About the Foundation
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.
Martin Nesbitt is a founding board member of The Barack H. Obama Foundation. He is a longtime friend of President Barack Obama and served as national treasurer for his two presidential campaigns.
Mr. Nesbitt is a co-founder and co-CEO of The Vistria Group, a private equity firm. He also currently serves on the Board of Directors of Jones Lang LaSalle, a global real estate company based in Chicago, as well as the Board of Directors of Norfolk Southern Corporation.
In addition, Mr. Nesbitt currently serves as a trustee of Chicago's Museum of Contemporary Art and on the Board of Directors of the Noble Network of Charter Schools.
Mr. Nesbitt is the former CEO of The Parking Spot, a successful company which owns and manages off-site airport parking lots around the country. He has also previously worked for LaSalle partners, predecessor to Jones Lang LaSalle, and is the former Chairman of the Board of the Chicago Housing Authority.
Mr. 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.
Kevin Poorman is a founding board member of The Barack H. Obama Foundation. Mr. Poorman also serves as the President and CEO of PSP Capital Partners and Executive Chairman of Vi Senior Living. Additionally, Mr. Poorman is currently the Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Loyola University of New Orleans, and a director of The New Orleans Jazz Orchestra, Inc.
Previously, Mr. Poorman was a partner in the law firm of Johnson & Swanson, and he remains 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, and graduated law school with highest honors.
Julianna Smoot is a founding board member of The Barack H. Obama Foundation.
Ms. Smoot is currently a principal 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's previous experience includes work for numerous prominent Democratic senators, including Senators Dick Durbin, Tom Daschle, and Chris Dodd.
Ms. Smoot received her Bachelor of Arts degree from Smith College in Massachusetts.
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 building’s total cost.
Typically, a not-for-profit foundation is established by friends or family of 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 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.
How does site selection for a Presidential Library work?
The site selection process for Presidential Libraries has varied historically.
The Barack H. 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 plans to release a Request for Qualifications (RFQ) in February, after which time it will select the parties who will receive a Request for Proposals (RFP) in May 2014. Proposals from those selected will then be evaluated and discussed, and the Foundation intends to make a final announcement in early 2015. Between now and May, the Foundation will identify and engage with potential locations. Interested parties should contact the Foundation for more information.
What are the guidelines for donations to the foundation?
The Barack H. Obama Foundation is organized and will operate as a 501(c)(3) organization, fulfilling all requirements for recognition of this status by the Internal Revenue Service, and will be eligible to accept tax deductible contributions for its educational and charitable purposes.
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 will disclose all donors and donations over $200 on a quarterly basis. The disclosures will be made public on this website.