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A year of hope. A year of action.

 President Obama and Michelle Obama stand outside during the day shaking hands with youth. They have a ranging of medium to deep skin tones

Revisit the highlights from our work in 2021, which included breaking ground on the Obama Presidential Center, recognizing important milestones from President and Mrs. Obama’s time in office, empowering and connecting leaders around the world, and more.


Groundbreaking for the Obama Presidential Center Set to Begin

After the completion of a careful federal regulatory review process, we cleared the way to break ground on the Obama Presidential Center. President Obama shared a special video message to mark the milestone.

Obama Presidential Center groundbreaking set for 2021

The Power of Art in the Obama White House

We revisited the art created by Black artists that the Obamas welcomed into the halls of the White House during their time in office.

President Obama stands talking to an older woman in a blue dress with a deep skin tone and brown curly hair in front of a painting of Ruby Bridges, a young girl with a deep skin tone. Behind them is an older woman with a light skin tone and straight, short gray hair in a black dress

Marking the End of the Leaders Europe Program

At the conclusion of our six-month inaugural Leaders Europe program, the group of 35 leaders joined President Obama to talk about activism, inspiration, and building a sustainable future. Mrs. Obama also shared a  special farewell message (Opens in a new tab) with the class.

President Obama joins a call with Obama Leaders from across Europe


Reimagine Policing: Progress to Date

In the summer of 2020, President Obama issued a pledge for mayors and city officials to review their use of force policies. Nearly a year later, the My Brother’s Keeper Alliance released the  Reimagine Policing report to see how pledgetakers fared.

An image of a large group of various people outdoors holding cardboard and paper signs that reads "Black Lives Matter" "Our fight Is Your Fight" and "Say Their Names"

You Are America

56 years after marchers armed only with their courage crossed a bridge in Selma, Alabama, determined to fight for a more just future—we unveiled the quote that will appear on the exterior of the Museum at the Obama Presidential Center. The quote mirrors the narrative of the Museum, telling the story of the Obama administration within a broader contextual history, where moments like Selma form the building blocks of American democracy making possible the election of America’s first Black President.

Special Reveal: See the text that will appear on the Obama Presidential Center Museum

A overhead image of the future Obama Presidential Musem Building. A cream color brick with words craved inside of the walls and small plot of grass on top

Poem by Chicago Poet Leslé Honoré "Bridges" Bloody Sunday to the Obama Presidential Center

A New Pipeline for Talent to Build the Obama Presidential Center

We launched the Obama Presidential Center Construction Workforce Initiative to create an inclusive construction workforce trained with skills to build the Center, and create a diverse pipeline of talent that can be funneled to construction projects across the city of Chicago.

Building the Obama Presidential Center: Meet the Lakeside Alliance

An image of two people with deep medium skin tones placing bricks togehter with cement.

Building the Obama Presidential Center: Meet Chicago Women in Trades

Mrs. Obama at POPSUGAR: Girl Talk

Mrs. Obama joined a star-studded lineup of empowering women for  POPSUGAR’s Girl Talk event (Opens in a new tab).

An image of First Lady, Michelle Obama on call with 2 young ladies and the PBS logo at the top corner. One with deep medium skin tone, medium length bloack hair and a red top. The other with a deep medium skin tone, braids, and blueish- green top. The text below reads "Providing Me With Data Every Week"

Get Vaccinated, America.

When President and Mrs. Obama joined former presidents Bush, Clinton, and Carter in encouraging Americans to get their COVID-19 vaccines, we were excited to help spread the word.

Eleven Years of the Affordable Care Act

In honor of the  Affordable Care Act’s eleventh anniversary, we revisited President Obama’s reflection on the moment. We also explored how the ACA still positively impacts the lives of millions of Americans by sharing the story of Asia Pacific Leader  Kealoha Fox.

Barack Obama a man with golden brown skin sitting at a table wearing a formal suit while writing with a diverse group of people behind him with mainly neutral light skin and a little boy with brown skin wearing a formal suit looking at the paper Barack is writing on


Construction Work Begins on the Obama Presidential Center

Marking the official  kickoff of the Obama Presidential Center’s Road to Groundbreaking—a celebration of Chicago and everyone who is helping us make this dream a reality—the City of Chicago began pre-construction work onsite in Jackson Park. Mayor Lightfoot and JB Pritzker joined Foundation leadership for a  press conference (Opens in a new tab) to discuss the milestone.

The Road to Groundbreaking: City of Chicago announces preparatory work for Obama Presidential Center

Men on a construction sight with light neutral skin tones wearing neon green and orange constructed jackets and neon green hats, one man holding a long piece of wood

Special Message: President Obama announces preparatory work for Obama Presidential Center

Earth Day: Explore Sustainability at the Center

To celebrate Earth Day, we took a closer look at the Obama Presidential Center’s  environmentally sustainable design. We also announced our new partnership with the  Chicago Botanic Gardens.

A rendering of the Wetland Walk at the Obama Presidential Center.

Fundraising at the Obama Foundation

We have ambitious plans, and we’re thankful to the generous supporters from around the world who have chipped in to bring us closer to our  $1.6 billion fundraising goal to fuel the Foundation’s pursuit of its mission to inspire, empower, and connect the next generation of leaders and bring the Obama Presidential Center to the South Side of Chicago. To date, we’ve raised over $1 billion towards our goal!


America Hadn’t Forgotten

Around the tenth anniversary of the operation against Osama bin Laden, Ben Rhodes moderated a candid conversation between President Obama and Admiral William McRaven, the commander of the special operations forces who took part in the raid.

President Obama sits in the situation room, talking to a man in a blue collared shirt.

10 Years Later: President Obama and Admiral Bill McRaven reflect on the bin Laden Raid

President Obama Reflects on the Year Since George Floyd’s Murder

President Obama joined My Brother’s Keeper Alliance youth and community leaders to discuss the unprecedented activism since George Floyd’s murder the year before.

A light grey picture of a man and woman holding one arm up and the man is wearing a love is love t-shirt while the woman is wearing a long sleeve shirt and a hijab

My Brother’s Keeper Alliance Leadership Forum: A Conversation with President Obama

As part of the MBK Leadership Forum, President Obama participates in a conversation with youth and community leaders about the unprecedented activism and action that has taken place in the year since George Floyd's tragic murder—and the importance of cont

The MBKA Leadership Forum

The  My Brother’s Keeper Leadership Forum was a two-day virtual gathering of MBK Communities. During the event, guests celebrated progress, shared best practices from communities with proven success, and spotlighted what works. The  MBK Equity Framework was also released.

MBK Leadership Forum


A New Hub for Construction Updates

We’re building the Obama Presidential Center in partnership with the community and with City agencies, including the Chicago Department of Transportation, the Chicago Park District, and the Department of Planning and Development. To help our neighbors find the latest updates on construction, we created a new hub featuring updates from these groups and the Obama Foundation team.

A man in a hard hat working at a construction site.

A Day in the Life of Zahrah Hill

Chicago’s boundless talent, and her story of working in the trades is sure to inspire, and we’re thrilled that she could work on the Obama Presidential Center and other big projects across the city.

Zahrah Hill looks to the horizon wearing a hard hat a neon green shirt that reads "Chicago Women in Trades."

President Obama, Anderson Cooper, MBK Youth, and all the Feels

As part of a multi-segment CNN special with Anderson Cooper, President Obama met with young men from Youth Guidance’s Becoming a Man program for a conversation about leadership, legacy, and fatherhood. President Obama first met some of these young men back in 2013, just before launching the My Brother’s Keeper initiative.

Barack Obama a black man wearing a blue button up shirt and formal black pants sitting and facing three men with a dark brown skin tone, one with dreads in a bun looking at the young men with a black and white t-shirt with a braided bun

President Obama on Fatherhood

The Obama Portraits Start National Tour in Chicago

The  Art Institute of Chicago (Opens in a new tab) welcomed the Obama Portraits over the summer. The portraits’ stay at the Institute marked their first stop on a five-city tour across the country organized by the National Portrait Gallery. As part of the homecoming, the portraits were featured on  Art on the Mart (Opens in a new tab) and Mrs. Obama joined a  conversation (Opens in a new tab) with Amy Sherald moderated by Thelma Golden.

A building with various colors of orange, blue, green, and pink showing Barack Obama and Michelle Obama on either side of the building infront of water

Celebrating World Refugee Day

On  World Refugee Day, we shared the remarkable conversation between Wael Habbal and Sofia Kouvelaki, two of our European Leaders who are committed to helping refugees in Greece build inclusive, dignified lives.

A group photo of women, kids, and hugging, mainly neutral skin tone and three with a deep neutral skin tone hugging

President Obama’s Summertime Chi Visit

As part of our continued Road to Groundbreaking, President Obama returned to Chicago for a  summertime visit, during which he surprised the Wolfpack youth football team and stopped by a small gathering of local business owners at South Shore Brew, a local coffee shop in the South Shore neighborhood of Chicago.

One picture of Barack Obama a black man wearing a blue button up shirt sitting and talking to two women with a medium brown skin tone and a man with a dark brown skin tone, The second picture of Barack Obama standing outside with a group of young men with various dark brown skin tones kneeling around him wearing red,black, and white football gear

President Obama surprises Chicago Southside youth football team in Jackson Park


Remembering Rep. John Lewis and CT Vivian

In remembrance of the civil rights icons Rep. John Lewis and CT Vivian, we celebrated their inspiring leadership and the legacies of social action and good trouble that are still pushing young organizers to take action today.

Barack Obama a black man wearing a black suit putting a medal around another man with warm golden brown skin tone smiling and wearing a suit, Three men and one woman with light neutral skin tones sit behind them clapping


Happy 60th President Obama!

This year, you helped us give President Obama the  ultimate birthday gift: taking 60 seconds or 60 minutes to serve your community.


Breaking Ground on the Obama Presidential Center

After years of hard work, dedication, and endless support from our Chicago neighbors and caring people all around the world, we broke ground on the Obama Presidential Center in Jackson Park! President and Mrs. Obama also took time to speak with Chicago Public Schools students and our Obama Scholars at the University of Chicago, and even surprised our workforce partner Chicago Women in Trades.

A photo collage of Michelle a woman with medium brown skin and a body wave bob and Barack Obama a man with golden caramel skin sitting next to a woman wearing a blue suit, holding shovels, shaking people hands, and a close up of Barack wearing a black mask

Highlights from the Obama Presidential Center groundbreaking ceremony

Check out highlights from the special ceremony we held to mark the official groundbreaking for the Obama Presidential Center!

Welcome, Scholars!

We were thrilled to welcome our fourth cohort of  Obama Scholars for the 2021-2022 academic year. The two groups of 12 emerging leaders from around the world study at Columbia University and the University of Chicago, respectively.


Rest in Power, Timuel Black

Timuel Black (Opens in a new tab) was a historian, author and civil rights activist, who happened to share organizing tips with a young man named Barack Obama. A friend and trusted advisor, Tim was a vocal supporter of the Obama Presidential Center calling the South Side home. We miss him dearly.  Explore more of his remarkable life here.

A man in a grey suit holding a microphone with light golden skin and man with medium brown skin wearing a black sweat shirt smiling while raising his hand at the audience in front of them

Girls Opportunity Alliance Steps Up to Support Girls in Afghanistan

Girls in Afghanistan continue to face danger and significant barriers to their education. In response to this critical moment, the Girls Opportunity Alliance launched the  Afghanistan Relief Fund (Opens in a new tab) to support on-the-ground organizations.

Celebrating International Day of the Girl

To celebrate International Day of the Girl, Mrs. Obama and her friends Kerry Washington, Orlando Bloom, Shonda Rhimes, and Brie Larson opened their Instagram feeds so young women from the Girls Opportunity Alliance could share their remarkable stories.

A woman with a deep warm golden skin tone sitting on a bed with her legs folded in a pretzel wearing a dark pink head wrap, a dark pink dress and a dark pink beaded necklace


The Best Shot to Save the One Planet We’ve Got

To mark the fifth anniversary of the  Paris Climate Agreement taking effect, we asked ten people—Obama Administration alumni, Obama Foundation leaders on the front lines of the climate fight, and President Obama himself—to reflect on the path to Paris and the work that remains to address the climate crisis.

A side view of President Obama wearing black shades, a black jacket, and black pants, He at the bow of a boat surrounded by water around.

The One Planet We've Got

COP26: Charting the Future of Climate Action

During his appearance at  COP26 in Glasgow in November, President Obama met with a group of emerging leaders from across our programs to discuss how to work together long after returning home from COP26 to push for progress beyond the commitments made during the week-long summit.

A three picture collage of a man with a light tone wearing a black suit with a burgundy tie pointing to his right side, Barack Obama a black medium golden skin tone man wearing a black mask and light grey button up shirt sitting next to woman with a light golden skin and long brown hair wearing a mask, and the last picture of a close up shot of a woman with a deep neutral skin tone with dark brown braids and glasses sitting between a man with a black mask and light neutral skin tone and a woman with a light neutral skin tone

President Obama meets with emerging leaders at COP26

Celebrating Veterans Day

University of Chicago Obama Foundation Scholar and Marine Corps Vet  Tom Voutsos is helping close the wealth gap by providing an alternative pathway to homeownership in the Midwest. For Veterans Day, we spoke with Tom about his inspiring journey.

A man in a gray long sleeve shirt and jeans stands in front of a home in Toledo, Ohio. He has one hand in his pocket and is smirking directly at us.

Reintroducing the Leaders Program

Our regional  Leaders program is back after we developed new ways to welcome leaders into our global network as the COVID-19 pandemic continues. As a part of the shift to an online environment, we’re making sure our participants get an enriching experience by working with a smaller cohort size of 35 leaders, down from 200, so we can offer more individualized support and growth opportunities.

Obama Foundation Leaders Program

Welcome, Leaders!

We were thrilled to welcome 35 emerging leaders from across the African continent as part of the  2022 Leaders Africa cohort.


The Obamas Return to Chicago

After our exciting groundbreaking celebrations, President and Mrs. Obama were back in  Chicago for 44 hours to show some holiday gratitude to the people and programs taking on some of the biggest issues in the community we call home.

A two picture collage of Barack Obama a black man with a golden skin tone holding a basketball on a court wearing a mask and white formal button up interacting with three girls with brown skin tones one with red and black braids and the other three have locs of various colors wearing blue shirts, The second picture is Barack Obama and Michelle Obama both wearing suits holding a bag of gifts and a present approaching a little girl whose sitting down at a table with cupcake toys on the table, Barack is wearing a Santa hat

44 Hours with the Obamas

Honoring Heroes at the Obama Presidential Center

We are proud to bring more inclusivity to the philanthropic  naming process. A number of key spaces at the Obama Presidential Center will be named in honor of civil rights and social justice leaders who pushed America to live up to its founding ideals. A range of philanthropists, entrepreneurs, and organizations donated and named spaces in honor of trailblazers including Rep. John Lewis, Elie Wiesel, Mae Jemison, Eleanor Roosevelt, and more.

Barack Obama a black man wearing a black suit hugging another black man with medium brown skin wearing a blue stripe suit

Responding to Communities in Need

When we see communities in need, we take action. As millions of people grappled with hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquakes, political instability, even disturbing discriminatory attacks, we put our mission into action by sharing resources and the stories of community members who stepped up to care for their neighbors when they needed it most. You can still do your part to support Americans impacted by a devastating string of tornadoes.  Take action.

A grey cement building that have been destroyed with a lot of rubble

Seasons Greetings from the Obama Foundation!

From all of us here at the Obama Foundation, we thank you for all your support and wish you a hope-filled and restful  holiday season. Here’s to the work that lies ahead in 2022!