Clintons' good causes keep Hillary front and centre ahead of future presidential campaign

Working for family foundation raises cash and does no harm to political ambitions that could include run for the White House in 2016

US Editor

Hillary Clinton has hurled herself into a fundraising blitz for the philanthropic foundation created by her husband Bill Clinton with events in Washington, San Francisco and London, raising new questions about the intersection of her private interests and her putative political ambitions that may include a run for the White House.

Already embarked on a series of speeches on hot-button issues and engaged in writing a memoir of her time as top US diplomat, Mrs Clinton now has an even fuller calendar. The fundraising drive began on Friday night with a dinner hosted by the former first couple at a swish restaurant on the main road running through the Hamptons on Long Island. Attendees included fashion maven Donna Karan and cosmetics king Ron Perelman.

Still to come is a “Concert Weekend” with the Clinton family in London on 11 and 12 October. Prospective supporters can also attend a cocktail reception (for $1,000) at the Italian Embassy in Washington on 9 September and straight afterwards dinner at the Clinton’s nearby home ($25,000 per cent couple). Hillary and Chelsea Clinton are to co-host an event for “young philanthropists” in San Francisco in November.

Ostensibly, the drive has nothing to do with 2016 and the next race for the White House. Rather it is designed to put the sometimes shaky finances of the charitable foundation, created by Bill Clinton in 2001 after he left office, back on a steady footing and help build an endowment for it that will carry it forward even beyond his death.

That does not mean that the new flurry at the Clinton Foundation is not being looked at by almost everyone else through a 2016 lens. It has just been renamed the Bill, Hillary and Chelsea Foundation, to reflect the new roles being taken within it by the ex-President’s wife and daughter and its mission, hitherto on AIDS and poverty overseas, is being broadened to include priorities within the US, including career opportunities for women and girls.

That the foundation is useful to Mrs Clinton has suddenly come into focus. It will keep her in the public eye as she goes about some handily do-gooding activities. But also obvious all at once is how Mrs Clinton, right, is useful to the foundation. If the trickle of donations to it suddenly becomes a flood, it will surely be because the donors will in part be motivated to ingratiate themselves to someone they think might be the next President. Meanwhile, if there is an urgency to the endowment drive it may have less to do with Mr Clinton getting older and more with the narrowness of the window. If Mrs Clinton does indeed eventually open a presidential campaign she will have to start raising funds for that exclusively. Her role bringing in dollars for the foundation would be instantly over.

When the Clintons took to a small stage at the Friday dinner, no one dared ask the question to which there would have been no answer anyway – will Hillary Clinton run? Yet, her husband clearly doesn’t mind if everyone is in suspense, opening the session with a joke about his being able to whatever he likes these days because no one cares about him while his wife has to be more circumspect. The implication: people care a lot about what she is thinking. And they should. While the people who run the foundation for the Clintons may smart at the political innuendo attached to everything the family does, there is little they can do about it. “I frankly don’t have a clue what the motives are of the people who support the Clinton Foundation,” Bruce Lindsay, the recently appointed foundation chairman told the Washington Post this weekend. “I’m just grateful for their support. The work we do is important.”

Meanwhile, there is no doubt that a new-cash infusion is needed at the New York City-based foundation which ran an operating deficit last year of $8m. If Hillary and Chelsea Clinton can help then so much the better.

“We had to have another way to raise the funds that we need to keep the lights on,” Mr Lindsey noted. “You cannot continue to rely upon a single individual to raise all the money... First, it is unbelievably gruelling on President Clinton, and second, if anything were to happen to him it would end.”

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Renee Zellweger as Bridget Jones
Arts and Entertainment


Follow the latest news and score as Chelsea take on Maribor at Stamford Bridge.

Life and Style

Company reveals $542m investment in start-up building 'a rocket ship for the mind"

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

IT Project Manager

Competitive: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client based in Chelmsford a...

Business Intelligence Specialist - work from home

£40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: An established and growing IT Consultancy fir...

Business Intelligence Specialist - work from home

£40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: An established and growing IT Consultancy fir...

IT Manager

£40000 - £45000 per annum + pension, healthcare,25 days: Ashdown Group: An est...

Day In a Page

Two super-sized ships have cruised into British waters, but how big can these behemoths get?

Super-sized ships: How big can they get?

Two of the largest vessels in the world cruised into UK waters last week
British doctors on brink of 'cure' for paralysis with spinal cord treatment

British doctors on brink of cure for paralysis

Sufferers can now be offered the possibility of cure thanks to a revolutionary implant of regenerative cells
Let's talk about loss

We need to talk about loss

Secrecy and silence surround stillbirth
Will there be an all-female mission to Mars?

Will there be an all-female mission to Mars?

Women may be better suited to space travel than men are
Oscar Pistorius sentencing: The athlete's wealth and notoriety have provoked a long overdue debate on South African prisons

'They poured water on, then electrified me...'

If Oscar Pistorius is sent to jail, his experience will not be that of other inmates
James Wharton: The former Guard now fighting discrimination against gay soldiers

The former Guard now fighting discrimination against gay soldiers

Life after the Army has brought new battles for the LGBT activist James Wharton
Ebola in the US: Panic over the virus threatens to infect President Obama's midterms

Panic over Ebola threatens to infect the midterms

Just one person has died, yet November's elections may be affected by what Republicans call 'Obama's Katrina', says Rupert Cornwell
Premier League coaches join the RSC to swap the tricks of their trades

Darling, you were fabulous! But offside...

Premier League coaches are joining the RSC to learn acting skills, and in turn they will teach its actors to play football. Nick Clark finds out why
How to dress with authority: Kirsty Wark and Camila Batmanghelidjh discuss the changing role of fashion in women's workwear

How to dress with authority

Kirsty Wark and Camila Batmanghelidjh discuss the changing role of fashion in women's workwear
New book on Joy Division's Ian Curtis sheds new light on the life of the late singer

New book on Ian Curtis sheds fresh light on the life of the late singer

'Joy Division were making art... Ian was for real' says author Jon Savage
Sean Harris: A rare interview with British acting's secret weapon

Sean Harris: A rare interview with British acting's secret weapon

The Bafta-winner talks Hollywood, being branded a psycho, and how Barbra Streisand is his true inspiration
Tim Minchin, interview: The musician, comedian and world's favourite ginger is on scorching form

Tim Minchin interview

For a no-holds-barred comedian who is scathing about woolly thinking and oppressive religiosity, he is surprisingly gentle in person
Boris Johnson's boozing won't win the puritan vote

Boris's boozing won't win the puritan vote

Many of us Brits still disapprove of conspicuous consumption – it's the way we were raised, says DJ Taylor
Ash frontman Tim Wheeler reveals how he came to terms with his father's dementia

Tim Wheeler: Alzheimer's, memories and my dad

Wheeler's dad suffered from Alzheimer's for three years. When he died, there was only one way the Ash frontman knew how to respond: with a heartfelt solo album