The Obama Foundation hosts grand opening for its multi-purpose facility

South Side Historian and author Tim Black (center, with plans for Obama Presidential Library behind him) talks about the historical significance of having the Obama Presidential Library on the South Side of Chicago while (left to right) Africa Porter, Tim and Zenobia Black, Rob McKay and Jahmal Cole listen last Friday afternoon during the Obama Foundation’s grand opening mixer for its multi-purpose facility located on the ground floor of the Harper Court Building, 1538 E. 53rd St. – Owen M. Lawson III

By JOSEPH PHILLIPS
Staff Writer

The Obama Foundation hosted a grand opening mixer for its multi-purpose facility located on the ground floor of the Harper Court Building, 1538 E. 53rd St. The opening of the facility completed the Foundation’s second phase of its move from downtown to Hyde Park.

“We have all these milestones that mark progress toward making the Obama Presidential Center a reality,” said Mike Strautmanis, vice president of Civic Engagement for the Obama Foundation. “This week on the eve of the Martin Luther King Day Celebration, we have another one. We took our design and our plans and settled it with the city and said the Obama Presidential Center is coming. And tonight, we had the opportunity to bring together all kinds of folks who have helped us get to where we are today.”

Community members fill the reception area and enjoy food and drinks last Friday afternoon during the Obama Foundation’s grand opening mixer for its multi-purpose facility located on the ground floor of the Harper Court Building, 1538 E. 53rd St. – Owen M. Lawson III

According to Strautmanis, the first attribute of the facility they will share with the public is Obama’s real story, which he explained, did not begin with him but with Hyde Park resident and former Mayor of the City of Chicago, Harold Washington. Along with “all of those who shoulders he stood on.”

The facility will also feature a state of the art model of the future presidential center along with wall art promoting Obama’s slogans of “hope and change.”

Strautmanis said the goal of the foundation this year is to continue to get everybody involved with the organization, from neighbors to community organizations, to leaders involved, helping develop programs.

(Left to right) Jeremy Ly, Heather Penczak and Asra Najam discuss the many ways the Obama Foundation will be a benefit to the community last Friday afternoon during the Obama Foundation’s grand opening mixer for its multi-purpose facility located on the ground floor of the Harper Court Building, 1538 E. 53rd St. – Owen M. Lawson III

The foundation is in charge of the creation of the Obama Presidential Center, which will be built in Jackson Park.

This will be the second move for the foundation since its inception in January 2014. The foundation moved from its original location 300 E. Randolph St. to the Harper Court building in March 2016.

j.phillips@hpherald.com