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Email from President Obama: "This is where we go from here"


September 13, 2017
Former President Barack Obama reads public correspondence in his private office in Washington, DC Sept. 1, 2017. (Photo: Chuck Kennedy)

This morning, President Obama sent a message to the Obama Foundation email list to announce our next steps, including the first set of projects for Fall 2017 and the inaugural Obama Foundation Summit in Chicago. If you'd like to get updates like this and be among the first to know about Foundation news, you can sign up for our email list here.

When I left office in January, I asked of you the same thing I asked when you took a chance on me back in 2008.  I asked you to believe -- not in my ability to bring about change, but in yours.

A few months ago, Michelle and I launched this new experiment in modern citizenship -- the Obama Foundation -- to help more people find their own voice. And we turned to you first.

We asked you what this organization ought to look like. What its goals should be. What work is going on out there that we should lift up. And you delivered beyond what we could have hoped for.

Based on what we’ve heard from you, I’m here to tell you what’s next.

We're going to focus on empowering and equipping civic innovators and young leaders with the skills and tools they need to create change in their communities. We'll spotlight the incredible individuals and projects around the world that are making an impact, and convene those that are tackling challenges in their own backyards.

We’re launching the Obama Foundation Fellowship to support and elevate outstanding civic innovators — individuals from around the world who are working with their fellow citizens to tackle big challenges. We want to lift up the amazing work that organizers, inventors, artists, entrepreneurs, journalists, and others are doing -- and if we do it right, together we’ll show the world that each of us has a role to play in our civic life. Apply now, or pass this message along to someone you know who’s changing the world.

We’ve also heard from thousands of young people just getting engaged for the first time, asking for help on how to get started. So, we’re putting together a series of Training Days across the country -- starting in Chicago -- to teach young people how to put civics into action where they live. Get updates on Training Days and find out when we’re coming to your area.

Finally, we heard how much you want to hear from one another -- from folks who aren’t like you, who live in different places and experience different challenges. So this October, we’re bringing together hundreds of civic leaders from all around the world to Chicago for a hands-on exchange of ideas. This Summit will be a place to share your stories, learn from one another, and then go back to your communities to lead others in the hard work of change. It will also help guide our Foundation as we continue to design programs that connect and support the next generation of young leaders here in the United States and around the globe. Learn more about what’s in store, and how you can be a part of it.

Welcome to the next phase of this organization -- inspired by you.

From the day we launched the Foundation, I told you that even as we experiment, even as we try and fail as humans do, there would be one constant in our work -- our commitment to progress.

Democracy is a job for all of us. What are you going to do about it?

I’ve never been more certain that we’ll rise to the occasion -- together.