet, or snow could stand in the way of these young people protecting the environment. This is Chicago.”

A mother and daughter in matching purple hoodies that read,  “WOW” and “Youth Guidance” in large white letters.

A mother and her daughter pose together before volunteering at Rainbow Beach.

Chris Crater, a Black with a deep skin tone, smiles at the camera while taking a selfie with a large group of volunteers in the background.

Chris Crater, Senior Associate for My Brother’s Keeper Alliance, snaps a selfie with a group of volunteers at Rainbow Beach.

The Foundation wrapped up Earth Day with a community celebration with food and music. To learn more about future Obama Foundation volunteer events,  sign up for our newsletter!



Read the latest stories and updates from the Obama Foundation.

Learn more
52170702919 022b88daa3 o-scaled

Construction updates 2021-2022

Read the updates and see photos of this historic project from 2021-2022.

Learn more