On November 4, 2008, Barack Obama was elected the 44th President of the United States, winning more votes than any candidate in history. He took office at a moment of crisis unlike any America had seen in decades – a nation at war, a planet in peril, the American Dream itself threatened by the worst economic calamity since the Great Depression. And yet, despite all manner of political obstruction, Obama’s leadership helped rescue the economy, revitalize the American auto industry, reform the health care system to cover another twenty million Americans, and put the country on a firm course to a clean energy future – all while overseeing the longest stretch of job creation in American history. On the world stage, Obama’s belief in America’s indispensable leadership and strong, principled diplomacy helped wind down the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, decimate al Qaeda and eliminate the world’s most wanted terrorists, shut down Iran’s nuclear weapons program, open up a new chapter with the people of Cuba, and unite humanity in coordinated action to combat a changing climate.
In times of great challenge and change, President Obama’s leadership ushered in a stronger economy, a more equal society, a nation more secure at home and more respected around the world. The Obama years were ones in which more people not only began to see themselves in the changing face of America, but to see America the way he always has – as the only place on Earth where so many of our stories could even be possible.
Barack Obama and his wife, Michelle, are the proud parents of two daughters, Malia and Sasha.
Michelle Obama has spent her life challenging us to reconsider where that “supposed to” comes from — and who determines it. Her life shows us that you don’t have to look a certain way or act a certain way to fit in; you don’t have to make a lot of money or come from a certain group or class or faith in order to matter. Each of us can write our own story. And when we share those stories with one another, we can lift each other up along the way.
Our mission is to inspire, empower, and connect people to change their world. That mission begins at home, on the South Side of Chicago, where we are building the Obama Presidential Center. But it extends to all our work. The Obama Presidential Center will be a catalyst for long-overdue investment in and around Chicago’s historic Jackson Park—bringing 700,000 people to the South Side every year, creating a new destination to move visitors from hope to action, driving other development in the area, and creating job opportunities for Chicagoans, especially for residents on the South and West Sides. We believe the Obama Presidential Center should be built by a team that looks like the Center’s surrounding community, and we’re working hard to make sure that happens. We hope you’ll join us.
The Barack Obama Foundation’s Leaders programs aim to inspire, empower and connect regional cohorts of changemakers to accelerate positive and lasting change in their communities and throughout their region.
My Brothers Keeper Aliance
To ensure all young people can reach their full potential, the My Brother’s Keeper Alliance focuses on mobilizing mentors, reducing youth violence, and improving life outcomes for boys and young men of color.
The Obama Foundation Fellowship supports outstanding civic innovators from around the world in order to amplify the impact of their work and to inspire a wave of civic innovation.
The Obama Foundation Scholars Program gives rising young leaders around the world the opportunity to take their work to the next level through a curriculum that brings together academic, skills-based, and hands-on learning
Girls Opportunity Alliance
The Girls Opportunity Alliance continues the work of First Lady Michelle Obama to empower adolescent girls around the world through education. Learn how you can directly support the grassroots leaders working to educate adolescent girls today
The Voyager Scholarship
Created by President and Mrs. Obama and Brian Chesky, Airbnb CEO, the Voyager Scholarship provides financial aid, horizon-expanding travel, and connections to a network of leaders to students pursuing public service.
“I stand here knowing that my story is part of the larger American story, that I owe a debt to all of those who came before me, and that, in no other country on earth, is my story even possible.”
As President Obama has said, the change we seek will take longer than one term or one presidency. Real change—big change—takes many years and requires each generation to embrace the obligations and opportunities that come with the title of Citizen.
As President Obama always says, the story of America is a story of progress, rooted in the great gift of our democracy—but we can’t afford to take either for granted. Both progress and our democracy itself are fragile. They depend on our constant engagement. And for all the true progress we have made together, there’s so much more we need to do to build an economy that’s fairer, a society that’s more just, a union that’s more perfect, and a democracy that not only weathers challenging times, but reflects changing ones. That’s why we’re bringing together leaders at this year’s Forum who are focused on cultivating a healthier discourse, building a more inclusive economy, reinvigorating institutions to encourage active citizenship, and promoting democratic culture around the world.
Today, technology is poised to fundamentally transform how we work, communicate, and connect in American society—and once again, our democracy hangs in the balance. At the 2024 Democracy Forum, President Obama will join activists, thought leaders, and changemakers to discuss the challenges that innovations like AI pose to economic and social inclusion, and what we can do about it. After all, when it comes to our democratic future, there’s no sideline to sit on.