Foundation forms to plan Obama’s presidential library
January 31st, 2014
06:35 PM ET
6 months ago

Foundation forms to plan Obama’s presidential library

(CNN) – The planning for President Barack Obama’s presidential library officially got underway Friday with the announcement of a foundation that will oversee the project.

Three longtime supporters - Martin Nesbitt, J. Kevin Poorman, and Julianna Smoot - will head up The Barack H. Obama Foundation to manage the library development process, according to a press release.


The library will revolve around a few themes from the Obama White House: “Expanding economic opportunity, inspiring an ethic of American citizenship, and promoting peace, justice and dignity throughout the world,” the release stated.

The location for the project was not announced. The foundation says it will issue a request for proposals in May and will likely reach a decision on a site early next year.

Obama indicated last year he was split on his preferred location for the library, as he was born in Hawaii but his adopted home is Chicago.

"Honolulu is my birthplace," Obama said on an interview with Honolulu television station KITV. "It's the place where I grew up and I've got so many friends and fond memories and it helped to shaped me. I'd like to find a way after my presidency that connection remains, but I live in Chicago now and that's where I grew up professionally."

Previous reports suggested that Obama's team is looking at space near the University of Chicago where Obama taught before entering politics.

Universities have housed presidential libraries in the past, including the George W. Bush Presidential Center at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, and the George H.W. Bush Presidential Museum and Library on the campus of Texas A&M in College Station.

But the University of Hawaii has also made no secret of their desire to house Obama's presidential library, and the Aloha State's legislature passed a resolution in 2010 calling on Obama to choose his birthplace for the institution. An official committee of business and civic leaders – the Hawaii Presidential Center Initiative – was formed to try and lure the president back to the islands.

No matter where the library lands, it will likely cost north of $100 million, based on the whopping costs of past presidents' libraries. The money comes from donations, and the foundation says it will disclose all contributions over $200 on a quarterly basis.

“I’m humbled and honored that President Obama has entrusted me to lead this effort,” Nesbitt said in the statement. Nesbitt, one of Obama’s best friends and a frequent golf partner, is the co-founder and co-CEO of the private equity firm Vistria.

For her part, Smoot served as a deputy campaign manager for Obama’s re-election bid and was finance director during his first run for the White House. During his first term, her roles included White House social secretary, deputy assistant to the President, and chief of staff to U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk.

Poorman is the CEO of PSP Capital Partner and Executive Chairman of Vi Senior living. He’s also the chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Loyola University of New Orleans. He was previously a par

CNN’s Kevin Liptak and Ashley Killough contributed to this report.


Filed under: President Obama
soundoff (One Response)
  1. don in albuquerque

    I bet alot of right wingers are getting nervous about what Obama will say in his memoirs. Name names, oh please.

    February 1, 2014 09:02 am at 9:02 am |