Obama Foundation "was established in January 2014 to carry on the great, unfinished project of renewal and global progress. Officially established as an operating, 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation, the Foundation is governed by a volunteer board of directors chaired by civic leader Martin Nesbitt."
- "In the near future, the Foundation will oversee the design and construction of the Obama Presidential Center to be designed by Tod Williams and Billie Tsien Architects | Partners and Interactive Design Architects in Jackson Park on the South Side of Chicago.
- "When it’s complete, the Center will include a library holding the Presidential archives, a museum focusing on the Obama Presidency and issues of our time, and space for ongoing programs and initiatives that advance our mission."
Board members and mini bios verbatim from the Obama Foundation website:
- Martin Nesbitt, Board Chair
Martin Nesbitt is a longtime friend of President Obama and served as national treasurer for his two presidential campaigns. He is the co-founder and co-CEO of private equity firm The Vistria Group, and serves on the boards of the Norfolk Southern Corp and Jones Lang LaSalle, a Chicago-based global real estate company and American Airlines Group. 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.
- John Doerr, Board Member
Since joining venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins in 1980, John Doerr has backed some of the world’s most successful entrepreneurs, including Jeff Bezos of Amazon, and Larry Page, Sergey Brin, and Eric Schmidt of Google. His passion for helping entrepreneurs launch the “Next Big Thing” has created more than 500,000 new jobs. Doerr serves on the boards of Amyris, Alphabet/Google, as well as several private technology ventures. Outside of his work at Kleiner Perkins, John supports social entrepreneurs in public education, the climate crisis, and global poverty. These include NewSchools.org, the Climate Reality Project, and ONE.org. He is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He holds Bachelor of Science and Master of Science degrees from Rice University, and an M.B.A. from Harvard Business School.
- Thelma Golden, Board Member
Thelma Golden is the Director and Chief Curator of The Studio Museum in Harlem. During Golden’s tenure as Chief Curator (2000 to present) and Director (2005 to present) the Studio Museum has gained international acclaim for its pioneering exhibitions by art by artists of African descent and role as a cultural anchor in the Harlem community.
From 1988-98 Golden worked at the Whitney Museum of American Art, where she organized numerous groundbreaking exhibitions. Golden was appointed by the President to the Committee for the Preservation of the White House in 2010, is the 2015–16 Chair of New York City’s Cultural Institutions Group and serves on the Board of Trustees of Creative Time. She was named a Ford Foundation Art of Change Visiting Fellow in 2015 and a Henry Crown Fellow at the Aspen Institute in 2008.
She is a frequent lecturer, panelist, and juror at arts institutions and colleges and universities around the world. Golden received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Art History and African-American Studies from Smith College.
- Governor Deval Patrick, Board Member
Originally from the South Side of Chicago, Governor Patrick came to Massachusetts at 14, when he was awarded a scholarship to Milton Academy through the Boston-based organization A Better Chance. After Harvard College and Harvard Law School, he clerked for a federal appellate judge and then launched a career as an attorney and business executive, becoming partner at two Boston law firms and a senior executive at Texaco and Coca-Cola.
In 1994, President Bill Clinton appointed Patrick to the nation’s top civil rights post, Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights. In 2006, in his first bid for public office, he became the state’s first African-American governor. In his two terms as Governor, Patrick oversaw the expansion of affordable health care to more than 98 percent of state residents, launched initiatives stimulating clean energy and biotechnology, won a national Race to the Top grant, and steered the state out of recession to a 25-year high in employment.
Patrick currently serves as a Managing Director of Bain Capital Double Impact, where he focuses on investments that deliver both a competitive financial return and significant positive social impact. He is a Rockefeller Fellow, a Crown Fellow of the Aspen Institute, and the author of two books, A Reason to Believe: Lessons from an Improbable Life and Faith in the Dream: A Call to the Nation to Reclaim American Values.
- David Plouffe, Board Member
David Plouffe leads the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative’s policy and advocacy team. For more than 25 years, David has developed strategies to bring people together around common causes. He has held senior positions in government and the private sector including his role as manager of Barack Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign. David also served as White House Senior Advisor to President Obama and Chief Advisor at Uber Technologies, Inc, where he remains a member of the Board of Directors. He is a veteran of several congressional, gubernatorial and presidential campaigns and served as Executive Director of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and senior staff member to Democratic leadership in the U.S. House of Representatives. He holds a BA from the University of Delaware and is the author of of the New York Times bestseller, The Audacity to Win.
- J. Kevin Poorman, Board Member, President
Kevin Poorman is a founding board member and currently President of The Obama Foundation. He is the President and CEO of PSP Capital Partners, CEO of Pritzker Realty Group and Executive Chairman of Vi Senior Living. He served as Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Loyola University of New Orleans from 2011-2014. Previously, Poorman was a partner in the Dallas-based law firm of Johnson & Swanson, and he is 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.
- John Rogers, Board Member
John’s passion for investing began at age 12, when his father began buying him stocks as Christmas and birthday gifts. His interest in equities grew at Princeton University, where he majored in economics, and over the two-plus years he worked as a stockbroker for William Blair & Company, LLC. In 1983, John founded Ariel Investments to employ a patient, value strategy in small and medium-size companies. He strongly believes in giving back to Chicago, sitting on the corporate boards of Exelon and McDonald’s, and serving as trustee to the University of Chicago. Additionally, he is a trustee of Rush University Medical Center and a life trustee of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. Nationally, John is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and a director of the Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice and Human Rights. In 2008, he was awarded Princeton University’s highest honor, the Woodrow Wilson Award, presented each year to the alumnus whose career embodies a commitment to national service. Following the election of President Barack Obama, John served as co-chair for the Presidential Inaugural Committee 2009, and more recently, he joined the Barack Obama Foundation’s Board of Directors. In 2013, John was featured alongside legendary investors Warren Buffett, Sir John Templeton and Benjamin Graham in the distinguished book: The World’s 99 Greatest Investors by Magnus Angenfelt. John received an AB in economics from Princeton University where he was also captain of the varsity basketball team.
- Michael Sacks, Board Member
Michael Sacks is Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Chicago-based GCM Grosvenor. In addition to his work at Grosvenor, Mr. Sacks serves as the Vice Chairman of World Business Chicago, as a member of the Mayor’s Economic Council and as Co-Chair of the Mayor’s Plan for Economic Growth and Jobs. Mr. Sacks funded the Greater Chatham Initiative and has been active in neighborhood economic development efforts throughout Chicago. A native of Chicago, Mr. Sacks received a Bachelor of Arts in Economics from Tulane University in 1984, a general course certificate from the London School of Economics for work completed in the 1982-1983 academic year, a Master of Business Administration from the J.L. Kellogg Graduate School of Management at Northwestern University in 1988 and a J.D. from Northwestern University School of Law in 1988.
- Julianna Smoot, Board Member
Julianna Smoot is currently a partner 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 received her Bachelor of Arts degree from Smith College in Massachusetts.
- Maya Soetoro-Ng, Board Member
Maya Soetoro-Ng is President Obama’s sister and the Director of the Matsunaga Institute for Peace at the University of Hawaii, where she also teaches classes in Leadership, Peace Movements, Peace Education, and Conflict Management. She is the co-founder of Ceeds of Peace, a peace education program that has been implemented in schools and communities around the world. Previously, Soetoro-Ng worked as a Multicultural Education and Social Studies Methods Professor at the University of Hawaii College of Education and taught in both private and public high schools in New York City and in Hawaii. She also worked at the East West Center, promoting educational exchange between Asia and the United States. Soetoro-Ng received a Masters degree in Secondary Education from New York University and a PhD in Multicultural Education from the University of Hawaii.
- Robert Wolf, Board Member
Prior to his role at 32 Advisors, Robert was CEO of UBS Americas and President of the UBS Global Investment Bank. Robert was appointed by President Barack Obama to President’s Economic Recovery Advisory Board from 2009 to 2011, the Council on Jobs and Competitiveness from 2011 to 2013, and the Export Council from 2013 to 2016.
Robert serves on the Undergraduate Executive Board of the Wharton School, on the Athletics Board of Overseers at the University of Pennsylvania and as Vice Chairman of the Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice & Human Rights. Robert also sits on the board of the Partnership for NYC, is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and a graduate member of the Committee Encouraging Corporate Philanthropy. He is a contributor to Fox News and Fox Business.
- Penny Pritzker, Board Member
Penny Pritzker is an entrepreneur, civic leader and philanthropist with more than 30 years of experience in numerous industries. Pritzker is the Founder and Chairman of PSP Capital and Pritzker Realty Group, a global private investment firm that takes a long-term, fundamental approach to investing in and building market-leading businesses in sectors such as professional services, real estate, technology, agriculture, industrial services and consumer products. From June 2013 through January 2017, Pritzker served as U.S. Secretary of Commerce in the Obama Administration. Pritzker was a core member of President Obama’s economic team and served as the country’s chief commercial advocate, leading the Administration’s trade and investment promotion efforts. She also served on President Obama’s Council on Jobs and Competitiveness and his Economic Recovery Advisory Board. Currently, Pritzker is a member of the board of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, a member of the Aspen Strategy Group and the Aspen Economic Strategy Group, a member of the board of the Obama Foundation and on the advisory council of The Hamilton Project. Pritzker earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in economics from Harvard University and a Juris Doctor and Masters of Business Administration from Stanford University.
- Juan Salgado, Board Member
Juan Salgado, appointed City Colleges of Chicago Chancellor in 2017, has focused his 20-year career on improving education and economic opportunities for residents in low-income communities.
As Chancellor, he oversees Chicago’s community college system, serving more than 80,000 students across seven colleges. From 2001 to 2017, Salgado served as CEO of Instituto del Progreso Latino, where he worked to empower residents of Chicago’s Southwest Side through education, citizenship, and skill-building programs that led to sustainable employment and economic stability.
Salgado is a community college graduate himself, earning an associate’s degree from Moraine Valley Community College before earning a bachelor’s degree from Illinois Wesleyan University and a master’s degree in urban planning from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Additionally, he completed the Owner/President Management program at Harvard Business School. Salgado has been nationally recognized for his work, most recently as a 2015 MacArthur Fellow, one of the most prestigious innovation prizes in the United States.
- Dr. Mahalia Hines, Board Member
Dr. Mahalia Hines is currently the Board President of the Common Ground Foundation, a non-profit youth mentoring program co-founded with her son, Academy Award winning artist Common. In 2011, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel appointed Dr. Hines to the Chicago Board of Education and she continues to serve in this role. Dr. Hines has worked in the educational field for over 35 years as a teacher and principal. During her fifteen-year stint as a principal, she serviced grade levels from elementary through high school in Chicago’s underserved communities. Dr. Hines has worked as a coach and mentor for first-year, current, and prospective principals in Chicago and other parts of the country.
Since retiring from formal education, her involvement with children – which is her passion – has not diminished. Dr. Hines, in addition to her work with the Common Ground Foundation, continues to work with school leaders of public and charter schools in urban areas throughout the country. She is committed to developing effective school leaders who will guide others to provide the best possible education for the children least likely to receive it. Dr. Hines also travel the country speaking to mothers on raising successful sons and daughters. Dr. Hines received her doctor degree from the University of Illinois, a Master’s from Northeastern University and undergraduate degree from Central State University.
- Glenn Hutchins, Board Member
Glenn Hutchins is a co-founder of North Island and a co-founder of Silver Lake. He is a director of AT&T; a director of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York; vice chairman of both the Brookings Institution and the Economic Club of New York; a board member of the Obama Foundation and a member of the Executive Committee of the New York Presbyterian Hospital. He is an owner and member of the Executive Committee of the Boston Celtics basketball team. Mr. Hutchins is a co-chairman of Harvard University’s capital campaign. He is also a board member of the Center for American Progress as well as a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Previously, Mr. Hutchins served President Bill Clinton in both the transition and the White House as a special advisor on economic and health-care policy. He was also previously chairman of the board of SunGard Data Systems, Inc. and Instinet, Inc. and a director of Nasdaq, Inc.
Mr. Hutchins and his wife, Debbie, founded the Hutchins Family Foundation which, among other projects, has created the Hutchins Center for African & African American Research at Harvard University, which is chaired by Mr. Hutchins; the Hutchins Center on Fiscal and Monetary Policy at The Brookings Institution; and the Chronic Fatigue Initiative, which conducts basic research into the cause of chronic fatigue syndrome.
Mr. Hutchins has published essays on economic and public policy in the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, Washington Post, Financial Times, Fortune, Foreign Affairs and New Republic.
Mr. Hutchins holds an A.B. from Harvard College, an M.B.A. from Harvard Business School, and a J.D. from Harvard Law School.
Obama Foundation Fellows
The following are listed as the first "Obama Foundation Fellows:"
- Erin Barnes, Brooklyn, NY, ioby, "Equipping new local leaders across the country to improve their neighborhoods through resident-led, crowdfunded community change"
- Veronica Crespin-Palmer, RISE Colorado, "Empowering families most affected by educational inequity in Colorado to organize for change"
- Celina de Sola, San Salvador, El Salvador, Glasswing International, "Forging partnerships across institutions and people to empower youth, mobilize action, and build community resilience to reduce poverty and violence"
- Clarissa Delgado, Makati, Philippines, Teach for the Philippines, Redesigning teacher training to address the reality of students’ poverty and helping public school teachers become community leaders
- Nedgine Paul Deroly, Gonaïves, Haiti, Anseye Pou Ayiti, "Working with Haitian communities to create a network of civic leaders and build an equitable education system based on shared history, values, and vision."
- Tiana Epps-Johnson, Chicago, IL, Center for Technology and Civic Life, "Improving voter turnout by training elections officials to better communicate with voters and providing civic information through digital platforms."
- Sasha Fisher, New York, NY, Spark MicroGrants, "Using community organizing and village grants to foster democratic capacity, inclusion, and growth in rural Africa"
- Harry Grammer, Los Angeles, CA, New Earth, Empowering justice-involved youth through arts, education, and vocational programs"
- Zarlasht Halaimzai, London, UK / Greece, Refugee Trauma Initiative, "Providing psychological first aid to refugees, making mental health care integral to all relief efforts"
- Ashley Hanson, Granite Falls, MN / Boulder, CO, PlaceBase Productions and The Department of Public Transformation, "Using the arts to help rural communities connect across difference, revitalize their rural spaces, and create new narratives across the United States"
- Preethi Herman, Delhi, India, Change.org Foundation, "Equipping a new movement of female leaders to engage their communities in addressing India’s toughest problems"
- Navdeep Kang, Cincinnati, OH, Mercy Health, "Building a collaborative, community-based approach to the opioid crisis, changing how addiction is treated in Ohio"
- Kondo Moussa, Bamako, Mali, Accountability Lab Mali, "Fighting corruption in Mali by celebrating honest civil servants"
- Sandor Lederer, Budapest, Hungary, K-Monitor Association, "Building digital tools to help citizens push for transparency and good governance in Hungary"
- Kalani Leifer, San Francisco, CA / New York, NY, COOP, "Building a movement of diverse, upwardly mobile college grads overcoming underemployment through digital skills and peer connections"
- Melissa Malzkuhn, Washington, DC Motion Light Lab, Gallaudet University and Ink and Salt LLC, "Designing digital tools to give deaf children equal access to language, literacy, and expression"
- Koketso Moeti, Johannesburg, South Africa, Amandla.mobi, "Building a digital platform to enable Black South African women to organize around the issues that most affect their lives"
- Alex Smith, London, UK / Manchester, UK, The Cares Family, "Fighting loneliness and polarization in the UK by connecting seniors and young professionals to build new and lasting relationships"
- Dominique Jordan Turner, Chicago, IL, Chicago Scholars, "Equipping under-resourced youth to get to and through college, find meaningful careers, and become the next generation of Chicago leaders"
- Keith Wattley, Oakland, CA, Uncommon Law, "Transforming the lives of young people convicted of serious crimes, equipping them to become valuable members of the community"