About the Foundation

The Foundation will serve as the vehicle by which the Library, Museum and Foundation offices are constructed, and, in accordance with the statutory requirements outlined in the Presidential Libraries Act, by which the endowment necessary for the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) to operate the Library is created and funded.  The Foundation anticipates negotiating a joint use agreement with NARA in the future that will outline the responsibilities of both the Foundation and the federal government.

The Foundation, officially established as an operating, 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation in January of 2014, will both plan and develop the Project and engage in activities reflecting 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. The Project will be an anchor for economic development and help cultivate a strong relationship in the surrounding community. In addition to the Library and Museum, it will include an Institute that will enhance the pursuit of the President’s initiatives beyond 2017 and have local, regional and global impacts. The Foundation will raise private funds, convene partners who share the President’s goals and vision, serve as a repository of information and otherwise marshal resources to address present and future global and domestic challenges of interest to the President. The Foundation is governed by a volunteer board of directors and chaired by civic leader Martin Nesbitt.

When and why was the Presidential library system started?

The Presidential Library system began in 1939, when President Franklin D. Roosevelt decided to donate his Presidential papers and other historical materials to the federal government. He believed that these records were an important part of American history and that they should be preserved and made accessible to the public. Learn more about the history of the Presidential Library system at the National Archives website.

How many Presidential Libraries are there?

Today, there are 13 Presidential libraries administered by the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), beginning with the 31st President of the United States, Herbert Hoover.

Who pays for the libraries?

The Presidential Libraries Act of 1955 established the first policies for establishing and operating federally-administered Presidential libraries.  To ensure costs would be controlled, Congress amended the Presidential Libraries Act in 1986 and established a number of requirements, including a requirement that an operating endowment be provided to offset building operation costs. The Presidential Historical Records Preservation Act of 2008 increased the required operating endowment to 60 percent of the federal facility’s total cost.

Typically, a not-for-profit foundation is established for an incumbent president to receive financial contributions for the purpose of selecting a site and constructing a future library. Once completed, the part of the facility which contains public records, including the museum, is turned over, along with an operating endowment, to the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA). NARA is headed by the Archivist of the United States.  NARA is charged with the responsibility of operating and maintaining Presidential libraries using the operating endowment as well as federal funds.

Read more: http://www.archives.gov/presidential-libraries/laws/.

How does site selection for a Presidential Library work?

The site selection process for Presidential Libraries has varied historically.

The Barack Obama Foundation Board of Directors has committed to a site selection process that is intended to be fair and transparent, in keeping with the President's longstanding commitment to openness. The Foundation released a Request for Qualifications in Spring 2014 that was open to all interested parties. In September 2014, the Foundation narrowed the field to 4 institutions who received a Request for Proposal soliciting comprehensive plans for the future Obama Presidential Library project. Those proposals are due on December 11, 2014.  The Foundation will then evaluate the responses and present its recommendation to the President and First Lady. The Foundation expects to announce a final decision in early 2015.

What are the guidelines for donations to the Foundation?

The Barack Obama Foundation has been recognized as a tax-exempt organization under Section 501(c)(3) by the Internal Revenue Service; donations are deductible as charitable contributions.

For the remainder of President Obama’s term, the Foundation will follow strict donation guidelines in line with those adopted by the President for his campaigns. The Foundation will not accept donations from entities or organizations other than those also operating under section 501(c)(3), and it will also not accept support from foreign nationals, currently registered federal lobbyists or foreign agents.

In addition, the Foundation discloses all donors and donations over $200 on a quarterly basis. The disclosures are made public on this website.

How can I get a copy of the RFQ or RFP?

The Request for Qualifications (RFQ) is available here and the Request for Proposal (RFP) is located here.

How can I suggest an idea for the future library, or share a comment?

We welcome and encourage your input, and are working on a mechanism for sharing comments and ideas through our website. In the meantime, please email us at info@obamapresidentialfoundation.org.

Media Inquiries

Email: press@obamapresidentialfoundation.org
Phone: 202-464-6903

Requests for Information

Email: info@obamapresidentialfoundation.org

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