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Barack Obama announces $2 million personal donation to Chicago summer jobs programs

'It's so that right away young people can get to work and we can start providing opportunities to all of them,' says former President

Maya Oppenheim
Thursday 04 May 2017 10:29 BST
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The centre will include a library, museum and a forum which will all be located next to a lagoon
The centre will include a library, museum and a forum which will all be located next to a lagoon (Getty)

Barack and Michelle Obama have announced they are going to donate $2 million to the summer jobs programmes in Chicago.

The former President disclosed the hefty personal donation during a speech at South Shore Cultural Centre, saying the former first couple are keen to provide a wealth of opportunities to children in his hometown.

“One of the things that we’ll be starting this year is Michelle and I are personally going to donate $2 million to our summer jobs programs here in the community,” he said.

“[It's] so that right away young people can get to work and we can start providing opportunities to all of them.”

Mr Obama also unveiled plans for a 200,000-square-foot campus on Chicago’s South Side –where he launched his political career.

It will also be home to the Obama Presidential Centre which will be used to “train the next generation of leadership, the Michelle Robinsons of today and the Barack Obamas of today”.

The centre will include a library, museum and a forum which will all be located next to a lagoon. Spokespeople for the foundation have said the project is likely to cost $500 million and should be finished in four years time.

”What we want this to be is the world's premier institution for training young people and leadership to make a difference in their communities, in their countries and in the world. That is our goal,“ he said at the design unveiling in Chicago.

“More than a building or museum, the Obama Presidential Center will be a living, working centre for engagement - an ongoing project for the community and world to shape what it means to be an active citizen in the 21st century,” the foundation added.

Mr Obama and the former First Lady have kept a relatively low-profile since leaving the White House, enjoying some well-deserved time off in the British Virgin Isles, but are now slowly but surely returning to the public eye.

The former President took to the stage in Chicago for his first public appearance since Donald Trump’s inauguration last week. There he revealed his first post-White House project would centre on urging the next generation to become more politicised and civically engaged.

“There’s a reason why I’m always optimistic, even when things aren’t necessarily going the way I want, and that is because of young people like this,” the 55-year-old said, gesturing to the young adults who joined him on the panel discussion.

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