Legacy: Obama Takes First Step to Build Presidential Library in Chicago

By Bedard, Paul | Examiner (Washington, D.C.), The, February 1, 2014 | Go to article overview

Legacy: Obama Takes First Step to Build Presidential Library in Chicago


Bedard, Paul, Examiner (Washington, D.C.), The


With one eye on his lame duck presidency and the other on his legacy, President Obama has ordered up a foundation to build his presidential library.

The Barack H. Obama Foundation will likely focus on Chicago as home to the library, and it is expected to be connected to the University of Chicago. The school wants to put the library on Chicago's south side.

Three former supporters of Obama were named to the new foundation: Martin Nesbitt, J. Kevin Poorman and Julianna Smoot.

Unlike the post-presidential organizations of two other former Democratic presidents, Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter, Obama's is expected to focus on the United States. A release said that the foundation and library will focus on the president's "values and priorities throughout his career in public service: expanding economic opportunity, inspiring an ethic of American citizenship, and promoting peace, justice, and dignity throughout the world."

They have already created a website and twitter handle, @44Foundation.

From the foundation:

Supporters of President Obama Establish The Barack H. Obama Foundation to Oversee Planning for a Future Presidential Library

Martin Nesbitt, J. Kevin Poorman, and Julianna Smoot to Serve on Foundation's Board of Directors

Washington, DC - Three longtime supporters of President Barack Obama, Martin Nesbitt, J. Kevin Poorman, and Julianna Smoot, today announced the formation of The Barack H. Obama Foundation, in order to begin planning President Obama's future Presidential Library. Nesbitt, Poorman, and Smoot will manage the library planning process and serve on the Foundation's Board of Directors.

The Barack H. Obama Foundation is tasked with planning the development of a Presidential Library that reflects President Obama's values and priorities throughout his career in public service: expanding economic opportunity, inspiring an ethic of American citizenship, and promoting peace, justice, and dignity throughout the world. Additionally, the Foundation envisions a facility that, through its mission, initiatives, and physical and virtual presence, can become an anchor for economic development and cultivate a strong relationship with the library's surrounding community.

"I'm humbled and honored that President Obama has entrusted me to lead this effort," said Martin Nesbitt. "The President's future library will one day serve as an important part of our nation's historical record, and our mission is to build a library that tells President Obama's remarkable story in an interactive way that will inspire future generations to become involved in public service."

J. Kevin Poorman said, "As President Obama continues to lead the nation through a crucial period in our history, I'm honored to help establish a library that will chronicle his tenure and build on his work in office. I also look forward to working with the many organizations across the nation that have expressed interest in becoming home to the future Barack H. Obama Presidential Library."

"I am so proud to have served President Obama in the White House, on two historic campaigns, and now, on the board of his future Presidential Library," said Julianna Smoot. "The breadth of interest in hosting the President's future library has already exceeded expectations, and that is a testament to how deeply his values and priorities have resonated with Americans, and how widely his career in public service has impacted communities across the nation."

The Foundation will manage an open and accessible library planning process, in line with President Obama's longstanding commitment to transparency and fairness. In February, the Foundation will release a Request for Qualifications (RFQ), which will solicit interest and enumerate the core elements and criteria for the site selection process. In May, the Foundation will issue a Request for Proposals (RFP) to the most competitive entities, requesting comprehensive proposals for evaluation. …

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